As we go into February, new homes will appear on the market as sellers are listing off peak season. This year is the time to buy when mortgage rates are rising, inventory is diminishing, and home prices continue to rise. Consumer confidence is at a 15 year high in today’s hot real estate market.

How to fulfill your dream of home ownership in 2017?

You want to be in the best shape to buy with these 6 tips below:

  1. Know the rules- When lenders evaluate you for a mortgage, they look at 4 things: your income, your savings, your credit score, and your monthly debt-to-income ratio. Make sure you are familiar how you stack up in each category and what you need to improve in the future.
  2. Keep your job- Lenders want to see stability and jumping from job to job will not be the best evidence. Stay at your job for at least a few years to build up your earning potential and credibility.
  3. Clean up your credit- Check your credit score early, there are free websites on the internet which could pull your credit report. If there are old, wrongful dents in the credit report those can be disputed. Also, refrain from opening new credit cards when your intention is to maintain your credit score.
  4. Pay your student loans on time- Having a lot of outstanding student loans can increase your debt-to-income ratio and look unfavorably on a loan application. Consider refinancing or privatizing your student loans to minimize the monthly payments. Furthermore, missing your student loan payments further damages your credit score and should be avoided at all costs.
  5. Automate your monthly payments- Remembering to pay your credit card, student loans, car payment, rent, and gym membership on time every month can be daunting. Set yourself up for success by practicing diligence and automating your monthly payments to ensure being on time.
  6. Save cash- You will need to save up for the down payment of the home as well as closing costs. On average closing costs run about 2-5% of the home’s price according to Zillow. Also, having some cash in the bank will look better to a mortgage lender than a zero balance in your bank account.

These basic financial tips can set you up on the road to home ownership. Purchasing a home is an exciting milestone in life, and you will be pleased when these tips lead you to a piece of real estate, you call “home”.