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Many seeking to purchase a home are unsure of what they need to do to be able to qualify for a mortgage loan. While many mortgage companies are willing to work with potential home buyers (even those who are unsure if they can qualify), there are a few best practices that can increase one’s chance of qualifying for a loan.

One of the most important factors in both qualifying for a mortgage loan and getting a good loan rate is the ability to make a substantial down payment on the home. Many experts recommend that buyers be able to pay at least 20 percent of the home’s value as a down payment. However, having the ability to pay an even larger portion of the home’s value as a down payment can help buyers lock into lower monthly payments on their mortgage.

Mortgage companies will also examine potential home buyers’credit scores to determine whether or not they have the ability to make payments on time. While having a lower credit score does not automatically eliminate one from being able to take out a loan, a lower credit score will decrease one’s chances of qualifying for a loan and will generally result in the buyer having to pay higher interest rates. Those with higher credit scores (from consistently paying off other debts, etc.) will likely have an easier time getting a loan and will potentially qualify for lower rates.