STEP 1: Credit Debt- Strengthen your credit: Pay off credit cards, resolve any credit disputes or delinquencies, and cancel unused cards.
STEP 2: Decide what sort of home you want. A single-family home in good condition offers instant livability. However you can build equity quickly if you have the skills and ample time by purchasing a fixer-upper and making it livable. New home construction by a builder that doesn’t have a buyer can also be a good deal if the builder is eager to get its money out of the project. You acquire a new home at market value with many upgrades.
STEP 3: Simplify your search by defining the area you'd like to live in. Scout out what's available in the vicinity. Look at prices, home design, proximity to shopping, schools and other amenities. Visit a few open houses to gauge what's on the market and to see firsthand what you want, such as overall layout, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen amenities, and storage.
STEP 4: Get pre-qualified to get the actual amount you can pay. Most lenders allow you to put up to 28 percent of your gross income or 36 percent of your net toward a house payment.