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For generations, most home purchases were made by married couples. With many people postponing marriage to pursue an education and a career, more and more single adults are overcoming challenges to become homeowners.

Meet Income Requirements
If you want to buy a house by yourself, the lender will make its decision based solely on your income. If the earnings from your full-time job aren’t enough to buy the house you want, or if the monthly mortgage payments would be a stretch, consider looking for a part-time job. You could find a retail position, freelance work, odd jobs, or anything that would allow you to earn money by using skills you’ve learned in school, at a previous job, or by pursuing a hobby. A relatively small amount of money, earned on a consistent basis over a period of time, could make a big difference when it comes to qualifying for and paying a mortgage.

Check Your Credit
You should check your credit reports several months before applying for a mortgage. Your reports might contain errors that could derail your chance of qualifying for a loan. If you find any inaccurate information, contact the credit bureau right away to have it corrected.

Your credit report will also show your current credit scores. If they’re lower than lenders’ requirements, you can raise them by paying down debt and consistently making payments on time. Don’t apply for any new credit cards or loans in the months before you apply for a mortgage because that could make you appear like a risky applicant. At the same time, don’t cancel any credit cards you don’t use, because that could increase the percentage of available credit you’re using and lower your credit score.

Make a Down Payment
For a single homebuyer, coming up with a 20-percent down payment can be difficult—or impossible. If a large down payment isn’t realistic in your case, explore other mortgage options that have lower down payment requirements, such as a loan from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Consider a Co-Signer
If you can’t qualify for a mortgage, or you need to act quickly to get the house you want, you might be able to get someone to co-sign the loan. Before you ask a family member or friend, think it over carefully. Doing so could help you get the mortgage, but what if you couldn’t afford the monthly payments? The person who co-signed the loan would be financially responsible. Think about whether that person would be able to cover your mortgage in addition to his or her own bills, or whether your co-signer’s entire family might suffer financially by bailing you out. Consider how that could affect your relationship, and whether it’s worth the risk.

Make Your Dream a Reality
Buying a house by yourself is an achievable goal, as long as you meet the lender’s guidelines. Take a realistic look at your current financial picture and do everything you can to make yourself a qualified applicant.

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