A home will likely be the biggest purchase a person ever makes — along with being the most daunting purchase.

But the good news is most of the problems homebuyers face have a quick solution, if completed before trying to get a mortgage.

In a recent interview, Katie Miller, vice president of mortgage lending with Navy Federal Credit Union, encouraged potential homebuyers to have the conversation with a loan officer about what they can work out.

To help overcome the imitating homebuying process, the Independent Community Bankers of America offered the following eight suggestions for perspective first-time homebuyers.

Follow this and the entire homebuying process will go much smoother:

  1. Discuss your finances with your bank before you begin looking for a home. It is important to stay within your means when purchasing a house.
  2. Gather and organize paperwork and documents. Items you should have readily available include paycheck stubs, W2 forms, tax returns and bank and investment statements for the last two years.
  3. Know your monthly income and budget, including how much you spend on rent, utilities, entertainment, clothing, food and transportation.
  4. Check your credit report so you are aware of what your current credit score is before applying for a loan. Credit reporting agencies must give you one free report annually.
  5. Maxing out credit cards or falling behind on other loan payments could create issues when applying for a mortgage. Keep tabs on your spending habits before applying for a mortgage. Once you apply for a mortgage, don't take on more big debt until it closes.
  6. Work with your banker to figure out how much you can borrow and which mortgage product is right for you. "Your local community banker can explain available mortgage options- including rate adjustments, fees and other loan features – so you are prepared for the loan closing and not surprised down the road," the ICBA states.
  7. Learn what current mortgage rates are. Bankers are there to help you understand how that translates into monthly mortgage payments.
  8. Check with your state, city and county government agencies for special first-time-homebuyer loan or grant programs available to assist with down payment and closing costs.

For other tips on homebuying, try these links:

  • How to win a bidding war in today’s outrageous housing market
  • How to get a mortgage right now, even with bad credit

Got more suggestions? Please leave them on the message boards below.

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