While it might be a buyer’s market, not all buyers are created equal. In fact, buyers are having just as hard a time as sellers, thanks in large part to increased lending scrutiny and tighter policies regarding credit scores. If you’re in the market for a new or a new to you home, then you need to ensure that you’re making yourself as attractive a homebuyer as possible.

Your Credit

The single most important component to being an attractive homebuyer is your credit. If your score is in the pits, don’t buy. Wait. Rebuild your credit. Pay off your old debts and get current with your other bills. Wait until your old debts have fallen off and your score has been modified by more responsible spending. The higher your score, the better.

Down Payment

Yes, you have to have a down payment to buy a home. While you might not “have” to have 20% of the purchase price, the closer you can get to that magic number, the better your experience will be. In addition, if you can actually come up with 20% down, you can avoid problems like escrow and paying for private mortgage insurance. If that means you have to wait and save money, do so.

Know What You Can Afford and Stick to It

Being swept away by enthusiasm for a dream home is all well and good, but if you really can’t afford the home, you’re wasting time. Chances are good that the price won’t come down into an area you can afford, and even if you managed to snag the home, you might be saddled with too much mortgage for your income. Know what you can afford, look only at homes within your ideal price range, and stick to that decision.

Follow these tips and you’ll be considered an attractive homebuyer.