Check your credit score

Your credit score is one of the key factors that lenders will consider in offering you a mortgage loan. Different lenders and mortgage types will have different minimum scores required, but the higher your score, the better your rates. A score of over 800 is considered excellent and any score over 720+ is very good. To get a mortgage you'll need at least one borrower with a score higher than 680 as a general rule, though some lenders do work with people who have scores of 600-679.

Fortunately, checking your credit score is easy. Your bank may offer free credit reports, or you can use a service like Credit Karma or Borrowell to see your score and your credit report.

Not quite as high as you'd like? Here are a few tips to raise your credit score.

It may take a few months to raise your score. If your score is low and you can make big changes to 1 and 2, you may be able to improve it significantly pretty quickly.