1 Prepare to shop

Buying a home is exciting. It’s also one of the most important financial decisions you’ll make. Choosing a mortgage to pay for your new home is just as important. Don’t rush into it. Before you start shopping for a home and a mortgage, set yourself up for success by taking time to prepare. Use our step-by-step guide to check your credit, assess your finances, set your home-price budget, and more.

Illustration of the home-buying process

Goals for this phase

  • Determine how much you want to spend on a home
  • Decide if it’s the right time to buy a new home
  • Gather your application paperwork

Tools for this Phase

Review your credit reports early so you have time to correct mistakes.

Credit report checklist

Track your spending to know how much you can afford for a monthly payment.

Spending tracker

The interest rate you expect to receive is an important factor in deciding how much to spend on a home.

Explore interest rates

Buying a home costs more than the price on the for-sale listing.

Watch the video: What are all the costs of buying a home?

Action steps

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Ready for more? Explore another phase in the mortgage process.