To buy your first home, you likely will need a mortgage. In fact, before you even start looking at houses, you should look into your mortgage prospects. If you have good credit, a healthy income and money in the bank, you’ll be able to secure mortgage preapproval quickly and proceed straight to the homebuying process. But if you have less-than-stellar credit, are self-employed or have little cash to bring to the table, you’ll want to start the process way before you look at houses — maybe more than a year before. For the full story on this topic, visit our sister site, Living on the Cheap.