Here are seven steps you need to take to realize your dream of home ownership.

1. Review your budget.
Even though the bank doesn’t consider household expenses in reviewing your ratio’s you must. If you do not have a budget, you should develop one. If necessary solicit the help of a professional.

2. Determine what is affordable.
A good rule of thumb is that your mortgage payment including the taxes and insurance should not exceed 35% of your income.

3. Check your credit scores. 
You need to have a strong credit score, the stronger the credit score the better your interest rate and the amount that you can borrow. Lenders really want to see a credit score of 740 or higher, but you can usually get qualified with a credit score of 640 or more. If your credit score is low or there are mistakes, by all means take the time to get these fixed. Wait 30 days and pull your credit again. You must pull all three credit scores. Lenders use the mid-score.

4. Get pre-qualified. 
The lender may qualify you for more house than you calculated using the 35% of you income ratio, so it is important to stay as close to your calculations as possible. It is no fun to be house rich and cash poor, and even worse to be house poor and cash poor.

5. Drive around the city
Drive around the city where you want to live and get a feel for neighborhoods.

6. Hire a real estate agent. 
Referrals are always a good way to find an agent that you want to work with.

7. Have fun, take your time and make a decision you can live with.

When you find the home you like, make an offer.