This will give you a view where you stand financially. How much much you can borrow based on your income, minus your debt. It helps to know if you need to pay something off or clean up your credit report, etc. Some things to do may be:
- Pay off debt (could take a few years or just a few months).
- Clear items from your credit report (challenge erroneous marks, fix things, pay down debts, etc)
- Always check your credit report yourself every year (free, per US Govt: www.AnnualCreditReport.com
- Know what you'll need for a down payment.
- Shop for loans and interview loan agents
- I can refer three, but feel free to search others