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Applying for a mortgage can be an intimidating process. Not only do lenders look at your income, they examine your credit score, too—all to determine whether you’re a risky person to bank on. Securing a mortgage was easy in the old days, but lenders are notorious for scrutinizing in today’s less-than-reliable economy. If you’re planning to apply for a mortgage soon, here’s what you need to know.

Your lender will want to see proof of your finances. Can you afford a mortgage? You might think so, but lenders aren’t always so keen to lend to anyone they consider a potential risk. Lenders will review your finances to ensure you are not a risk for them. They need to be sure you will always be able to make your mortgage payments on time. While mortgages are possible for everyone, you’ll have a harder time getting preapproved if you work in the gig economy and your income fluctuates monthly or annually.

They’ll examine your credit score closely. The biggest thing to keep in mind is how closely your lender will review your credit score. If you’re not aware of your score, you should become acquainted with it before you speak to a mortgage lender. Your deal could be dead on arrival before you ever set foot in their office if your credit score is lower than you thought. Figure out where you stand before you make any moves to get approved. Even if your score isn’t the greatest right now, you can always improve it by paying off debts regularly and committing to better financial practices in the future.

They’ll be interested—really interested—in your assets. If you don’t have a lot of assets to your name, you’ll still be expected to undergo a fairly invasive asset verification. First-time homebuyers might find the process burdensome or even somewhat anxiety-inducing since lenders will review every single asset to your name, but even wealthy homebuyers are expected to undergo asset verification. And if you purchase another property down the line when you have more money in the bank, you’ll still have to do the same thing. The best thing to do is comply, understand that lenders have to weigh your risk factor and hope for the best.

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