Students begin thinking about college usually years in advance; their freshman year, most likely. Similarly, people begin thinking about home ownership years before they are prepared to purchase a home. As time progresses, students start to think about what they want to do in life, and begin to fashion a picture of what career they would like to go in. Naturally, they begin thinking about schools that will be able to fulfill the requirements they will need to succeed in their chosen profession. Potential homebuyers think about the size of their family--how much room they will need, or how big of a house they want--then they think about whether they want to live in the country or in the city, and maybe about what kind of style of house they like. Homebuyers usually start shopping around for a lending institution at this stage; they look for banks and lenders that make home loans, who have competitive rates, and who offer low closing costs and points.

As students begin to narrow down the list of colleges they think they would like to attend, they start learning as much as they can about them. Where they are located, how much tuition costs, what classes they offer, what extracurricular activities are available, and the like. Potential homebuyers act much the same way. They decide what state and city they would like to live in, if they want a rural property or a town house, and begin to finalize things like size and location. Once students have their list of potential colleges, they start paying attention to their grades; after all, a high grade point average in high school is definitely a step in the right direction to acceptance at a favored university. Likewise, homebuyers start thinking about their credit. Those who have the best credit history and the highest credit score are the most likely to get their mortgage loan accepted and to get the lowest rate possible, saving tons of money in the process.

As time of the big event grows nearer, high school students begin taking entrance exams and filling out entrance applications. They study for tests like the SAT and the ACT, and they fill out the required university applications, which can include personal essays and other types of tests. Homebuyers start looking for real estate agents who can match them to a home they are interested in, and they start inquiring about mortgage applications from their favorite lenders, which they found through earlier research. They fill out mortgage applications that ask things such as yearly income, expenses, and work history. They look at the applicant's credit score and history along with the application, and just like the admissions department at universities across the country, they decide if the applicant is "in" or not.

If the applicant's grades (credit) are good enough, if the admissions office liked the response to their application (mortgage loan application), and the situation is affordable, years of hard work, dedication, and planning all come to fruition.
Getting a home is not something that happens overnight; neither is getting into the choicest college on the list. Both take some time and hard work, but if everything falls together just right and the timing is perfect, both events are wonderful and life-changing.

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