You can definitely do it, and we'll show you how — in four easy steps.

1. Get your credit in shape

The first step in getting any financial product is making sure your credit is in shape. The best mortgage rates will, obviously, go to the borrowers with the best credit.

Your credit score is based on a host of factors, but to gauge where you stand, think about your finances. Do you carry a lot of debt? (usually not great) Have you had a credit card for a while? (the longer the better) Do you always pay your bills on time? (Hopefully yes!)

You can get a free credit score and find out where you stand.

Credit scores range from 350 to 850. Have anything above a 720 and you're in great shape.

2. Get preapproved for a mortgage

Before you head out with a Realtor to check out for-sale homes, get preapproved for a mortgage. The lender will give you an idea on the amount of the home you'll be able to purchase, so you can stick to homes in that price range.

3. Know your mortgage types

Choosing your mortgage type is an important part of the process. You have options!

Fixed-rate mortgages mean just that: Your mortgage rate will be fixed for the life of your loan. These loan types make budgeting easier, because your rate simply won't change.

Adjustable-rate mortgages, aka "ARMs," can start out with lower interest rates, but, over the life of the loan the rate will definitely change. You may have heard of a 5/1 ARM? That means the rate will stay the same for five years, then will adjust. If you plan on living in your home for less than five years, this type of loan may work for you.

Then there's the question of whether to get a conventional or FHA loan.

Conventional loans come from places like banks or credit unions.

FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, aka FHA, and many times require lower down payments and lower credit score requirements.

Your mortgage lender should be able to help you decide.

4. Choose a great mortgage lender

If you got preapproved in step 2 like you were supposed to, you're done and can skip this step!

If not, there's still time. Choosing a mortgage lender is super easy in 2018. You're already on the Internet, which means you can compare lenders right here based on what means the most to you — interest rate, payment size, term — play around with the options to see what looks best.

Now what?

You know how to get a mortgage, but you still haven't done it? Compare mortgage rates today.

Bonus: Find a house!

Now let's find a house!

Ask your friends a family for referrals for real estate agents in your area — and make sure you check the agent's credentials.

Since you know how much you can afford (ahem, you got preapproved, right?), you'll know the price range to start your search. Also, make sure to discuss school ratings, house size and other important factors with your agent before you head out to check out homes.

Happy house hunting!

About the Author

Katie Doyle

Katie Doyle



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