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First Time Home Buyers

Buying a home can be thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time, especially for a first time home buyer. It is difficult to know exactly what to expect.

Five Steps Before Applying

Check your credit
The home buyer's credit score is one of the most important factors when it comes to qualifying for a loan these days. To get an idea of where your credit stands, go to to get your free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus.

Evaluate assets and liabilities
A first time home buyer should have a good idea of what is owed and what is coming in.

Organize documents
When applying for mortgages, home buyers must document their income and taxes. Typically, mortgage lenders will request two recent pay stubs, the previous two years' W-2s, tax returns and the past two months of bank statements.

Qualify yourself
Ideally, first time homebuyers would know how much they can afford to spend before the mortgage lender tells them how much they qualify for. By calculating their debt-to-income ratio and factoring in a down payment, buyers should have a good idea of what they can afford, both upfront and monthly, when it comes to their home. Though there is not a fixed debt-to-income ratio that lenders require, the old standard dictates that no more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income be devoted to housing costs.

Figure out your down payment
It takes effort to scrape together the down payment. There are programs that assist buyers with qualifying incomes and situations.
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