First-time Homebuying 101


Secure a loan

The downside of the 21st century housing-market crash is that it can be harder to get a loan. It's best to get preapproved before you make an offer. This makes you a more attractive buyer. Whether you go through a bank, a mortgage broker or a small lender, you can submit all your financial information and get a preapproval letter for the maximum amount they'll loan you. You can also look into government or state homebuyer programs for additional assistance. With some government help, you may be able to afford a bit more than you think.

See HUD's information on Federal Housing Administration loans and state and local programs.