How to Prepare for Buying a House

Buying your first home can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience all at the same time, from researching the perfect location to picking out exactly what you want in a house. It's important to take the necessary steps to feel prepared and confident throughout the process when it comes time to find your dream home. In this blog post, we'll explore how to best prepare for purchasing a home - discussing ways of saving for a down payment, understanding loan options available for buyers, determining credit score requirements, and more. Whether you're just starting your research or ready to dive into negotiations with realtors and sellers alike, this article is your guide!

Saving for a Down Payment

Making a home purchase is a big financial decision, and understanding the down payment requirement of your loan can be an important factor in deciding whether to move forward or not. The great news is that the more money you have available for a down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage payments are likely to be. Saving up an adequate amount will largely depend on your current personal savings and resources within your home budget - but it's well worth it!

By making a larger down payment, you can significantly reduce what you end up spending each month. In addition to some peace of mind with lower payments, deciding to put more money upfront might also mean qualifying for better interest rates from lenders. So if you're looking for real estate options and want to benefit from the most favorable terms, putting more into your home purchase upfront is definitely worth considering.

How to Save for Your Down Payment

Saving for a down payment on a home purchase is no small feat, but comes with tremendous rewards. Making the best use of your money when it comes to home purchases is incredibly important, and there are some great ways to go about saving for a down payment.

1. Make a budget

The first step to saving for a down payment is to make a budget. Determine how much money you have coming in each month and how much you need to spend on essentials like housing, food, and transportation. Once you know your monthly expenses, you can start setting aside money for your down payment.

2. Open a Savings Account

Once you have a budget in place, the next step is to open a savings account specifically for your down payment. This will help you to keep your down payment money separate from your other funds and make it easier to track your progress.

3. Set a Goal

Setting a goal will help you stay motivated as you save for your down payment. Decide how much money you want to save and when you want to reach your goal. Having a specific goal in mind will make it easier for you to stick to your budget and save money each month.

4. Automate Your Savings

One of the best ways to save for a down payment is to automate your savings. This means setting up automatic transfers from your checking account into your savings account each month. This will help ensure that you consistently save money and progress toward your goal.

5. Make Extra Payments

If you have extra money left over at the end of each month, consider making additional payments towards your down payment savings goal. Even small extra payments can add up over time and help you reach your goal more quickly.

Understanding Loan Options

When it comes to home purchases, knowledge is power. It is critical for home buyers to understand all the loan options available to them before committing to a mortgage. Having a full understanding of these loan opportunities gives home buyers an advantage so they can make an informed decision, secure their financial footing, and begin realizing the dream of home ownership.

Adequately researching the available home loan alternatives allows home buyers to select the best fit for their individual situation with confidence and precision. Knowing your loan options when it comes time to purchase a home is essential for getting the most out of your investment.

The Most Common Home Loan Options

1. Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A fixed-rate mortgage is a loan in which the interest rate remains the same for the entire term of the loan. This is a good option for borrowers who want to know what their monthly payments will be for the duration of the loan.

2. Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is a loan in which the interest rate can change over time. This is a good option for borrowers who expect to see their incomes increase over time and who want to keep their monthly payments low at first.

3. FHA Loan

An FHA loan is a loan that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This type of loan is a good option for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit or who may not have enough money for a down payment.

4. VA Loan

A VA loan is a loan that is guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This type of loan is a good option for borrowers who are veterans or active-duty military personnel.

5. USDA Loan

A USDA loan is a loan that is guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This type of loan is a good option for borrowers who are looking to purchase a home in a rural area.

Credit Score Requirements

If you're looking to purchase a home, it's important to have an understanding of the credit score requirements. Obtaining a home loan and determining the mortgage amount and interest rate you'll receive can be determined by your credit score. To make sure you get the best home loan terms that are available, I recommend researching what kind of numbers lenders look for in order to qualify for mortgages and home loan products. Knowing your score ahead of time will give you an advantage when shopping around for home loans. Don't let a low number deter you. There are plenty of ways to increase your credit score so that you can achieve home ownership.

Ways to Increase Your Credit Score

1. Pay Your Bills on Time

One of the most important things you can do to improve your credit score is to pay your bills on time. This includes both credit card bills and other types of bills, such as utility bills, cell phone bills, etc. Payment history is one of the most important factors that lenders look at when considering a loan, so it’s important to make sure you have a good payment history.

2. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

Another factor that lenders look at when considering a loan is your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you’re using compared to the amount of credit you have available. For example, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit and you owe $2,500 on it, your credit utilization ratio is 50%. It’s generally best to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30%, so in this example, you would want to pay down your balance to below $1,500.

3. Get a Secured Credit Card

If you have bad credit or no credit history, one way to help improve your credit score is to get a secured credit card. A secured credit card is a type of credit card where you put down a deposit that becomes your line of credit. For example, if you put down a $500 deposit, you’ll have a $500 line of credit. This is a good way to build up your credit history and improve your credit score over time.

4. Become an Authorized User on Someone Else’s Credit Card

If you know someone with good credit who trusts you, you can ask them to add you as an authorized user on their credit card account. This means that you’ll be able to use their credit card, but they will be responsible for making the payments. This can be a good way to build up your credit history and improve your credit score over time.

5. Check Your Credit Report for Errors

If there are errors on your credit report, they could be negatively impacting your credit score. So it’s important to check your report regularly and dispute any errors that you find. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.


Preparing to buy a home can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right knowledge and preparation, home buyers can get the mortgage they need at terms that work for them. By understanding credit score requirements, researching loan options such as VA loans or USDA loans, keeping their credit card balances low, getting a secured credit card if needed, becoming an authorized user on someone else's account with good credit, and checking your credit report regularly for errors are all effective strategies home buyers should consider in order to increase their chances of securing a home loan. Taking these steps will help homebuyers make informed decisions when buying a house and give them peace of mind knowing they did everything possible to prepare themselves financially.


MortgageWorks offers financing for new home purchases, refinance, home equity, investment property, construction, and a wide variety of loan program options to fit your every need.

Servicing the state of California and the entire Coachella Valley, including Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella. Call Art today @ (760) 883-5700

* Specific loan program availability and requirements may vary. Please get in touch with your mortgage advisor for more information.