There’s nothing more exciting than finally crossing the bridge to home ownership. Finally signing on the dotted line and welcoming yourself home is a rite of passage that many look forward to. The road to a mortgage can look daunting, but with a little research and advice, anyone can start taking steps to home ownership today.

Practice a Budget

Reading into how to budget for your first mortgage can be daunting. Many experts will say that you don’t want to spend more than 28% of your income on your home, but every situation is unique. One of the best things that you can do is to figure out what you want to spend, and then see what you would have left over after you make your house payment. Practice spending only this amount or less every month, and see how it feels. This can help you build confidence in the day you upgrade to a house of your own.

Pay Down One Loan

When you’re applying for a mortgage, the first thing the bank will want to know is how much debt you have; however, you’ll find that they’re more interested in the minimum amount that you need to pay per month, and less interested in the total amount you owe. Paying down a small loan with a big payment can put you in a better position to buy a house sooner, instead of paying down a large loan with a small payment. Try using the extra money from practicing your budget to eliminate your smallest debt quickly, and watch your pre-approval amount soar.

Get Inside Some Homes

The pictures that you see online for homes that are for sale are always taken to look their best. There can be a lot of difference between a picture and the actual house. Help yourself to get the best home you can by setting an appointment every week to go take a look at what might be a great home for you. Make sure you take your time, and check it out from top to bottom. Keep a list of things you’ve seen that you’ve loved, and things you want to avoid. Your list can become a powerful tool as you continue to search.

While the path to having house keys of your own can be daunting, there are plenty of ways to eliminate obstacles and get started now. There’s nothing more important than money when it comes to buying a house, but as you save towards your dreams don’t forget about what you can do today to make home a reality tomorrow.