How to Buy Your First Home

By Joe Gullo

Published 05/14 2014 12:39PM

Updated 05/14 2014 12:42PM

It is a tight real-estate market right now and any edge you can get is important, especially if you are looking to buy your first home. Money Magazine has some expert advice for all the first-time buyers out there.

Buying your first home is a big deal and if you're not quite ready yet, there are some things you can do now, ahead of time, to set yourself up for success.

Money Magazine lays out a great timeline.

Starting at 12 months out, a year before purchase:

Experts say now is the time to clean up your financials. Pay down debt, start saving, and stay in the same job to exude stability.

At six months out:

Find out your credit score and keep trying to boost it up by paying bills on time, fixing any mistakes, and avoiding new debt. The average credit score for approved mortgage applicants is 755.

Now is also the time to use an online calculator to figure out what you can afford and start looking at homes you may like in that range.

At three months out:

Experts say this is the time to pick out what type of loan you will get and they say to prove you are serious to sellers by getting a mortgage pre-approval from your bank.

And lastly, three months out is also when the experts recommend finding a realtor. They say this step is especially important in such a competitive market. You want the right realtor, someone who can find you the hidden gems at the right price.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.