The road to home-ownership can be a long and complicated one. Unless you’re quite wealthy, you’ll likely need to get a mortgage if you want that dream house. Mortgages are rarely one-size-fits-all, and there are actually a lot of advantages to doing a little digging. Mortgage rates and lender requirements can vary dramatically.

First Things First: Boost Your Stats

The type of mortgage that you can qualify for depends greatly on factors like downpayment size, credit score, liabilities that you’re carrying, etc. That means you should try to make your case as presentable as you can to have more mortgage options.

Start by staying on top of your debt payments like credit cards. Always meet the minimum payment deadlines and try to avoid carrying a balance unless you have to. Not only will this help your credit score, it’ll help you to look more appealing on paper when a mortgage lender evaluates you.

Also, if you’re able to save a larger down payment, you’ll likely find it easier to qualify for a mortgage.

The Best Places To Shop Around

Ask family and friends who they’ve used for their mortgages, what they thought of the process, and what rate they got. Rates are typically based on a benchmark rate set by the government, so the rate they have will likely depend on when they got it.

any homeowners have found it extremely helpful to use mortgage rate calculators to estimate the type of mortgage that they’ll qualify for. Services like Bankrate’s calculator even allow you to compare some of the best rates that are currently being offered by prominent lenders.

Look To The Economy

The economy has a significant impact on interest rates, so gauge the market by comparing current rates with rates form 1-3 years ago. Remember: a mortgage is one of the biggest commitments you’ll likely ever make, so be patient in selecting the right fit for you.