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Ok. I am looking at buying a house in the next couple months. I dont even know where to begin. I have checked my credit report and I am good as far as my credit score goes. I do have 1 old charge off (due to fall off in Nov 2014- I will dispute as obsolete- and a few late payments from 2011 on my student loans. Everything else is ok. 1) What is my first step? Do I get a Realtor first or do I get a pre-approval first? 2) Difference between pre- approval and a pre-authorization? (I think the pre-approval is what I need) 3) How long is a pre approval good for?? Any tips are appreciated. I just dont know where to begin. I need to educate myself on the process before starting...so point me in the right direction please :-)