If you’re a first-time home buyer, you might think you’re not ready to purchase a house in the beach cities.

Maybe you are concerned about your job situation, your previous credit history, or your high monthly expenses. Whatever the circumstances, every borrower and financial situation is different.

Unless you’re a financial expert, it’s best not to self-diagnose your financial problems. You wouldn’t skip out on the dentist to fill your own cavities, so don’t try to solve your financial troubles yourself either.

A lender can walk you through your options—and they won’t try to drill your teeth!

When you apply for home loans, lenders look at your credit score, credit history, monthly liabilities, income, and assets.

Lenders see the entire financial picture, not just the investable funds. A reputable, local lender with experience can get you on the right track for buying a home here at the beach.

Below are three common reasons people don’t want to apply for a loan and what you should do if you’re really serious about buying a home.

1. A less-than-ideal credit report

The reality is that mortgage companies are required to pull a copy of your credit report, which includes scores from all three credit reporting bureaus.

Your credit report is the most accurate representation of your credit available. Don’t let your messy credit report keep you from talking to a lender.

After looking at your credit report, the lender can actually tell you what debts are the biggest drain on your borrowing power so you can start making smart financial decisions to improve your score.

2. Not enough income

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Let the mortgage company review your pay stubs, W-2s, and tax returns for the last two years. If you were self-employed, let the lender look at your tax returns and evaluate your credit to determine what down payment you can afford and what you can buy.

The lender can give you an idea of what you need to do to qualify, including how much more money you need to make to offset a proposed mortgage payment.

With an action plan and a strategy in place, it may just take you a matter of months to button up your financial picture to qualify.

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3. Too much debt

Debt and liabilities definitely impact spending power. Usually, every dollar of debt you have requires two dollars of income to offset it. So for example, if you have a car loan that’s $500 a month, you will need $1,000 a month of income to offset that monthly liability.

If more than 15% of your income currently goes toward consumer debt, you’ll have to either pay off debt or get more income—perhaps via a cosigner—to qualify for mortgage financing. Again, let the lender look at your financial picture so they can tell you what it takes to make it work.

If you are planning to buy a house in the future but aren’t financially ready, talk to a professional. Meet with them face-to-face, provide them with all of your financial documentation, let them run a copy of your credit report, and go through a pre-home buying consultation so they can either pre-approve you or tell you what to do to become pre-approved in the future.

Many times, potential buyers are not ready, but having a conversation with a professional, so you know where you stand and where you are going, can be tremendously beneficial. You can also take a look at your financial health as you are allowed three free credit reports per year by law.

Don’t forget to contact Sean if you have any questions for need a great local lender recommendation. He will be happy to help point you in the right direction!