If you’re planning a search for a new home this spring, now is a good time for some prep work. Taking care of these items now will let you hit the ground running once the weather warms. 

Avoid big financial moves

Switching jobs, buying new cars, or applying for new credit cards could negatively affect your credit score and, thus, the terms of your mortgage. 

Review your budget

Be clear on the down payment you can supply (most lenders require a minimum of 20%) and the monthly mortgage payments you can handle. This free calculator can help. 

Check your credit

Request free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com. Good credit history can get you better terms on your mortgage, and the information can offer valuable tips on improving your credit score. 

Shop for lenders

Look online and offline for favorable interest rates. Getting pre-approved for a loan lets you know the maximum amount you can spend, and it may give you an edge over other buyers in the event of a bidding war. 

Define your preferences

Narrow down your ideal neighborhoods and the style and size of the house you prefer, listing both must-haves and favorites. 

Attend seminars

Realtors and others may hold workshops with tips on home buying. 

Interview real estate agents 

Look for a professional who communicates effectively, engenders trust, takes time to listen to you, and is familiar with your chosen territory.