Buying a home is exciting, nerve-wracking and even chaotic at times. If you are a first-time homebuyer, it can be difficult to know where to start with this process. To make life a little easier for you, here are six things you will want to do before starting your house-hunting journey:

1. Have your paperwork ready
Before you start your home search, you will want to get all of your paperwork in order for your mortgage lender. Some documents that you will need include bank statements, tax returns, pay-stubs and leasing information if you currently rent. If you already have a lender in mind who you would like to use, check with them prior to meeting to ensure that you have everything you need. If you have your paperwork readily available, it will make the process go a bit smoother.

2. Check your credit score
Your credit score plays a huge part in getting a loan. If your score is on the lower end, you'll want to take the appropriate actions to increase it. This will not happen overnight, so knowing your score ahead of time can save you last-minute stress. Do not let a bad credit score keep you away from your dream home!

3. Get pre-approved
When you go to a mortgage lender, they will fully assess your income, assets, debts, credit score, etc., and if you fit the criteria, they will issue you a letter for pre-approval. This is really important, especially in today's fast-paced market.

When you are pre-approved, sellers know that you are serious about buying and have the means to do so. That extra security can help push the deal along and you will hopefully score your dream home over the buyer that didnt get pre-approved.

4. Make a home wish list
What have you always wanted in a home? Is there a certain number of bedrooms you'll need, or a minimum square footage? Write down any requirements and deal-breakers for the home you are looking for.

You can share this list with your Realtor, and together you can find what fits your needs and what does not. As you search for different homes, you might find that the list will change, but it is always a great place to start.

5. Research neighborhoods
Whether you are moving out-of-state or just moving to the next town over, you are going to want to do some research about your potential new location. Before committing to a home, you'll want to know what that neighborhood has to offer. School ratings, crime statistics, affordability and amenity options are just a few things to look into before committing to a certain neighborhood.

6. Find a Realtor that fits your needs
Trying to buy a home without using a trusted Realtor can be risky, especially if you are a first-time buyer. A Realtor will be able to guide you through this process and help you every step of the way. You may want to consider interviewing a few different Realtors to figure out which one will be the right fit for you.


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ABOUT CRYE-LEIKE: Crye-Leike Real Estate Services (, a full service real estate company for over 40 years, is ranked as the third largest independently owned real estate firm in the nation and the largest serving Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and the Mid-South. Crye-Leike has more than 3,200 sales associates, over 800 employees and 140+ company-owned and franchise offices spread across nine states. It generated $6.5 billion in sales volume and 29,925 closed transaction sides corporate wide in 2019 - its biggest year ever - and is on track to achieve the company's goal of $6.8 billion in sales volume this year.