Are you tired of renting? Are you tired of living with your parents? Are you ready for a home of your own?

Before starting your home search process you should have an idea of what you can afford, an idea of what your credit looks like and what your options are when it comes to home loans. I’m sure like many of us, you’ve heard put down 20% down and you should be good to go. Yes, that is still a safe and smart approach. However, there are other down payment options available that you could possibly qualify for. One option being Federal Housing Authority loans and programs with only 3.5% down.

What does your credit look like? Have you checked it lately? Have you missed any payments or have you been late paying a bill? Missed payments play a major role in the loan approval process. It can make a difference whether or not you get the loan and if you get it what kind, and for how much. If you haven’t already done so, your next step needs to be to speak with a mortgage professional and get pre-qualified. You need to speak to someone who can delve deeper into your finances and appropriately advise you. A real estate professional can only provide basic information. A mortgage professional can break it down for you.

It’s a good idea to get a feeling about what you can afford. Have you been renting? If so, then you know how much of your monthly budget goes toward housing. You may believe that you are already at your max and therefore you have more reason to purchase – you may feel comfortable with what you are currently spending and believe that you could even afford to put more toward it. That’s your first indication of what you can afford.

Many buyers start out looking at homes and meeting a real estate agent, but if you want to get really serious, run the numbers and be educated on loans.