Buying a home is a major investment, not only money but an investment of time. Once you make the decision to buy a home the first thing you should do is make sure your credit is good. You know you are paying your bills on time but a lender will need proof and they get that proof by looking at your credit report. You can check your credit report for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. Federal law permits you to request a copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three (3) reporting agencies, Equifax, Transunion and Experian. It is not the same report your lender will order but it will allow you to see if there is anything negative that needs to be addressed. Your credit report will also show information that is in public records and where you have lived recently. You should make sure the information in your report is accurate. Start with the proper spelling of your name and your correct social security number. You need to look at each account and make sure it is yours. If you don't recognize an account it could be a sign that someone is using your identity.
An excellent place to start preparing yourself to buy a home is to attend a Homebuyer Education class. You can take a class online or attend in person. Sometimes there is a charge and some will be free. I prefer that you attend the class in person, you will get so much more out of it and you will be exposed to local resources, but no matter which works for you I would advise you to make sure it is a HUD approved course. If you are in SW Florida here is a link to a Free Homebuyer Education course hosted by the Royal Palm Coast Realtor® Association Housing Foundation.