Buying your first home is one of the biggest steps of your life and symbolizes hard work and dedication. Embarking on the homebuyer journey for the first time is a bit daunting, especially in a tough economy and when you’re new to the logistics involved in the process. Don’t worry, because we’re here to help you with this journey to ensure it’s more beautiful than stressful. Be sure to complete this checklist before your start your first-time home search:

1. Clean up your credit score

If you’re lucky enough to have a credit score of around 620 or above, then congrats! You’re on the right track toward securing your first home. However, if your credit score isn’t quite there, there’s no shame in taking some time to prepare.

Thoroughly scan your credit reports to ensure there are no errors that could ding your score in both the short and long term. Pay off any overdue statements balances and work on staying within your monthly budget.

If are in the space to start searching for what home you can afford with your current budget and credit score, try out this Zillow home affordability calculator.

2. Find the right mortgage lender

It’s tough to find the perfect mortgage lender you have a strong connection with and perfectly understands your financial situation. Many mortgage lenders offer a wide variety of rates and financing programs, so be patient until you find the right one for you. It helps to read online testimonials and gain referrals from friends and families who have bought a home before.

3. Get a mortgage pre-approval

Once you’ve found which mortgage is best for your situation, it’s time to get pre-approved to show sellers you’re highly interested in the buying process. Although pulling together the documents for the pre-approval process like tax returns and W-2s is strenuous, it gives you a better picture of the final price tag (including closing costs and other fees) and makes you stand out to the seller in hot housing markets where inventory goes quickly.

If you’re looking for fast, friendly and reliable home funding, then look no further than the team at Allied Mortgage, an experienced full-service mortgage lender group that has been in business since 1993. With over 25 years of experience built on integrity, Allied creates customized solutions to help fit your needs and realizes there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the mortgage loan approach. Click here or call 877.448.2745 to learn more about Allied Mortgage and its 98.6 overall satisfaction rating.