1. Calculate how much you can afford
Before you begin saving for a home, set a realistic goal about what’s in your budget, Palmer said. That includes narrowing down neighborhoods you want to live in and being realistic about the size of the home you want to purchase. Be sure to factor in the moving expenses and closing costs.
2. Budget, and begin setting your money aside
Once you calculate your budget, set up an automated savings account in order to reach your down payment goal. Each month, set aside a certain amount of money to ensure you’re making steady progress. “The best way to do that is to start early,” she said.
3. Improve your credit score
The mortgage rate you receive on your home is hugely dependent on your credit score -- so do everything in your power to make sure that it’s a good one, Palmer suggested. That often entails being extra diligent about paying your bills on time to slowly increase your score. “A bad credit score could mean a higher interest rate, or even the denial of your home loan application,” she said.