Student loan debt needn’t stop you from becoming a homeowner. Here’s how to keep your dream of homeownership alive even while paying off student loans.

Getting an education these days costs plenty of money. Luckily, it doesn’t have to cost you your dream of buying a house.

If you’ve been putting off buying a house until your student loans are paid off, take these steps and you’ll be in your own home sooner than you thought possible.

Know what you owe. Read the fine print and know all the terms of your student loan repayment agreement. Make sure you know how much your payments are, when they’re due and when you’ll be finished paying the loans off. Then write a list of all of your other debts so you can get a better understanding of your financial picture.

Understand how lenders view debt.  Lenders aren’t necessarily expecting you to be debt-free. Rather they want to make sure that the debt you have is manageable. They also want to know if you’ll be able to easily pay your debts at the same time that you are paying the new mortgage. If you can’t eliminate your debt completely, get it down to a manageable level. Not sure what constitutes a manageable level? A Homeownership Advisor can tell you.

Examine your other debts. If you owe a lot in student loans, it will likely take time to pay it off. However, do you have smaller debts that you can pay off  such as a credit card or your car? Decide on one thing you can sacrifice, whether it’s a meal out per month or a daily coffee habit, in order to add a little more to your debt payments.

Strengthen your credit. Lenders are looking at your complete financial picture. Improve your credit score by making on-time payments and using debt responsibly.

Find steady income. Focus on your earning power. Whether you score a promotion or build a lucrative side hustle, an increase in income can help you pay off your debts sooner.

Get educated about the homebuying process. While you’re taking the steps mentioned above and getting your finances together, schedule a phone call with a Homeownership Advisor. An Advisor can share information about resources that can help you come up with money for a down payment or improve your chances of getting the best mortgage rate possible.

Student loan debt does not have to stop you from being a homeowner. Take the first steps to homeownership today.