Skip to Content
Two children playing in sprinkler in front of their home.

5 Things to do before you apply for a home loan

Ready to buy your first home or move to a new place? Here are some things to consider before applying for a home loan.

1. Check your credit first.

It's important to make sure your credit is as healthy as possible before you attempt to get pre-approved for a home loan. Make sure you don't have any outstanding debts or suspicious activity on your credit report, and if you do, clean it up! You'll also want to use your reports to calculate your debt-to-income ratio, which is an important factor in procuring a home loan, and also vital info for figuring out how much home you can comfortably afford.

2. Estimate your property taxes and homeowner's insurance when calculating your monthly mortgage payment.

The real estate listing website Zillow has a special mortgage calculator that can provide you with an estimate for what you'll be on the hook for each month, after local property taxes and homeowners insurance are added to your mortgage payment.

3. Have your financial paperwork in order.

When you apply for a home loan, lenders will request at least a month's worth of recent pay stubs, your W-2s for the last two years, and recent bank and investment account statements for the last month or more, so have all your paperwork ready to go before you start contacting them.

4. Get pre-approved before you shop.

It's important to know what sort of home loan you're qualified for before you start shopping. Don't wait until you are ready to buy to secure financing, getting approved takes time and could allow that dream home to slip through your fingers.

5. Research federal and state home loan programs for first-time home buyers.

Most states have special programs in place to assist first-time home buyers who are on a budget for buying a house. They can offer special incentives to first-time home buyers such as lower down payments, low interest rates, and special tax exemption if you buy in certain underserved or rural areas. (You can find a state-by-state guide to such programs on The Federal Housing Administration itself also offers special, low-interest home loans to first-time home buyers. There are also special financing options and grants available to assist teachers and veterans with their first home purchase.



Arrows linking indicating relationship

Related Articles

Father and child put up a string of outdoor lights.

Lawn care: Budgeting tips that can save you money

Learn more
Young dad enjoys playtime with his two children.

How to budget money when buying your first home

Learn more
A mom and her young daughter playing in summer on the front stoop of their house.

Spring home inspection tune-up in 10 easy steps

Learn more

All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax-related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit

Companies and organizations linked from Learning Center articles have no affiliation with Protective Life or its subsidiaries.