Thinking about investing in a home and getting your first mortgage?  Here are five tips every first time buyer should know.

First and foremost, be sure to check your credit report and credit score.  This is crucial to monitor before beginning the process.  Just because you pay your monthly bills on time does not mean that your credit is superb.  Repairing damaged credit takes time and money, so be sure to begin this process at least six months before shopping for a home.

Meet with a mortgage officer before looking at homes.  They will be able to help you figure out any credit problems you may have and help you resolve them first.  They can also help you figure out your price range and what you can afford before you start looking.

Pay off as much debt as you can.  If you cannot pay off student loans before you buy a home, consider refinancing them or lowering you payments.

Gather your documents. Your loan officers will request everything from pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, all the way to brokerage statements; you are going to need it all.  Also, your lender will need verification of employment and income twice throughout the process, once at the beginning and again right before closing.  By having these documents prepared you will make the process easier on yourself.

Save for your down payment. Generally, the lower your down payment is, the higher your loan costs will be.

After completing these tips you should be more educated about the process, and with a better understanding of the process and knowing what to expect will make everything much less stressful! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the housing buzz team!