Buying your very first home is really exciting, but it can also be really intimidating. Also, it does require a lot of preparation, especially since you’ve never experienced what it’s like purchasing a new home before.

Continue reading for a few helpful guidelines that you can follow in order to prepare yourself for buying your first home, whether you’re looking for a seaside home in Florida, an affordable option in Texas that you can find with the help of Austin real estate agents, a place in the middle of New York City, or anything in between.

Save Up for Your Down Payment

The minimum down payment on a home is 20% of the sale price of the property. While you can put down less than 20%, if you do, you’ll have to pay an additional fee. Therefore, it really is best to try to save up as much money as possible and make the biggest down payment possible. Remember, the bigger your down payment, and the higher the percentage that down payment is of the home’s total sale price, the more affordable your monthly mortgage rate will be.

If you haven’t yet begun saving up money for your down payment, don’t worry, as it’s never too late to start. You may need to set a spending budget every month and cut a few corners in order to allocate a bit of every check from your job to your savings account. Putting your money into an interest earning account will help it grow more quickly, and you can also put your money into a Certificate of Deposit (CD) for a short period of time in order to enjoy the perks of a higher interest rate.

Get Your Credit Score as High as Possible

In addition to saving up for your down payment, you should also work hard at getting rid of any existing debt that you may have, whether that is student loan debt, credit card debt, car loan debt, etc. Also, make it a point to restrict your credit card spending if you find it difficult to make the payments in full every month. These simple steps will allow you to increase your credit rating, and when lenders take a look at your credit history, they’ll see a high score and be more willing to give you the mortgage that you need at a lower interest rate.

Have a Steady Job with Steady Income

Finally, in order to prove that you’ll be able to pay for the mortgage that you’ll apply for when you’re ready to purchase your home, make sure that you have a steady job and steady income that you can claim on your income taxes. This will show a lender that you have what it takes to make your payments in full and on time each month, and that will make them more willing to work with you.

By following the tips above, you can budget for your first home, strengthen your finances, and have the house of your dreams before you know it.