Thinking about buying your first home? Now’s the time to do it. Often, we put off these big financial decisions because we assume they’re out of reach- but this couldn’t be less true. Sure, you’ll need to do some planning and saving, but there’s no reason why you can’t buy your first home in the next few years.

Here are some tips to help make it happen:

Get smart about your finances

If you’re not a math person, you may assume that learning about money isn’t for you. But if you’re hoping to own property, take the occasional vacation, and retire one day, you simply need to get smart about your finances. Now’s the time to learn all about investing, compounding interest, debt consolidation, and trading CFDs. The more educated you are about your finances, the more easily you can make your money work for you.

Set a budget

There’s no use deciding you’d like to buy a house unless you’re also prepared to save for that house. The more you put down as a downpayment, the better since you’ll pay less interest over time. However, there are options for as low as 3.5% down, which makes it much easier for you to get on the property ladder. Just make sure that you’ll still be able to make your mortgage payments if you or your partner are out of work, or would like to take maternity leave down the line.

Improve your credit

The better your credit score, the better interest rate you’ll get- and the less you’ll need to pay on your mortgage. But the time to improve your credit score is well before you begin looking at homes- it will usually take at least a few months to see a difference in your score, and longer if you’ve made mistakes in the past. Check your credit history for errors, and make sure you’re constantly monitoring your score. Don’t use more than 30% of your credit at any one time, and always pay on time.

Shop around

Not only are there thousands of houses that could match your exact specifications, but there are also plenty of lenders- all offering different terms and rates. Take your time comparing these lenders, and make sure you read the small print so you can see exactly what you’ll be paying- including any extra fees.

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