The very week after Michael and I got back from our honeymoon we took one look at each other inside our 625-square-foot apartment and decided it was time to start saving for a home.  When we brought home our doberman, Hugo, we really knew it was time to leave. Hugo was doing circles in the living room, Michael was taking over the bathroom, and I was losing my mind with nowhere to hide.

So we started saving money. I mean, really saving money. And in less than six months we saved up enough money to buy a home.

I think that's a pretty fast turnaround time. Here's how we did it.
Be aware: one time Michael and I fought over a $3 margarita. I said, “Heck yes.” He said, “Heck no.” I never did get that margarita but I do live in a house. 

1. That example seems a little extreme, but it's key. Do I really have to have this or that? Probably not. A penny saved is a penny earned. For instance, we cut off cable (and never looked back). The idea was not just to earn money, but to save money for the long run.

2. Check your credit score. You'll most likely apply for a mortgage so make sure you have your credit in check. It's more of a headache to deal with it later, rather than now.

3. Buy only what you can afford. When the bank approved us for a loan, the amount was triple the price range we were looking to buy in. TRIPLE. That didn't mean we should look for a house in that price range. Stay within your means. I'm so happy we did.

4. Get rid of stuff you don't need. I sold things on ebay to make a few dollars. Michael sold car parts from my old car on Craigslist. From that expensive dress you never got around to wearing to that lawn mower that kicked the bucket ages ago. I can't stress this enough: every penny counts!

5. Don't eat out. For Michael and I, this is where we tend to spend most frivolously. We aren't willing to give up vacations, so we opted to stop eating out. We'd eat before meeting friends at a restaurant, and something small while still having fun with everyone. This is healthier, too. Take a look at your finances and see where you're spending the most, then cut back.

6. Understand how the process works. Buying a home is no easy feat, that's why Capital One Home Loans Online Neighborhood is a wonderful resource to learn all about home buying. They offer easy-to-understand articles and helpful videos.  You can check out the stages of the home buying process and decide whether or not now is the right time to buy.You can also find an overview of Capital One's loans online. As a first-time homebuyer, you can use the learning center to educate yourself and make informed decisions.

Mortgages vary, and which one you choose depends on a lot of different things —your budget, the amount you can afford to put down, the interest you’ll pay and the term length. All mortgages have pros and cons, but starting with an understanding of what’s available is important as you save
for one of the biggest purchases of your life!
Capital One is a trusted mortgage lender and can truly help you plan to buy a home, maybe faster than you think!

You might also like: How We Save TONS of Money (And Still Live Our Lives) 

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