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Evaluate assets and liabilities
A first-time homebuyer should have a good idea of money they owe and money they have coming in.
"If I were a first-time homebuyer and I wanted to do everything right, I would probably try to track my spending for a couple of months to see where my money was going," Winesburg says.
Additionally, buyers should have an idea of how lenders will view their income, and that requires becoming familiar with the basics of mortgage lending.
For instance, some professionals, such as the self-employed or straight-commission salesperson, may have a more difficult time getting a loan than others.
The self-employed or independent contractor will need a solid two years' earnings history to show, according to Winesburg.