If you’re planning to buy a home, you should prepare now. Here are give things you can do to help you get into the home of your dreams as quickly as possible.

Meet with your lender. Set up a meeting with a mortgage lender at your bank to discuss loan options and how you plan to finance your home.

Complete a loan application and get preapproval. This will allow you to begin preparing documentation, so your lender can perform a check on your financial background and current credit rating and possibly lock in your interest rate. With preapproval, you will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level.

Hire a real estate agent. It’s essential to have a real estate agent to guide you through the home buying process. Your agent can help you find a home you like that’s within your budget and negotiate the best deal for you.

Prepare to make a down payment. The type of loan you choose determines the amount you need to save for a down payment. For example, if you’re eligible for an FHA loan, you put down as little as 3.% of the purchase price. Some loans require no down payment at all. In most instances, though, you need to prepare for a down payment of approximately 20% of the purchase price.

Get your documents in order. If you know you’re ready to buy within the next three to six months, start a file to use for documentation purposes. Ask your lender what you’ll need for the loan and start preparing as soon as you can.

  • reprinted with permission from Pinnacle Bank