Before taking the plunge—into home ownership, that is—make sure now really is the right time to buy.

1. Make Sure You Have the Cash

In order to buy a home, you should have a down payment of at least 20 percent saved, plus another 6 percent for closing costs, lawyers' fees, etc. To get a better idea of your situation, use a mortgage-qualifying calculator (, to see how much house you can afford.

Photo: Getty Images

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