I Want to Buy a House in 6 Months. Here's What I'm Doing Now

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.


  • Even before I'm ready to physically tour houses, there is a lot to do, such as getting prequalified, to help set my budget, and narrowing down my desired location.
  • Now is also a good time to start finding an agent, squirreling away savings, and pausing new credit accounts to ensure my finances are in good shape for a mortgage.
  • Although it's too early to start major packing, now is also a good time to begin decluttering so my upcoming move is easier.

This is the to-do list that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend…

Considering the sheer size of the purchase, it's no real surprise that buying a house is a complicated business. It's something many folks need to plan for months, if not years. 

And that's where I'm at. I want to buy a house at the end of the summer. What's more, that house is 10 states away, meaning I'm doing a good bit of it remotely -- then making a massive move.

Although I won't be actively touring homes for a little while yet, there's still plenty to do now. Here's what I'm focusing on at the six-month point.

Planning: Prequalification and research

No purchase this large can be made without a good deal of planning. At this stage, my plans involve setting a budget and figuring out my target area.

The role of prequalification

There are a few different stages of getting a mortgage. The key stage is pre-approval, which is when the bank basically says, "Yes, we'll give you this much money, go ahead and put in offers on houses."

But before that part, there's prequalification. Prequalifying for a mortgage is a good way to get the sort of outer limits of your house budget.

This is a super basic, not-in-depth-at-all form that gives you a vague estimate of what you could potentially qualify for when you actually apply. It uses a soft credit check that won't impact your credit score.

Researching areas and markets

At this point, I already have a general idea of where I want to buy a house. But by this, I mean I know the roughly 50-square-miles I want to be within. Since we're talking about a fairly dense area, this covers a good dozen or so cities and towns.

So, I'm doing my research. I'm looking at general housing costs, at what's nearby -- at what isn't. While I would like to stay flexible on location, I know some sections of my target area are simply out of my budget, while others may lack some must-haves. This is all important information to know so that my future real estate agent can find my best fit.

Prepping: Finding an agent, savings, credit

In addition to lots of planning and research, I'm also preparing what I can. This includes finding a reliable agent, saving for my down payment, and ensuring my credit is looking its best.

Soliciting real estate agent recommendations

As a first-time home buyer, I admittedly don't have much experience with real estate agents. Luckily, I have trustworthy folks in my target area who can help me find a good agent. I'll be asking for recommendations and getting into contact to find an eminently competent agent with whom I am comfortable.

Saving like a squirrel before winter

Six months can feel like a long time, but in terms of savings -- well, it's basically no time at all. So I'm stocking away savings like I need a food cache to get me through winter. All nonessential purchases have been put on hold. I've even cut out a few takeout meals each month. It's an all-funds-on-deck sort of situation.

It's not just my down payment I need to pad, either. I'll also have closing costs to consider (which experts say average between 2% and 5% of your purchase price). And, of course, moving halfway across the country isn't going to be cheap. I'm looking at another $5,000 (or more) for moving expenses alone.

Polishing my credit until it shines

Despite the fact that I have more than a dozen credit cards, my credit reports are actually in excellent shape. That's because I always pay my cards in full and on time, which keeps my score shining. 

But I'm going to need to be extra careful in the coming months with a mortgage application on the way. Which is why I've put into a place a moratorium on new credit cards. 

Now, I love opening new cards. I usually do so at least every few months to ensure I'm always working on a new sign-up bonus. But I don't want to have to try to explain all this to a suspicious lending agent as they go over my credit with the proverbial fine-toothed comb. It’s easier to put a pause on new accounts until after we close. (Then I'll probably pick up a new card for all the big buys involved in moving into a new house!)

Packing: Decluttering and prioritizing

Last, but by no means least, is doing what I can to prepare for the big move. While it wouldn't make sense to start packing things in earnest -- I don't think I can go six months without my pots and pans, for instance -- there are plenty of things I can do in the meantime.

The biggest thing on my pre-packing list? Decluttering.

My current abode is what we'll call lived in. I have piles and stacks and overflowing bookshelves galore. Since the very idea of moving everything is enough to make a professional mover balk, I'm taking stock and making some tough decisions now.

Because, let's face it, I probably don't actually need to pack and move the blender I replaced two years ago but never actually got rid of -- or the vacuum of similar provenance.

This is all to say, even though I am many moons from my move, there's still plenty to do. If you're planning a home purchase this year, make sure you're already on your own to-do list, too.

Alert: our top-rated cash back card now has 0% intro APR until 2025

This credit card is not just good – it’s so exceptional that our experts use it personally. It features a lengthy 0% intro APR period, a cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee! Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow