If you’ve just started looking for your first home, or are back in the market after a sabbatical, you may be hearing about getting pre-qualified to buy a home. Here are three benefits for getting pre-qualified to buy a home:

GETTING YOU PREPARED Home buying can be quite the process and if this is your first time buying a home, you may not know your status as far as how to get the most out of your financial and credit history. Getting pre-qualified gives you the rundown of your credit history, your financial status with potential banks, and your total buying power. By knowing where you stand financially, you can make adjustments to your down payment or improvements to your credit before you buy.

KNOWING YOUR BUYING POWER Imagine finding your dream home just to learn the payments or cost is going to be more than what you’ve expected or prepared for. Getting pre-qualified gives you the insight to know your buying power and just how much house you can afford. You’ll know exactly what to put on Zillow to get listings that best suit your budget and other needs like location and surrounding businesses. By knowing your buying power, getting pre-qualified also can help you learn about any potential savings or special opportunities, such as First Time Home Buyer programs or Young Professional programs, from your lender.

STREAMLINING THE BUYING PROCESS Once you know your buying power, you can get straight into looking at homes you can afford in the area you love. Being pre-qualified communicates to lenders what you are eligible for and gives them the tools they need to get your paperwork started right away, streamlining the entire process from contract to close.