You’ve had the financial talk, opened a joint bank account, and now the time has come to scroll through endless listings of homes in your area within your budget. The numbers grow overwhelming and you have no idea how you’re going to afford a home you’ll love and live in. While applying for loans and mortgages in the early years of your marriage can be a daunting challenge, don’t let that stop you from working towards a home that best suits your wants and needs.

Allow this guide below to serve as your go-to while you’re in the process of apply for a mortgage loan so you can afford a home you’ll love.

Organize Your Documents

To save yourself time, you’re going to need a collection of documents when applying for loans. Financial lenders will want proof of your income, tax forms, and more to allow them insight into your financial stability. This also gives them reasons to lend to you, and allows them to determine the total amount they can lend you.

The documents you need for this are:

  • Copies of pay stubs
  • Proof of employment
  • W-2 forms
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Security accounts
  • Information on other outstanding debt

Depending upon what lender you go with, you may need other/additional documents based on their process. Having a majority of the documents ready when you go to apply for a loan will save you and your spouse time and stress.

Find a Lender

There are a plethora of mortgage lenders and lending companies out there. Finding the right lender is your second step to the process once you’ve collected necessary documents. Because most mortgages are stretched out to payments for 15, 20, or even 30 years, you’ll want to make sure you know and trust your lender. When looking for a lender, you’ll want to keep in mind interest rates, credit requirements, and lender reputation.

Be Real with What You Can Afford

The truth is, buying a home is not cheap. Most first-time homebuyers assume that homeownership is a simple means of monthly mortgage and utility payments. However, beyond the monthly mortgage payment on your loan and the cost of utilities, there is also property tax, repairs/renovations, homeowners insurance, and potential HOA fees that a standard mortgage calculator can’t account for.

Between you and your new spouse, the two of you will have to sit down to determine a few things. Put together a list of actual needs you’re looking for in a home– things like room number and location are a major part of this. Then compile a list of added bonuses that may or may not be in your budget.

One of the best tips to searching for a home and applying for a mortgage is sticking to a budget you can afford. While this may be a challenging process for you and your new spouse, it will bring you two closer together and guide you to your future home.