The decision to buy a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. If you’re considering applying for a home loan, there are some things you should think about before going through the application process. If you aren’t sure whether or not you’re ready to apply for a home loan now, read on to find out.

Secure an Income

If you’re considering applying for your first home loan and not ready yet for an offset account, start with the basics and an eye toward the future. Step one is being sure you can afford a monthly payment. Take a look at your overall debt to income ratio and go from there. Before even considering applying for a home loan, you’ll want to be sure you have a secure income. Whether you work for a veterinarian taking care of blind pets or at a domestic violence shelter for women and children, the key is knowing how much you’ll be paid weekly or monthly. Loan companies will ask for this.

When considering your income, think about how long it’s been stable. It will be important that you have a long employment history. Applying for a home loan in your first few weeks at a new job will be more difficult than one where you have years of experience. At the same time, if your new job pays more, it likely won’t prevent you from securing a loan. Either way, it’s a good idea to make sure your income is stable before attempting to reach out for a loan.

Stable Relationship Status

Many people are so focused on the financing part of obtaining a home loan that they forget to look at their lifestyle and life circumstances. Too many young couples jump at the chance to share a home together and put aside rocky relationships. If you’re concerned about things like background checks for college students because you’re starting to wonder who you’re dating, think again about applying for a home loan now. Consider who you’ll want to share your home with. If there are doubts, think about going for that loan on your own to prevent problems down the road should your relationship status change.

Think about any pets you own too. If you have a special needs pet, for example, you’ll need a home with a fence or safety precautions which may require a different final home cost. Considering this ahead of time and even factoring in costs for ongoing care for your dog’s eye will be important now. Unless you plan to give up your pup for your new home, this relationship status will matter as well.

Low Debt

After securing your income and double-checking your living situation and lifestyle. Take a look at your credit cards, car payment, student loans, and any other debt you have acquired. It will be important that your debt to income ratio is low. Consider future expenses, too. For example, adopting a pet with vision impairment could increase expenses and impact your loan or ability to make payments later on. Make a conscious effort to get that debt down before starting the application process or reconsider applying now.

Savings

Most home loans come with a pretty big down payment. It’ll be important that you have savings. Whether you borrow down payment money from family members or have saved it on your own from your work with a veterinary ophthalmologist, lenders will need to know how much you can put down. On top of your down payment, you’ll want a savings account to be able to cover three months of your income to avoid the possibility of missed mortgage payments and foreclosures.

If you aren’t sure you’re ready yet, that’s okay. Homeownership takes time. For many people, the dream of owning a home in the United States, for example, takes until at least midlife. The best you can do is keep saving up, cut expenses, and get your debt in order.

Homeownership is exciting. In taking your time prior to the application process to get yourself in the best shape possible for a home loan, you’re bound to get a better interest rate and feel great about your monthly payment. Doing your research and homework ahead of time, as well as paying off debt and securing your finances and relationships now will make the entire process easier and more exciting. Congratulations on your purchase ahead and good luck with your home loan!