The path to home ownership

The path to home ownership can often be a time consuming process. Make sure you are well prepared and ahead of the game by reading these tips on starting the home buying process:

What you need to know before you start the process-

Before you apply for a mortgage, you will need to have documents regarding your monthly income. Lenders will want to check paycheck stubs, review bank statements, tax documents, etc. to verify your income. If you are self-employed, you will likely need the most recent 1 or 2 tax returns to show proof of income.

If you still have bigger debt payments, such as student loans, personal loans or a car loan, this will likely effect the amount for a mortgage approval. Your monthly debt should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income. This is a requirement of mortgage lenders. Manage your debt.

Keeping up with your credit reports and FICO score is something you should already be doing. Your score is one of the most important things to know before buying a home. Make sure you get your free credit report once a year at

You will need to go into the home buying process knowing how much house you can afford. Your total housing payment including fees, taxes and insurance should not exceed 35% of your gross income. How much house can you afford? Check with

FHA loans and other special program loans have different rules on down payments. If you are sticking with a conventional loan, plan to have at least a 10% down payment. It is always better to put down a bigger down payment. This will save you on high insurance.

In conclusion, when you are well informed and well prepared the path to home ownership will be easier and less stressful.