Individuals who are interested in purchasing a home are often given all types of advice from well-meaning friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, some of this information does not accurately reflect the current reality of today’s mortgage market.

One common misconception is that a large down payment is always required to purchase a home. While that was true at one time, the vast majority of homes sold today require a much smaller down payment. Based on your personal financial circumstances and the type of mortgage you apply for, your down payment could range anywhere from the zero percent down required for a Veterans Administration loan up to around 6 percent.

While first time homebuyers often overestimate the size of the down payment required to purchase a home, they often underestimate the closing costs that are incurred in the mortgage process. Although closing costs usually add up to no more than 2 percent of the home’s purchase price, it is important to factor them in to your total costs.

Another misconception is that you can not have personal debt and purchase a home. The truth is, most people have accrued some debt. Mortgage lenders are more interested in how your level of debt relates to your level of income. In most cases, a debt load that is no more than 36% of available income is viewed as a good debt level for a mortgage candidate. Even if your debts are currently too high to qualify for a mortgage, you will have a good idea of what changes will be required to purchase a home in the future.

Of course, your credit rating and payment history will also be a determining factor when applying for a mortgage. Obviously, the higher the credit score, the better the chance of being approved for a mortgage. However, there are several loan products available for individuals with less than ideal credit. In some cases, those with credit score issues can make a larger down payment or pay a higher interest rate on their mortgage.

Buying a home represents a great investment in your future. Talk with a mortgage professional to separate fact from fiction and determine what it will take for you to become a homeowner.