Money Management Prep for Homebuying

Prepare yourself and get your finances in order before you start the search for your dream home.

Couple talks over finances at home.

Before you start browsing the listings and talking to real estate agents, you’ll want to take a few steps now to make sure you’re prepared for the homebuying process later.

Around six months to a year before you plan to buy, start following this checklist:

  • Check Your Credit Report 
    Your credit score impacts your ability to get a mortgage and what rate you’ll receive. UW Credit Union members can check their credit scores anytime for free in Web Branch, as well as their full credit reports. Review to make sure all the information is correct and fix any mistakes.

  • Improve Your Credit Score 
    Avoid closing old cards. Pay bills on time. Pay off debts starting with the highest interest rate first and working your way down. Consider consolidating your card balances to help pay off debt quicker.

  • Avoid Taking on New Debt 
    Your debt-to-income ratio will affect how much mortgage you can afford. If you want to get a mortgage soon, you should avoid getting into new debt such as with an auto loan or personal loan, or racking up credit card balances.

  • Set Your Budget
    If you haven’t yet, start saving now to cover your down payment and other associated costs when the time comes. When you pay off debt, redirect that money into savings. Try to spend wisely and resist impulse purchases. Consider getting prequalified to get an idea of what you can afford.

  • Get Documents in Order
    When you apply for your mortgage or preapproval, you’ll need a long list of paperwork to verify your finances, including recent paystubs and account statements, W-2s and tax returns for the past two years, proof of any other income, and information on current debts.

Get a Customized Quote

At UW Credit Union, first-time homebuyers get up to $1,000 off closing costs.* Get started by exploring loan options, then get a customized estimate with our rate quote tool. When you’re ready, start your application to get pre-approved.

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