If you’re looking for a state with low crime rates, a booming economy, and tons of attractions, you can’t go wrong when buying a Utah home.

Utah promises financial security – it ranks number one in the nation for employment opportunities and economic health. Since you’ll also be living in the “adventure sports capital of the U.S.,” there will be plenty of outdoor sporting activities to keep you fit and entertained.

However, if you’re looking at utah real estate, you should know a few things about the market and the home-buying process before taking the plunge.

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or just need a few reminders, here are four things you need to consider when buying a home in Utah.

1. Your Credit Score

Before you begin searching the listings, you need to have a good idea of your finances. When buying a home, you need to be prepared for the fees that will come up.

Knowing your credit rating and how much debt you have will help you understand what you can afford to determine a reasonable budget. Check your credit score – this is what lenders will look at when you apply for a home loan. In Utah, most lenders prefer a credit score of 620 or more.

Another thing lenders will scrutinize is your reliability. Six months before you apply, refrain from moving your money around, don’t miss any of your payments, and avoid accumulating more debt.

The more predictable your finances look, the better your chances of being approved for a home loan.

2. Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

Once you’ve checked your credit score, you must calculate your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). To calculate your DTI, add all your monthly debt payments and divide the total by your income before tax. Monthly debt payments can include car payments, child support, student loan payments, rent, or other mortgage payments.

If your DTI is above 50%, it may be hard to qualify for a mortgage in Utah. To improve your chances of qualifying, pay off your debt and aim to lower your score to below 36%. 

3. Your Down Payment

In Utah, a down payment is usually 20% of the mortgage. When working out your budget for your mortgage repayments, don’t forget to add the down payment to the total cost.

If you can’t pay 20% as a down payment, there are two other options. You could qualify for a lower down payment from The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Veterans Administration (VA).

Veterans, surviving spouses, and current service members can apply for a VA home loan. VA home loans don’t require a down payment. You could apply for an FHA home loan if you are a first-time home buyer. Depending on your credit score, you might only have to pay a down payment of 3.5%.

4. Closing Costs and Other Unexpected Fees

Once you’ve put down an offer on the house and it’s accepted, you’ll need to be prepared for closing costs and other fees.

Closing costs are usually 2-5% of the home you’re buying’s total value. According to the median listing price of around $370,000 in Utah, the closing costs will be between $7,400 and $18,000.

The closing costs usually include a credit report fee, home inspection fee, mortgage origination fee, mortgage insurance, and the home appraisal fee. If you want to save some money on closing costs, consider comparing rates for different homeowners’ insurance companies.