When you apply for your first mortgage, it’s almost like giving your underwear away to strangers. You can reduce discomfort by learning about the lenders’ requirements.

Lenders use the five C’s of credit when assessing your ability to pay back a mortgage.

1) Credit history. Your lender will want to make sure when you’ve borrowed money, you’ve paid it back. Keep your records clean to ensure your loan approval quickly.

2) Capital. Lenders want to ensure you’ve accumulated assets

3) Collateral. This is the property you use to secure your house. This would mean you’re  putting your house up as collateral

4) Capacity. Capacity is your ability to service your debt and it’s measured by your current income against existing debts and the proposed loan repayments. For instance, your housing cost shouldn’t exceed 30% to 35% of your gross income and all of your debts shouldn’t exceed 40% to 45% of your gross income. Log on to our mortgage calculator and find out how much you can borrow.

5) Character. It’s a combination of all four previous C’s as well as subjective and objective assessments such as how long have you been in your job, what type of job you have and how long you have lived in your current residence.

What are you waiting for? These five tips can help you win approval.

1) You can preapprove but you need to know the type of preapproval that your broker/banker has completed

Not all preapprovals are created equal, so it’s important to understand what kind of prequalification you’ve been given. Preapproval can be unconditional- meaning you’ve been given an all clear. If the lender insists that you meet certain conditions before they release the funds, this is known as a conditional approval. You can get unconditional approval by submitting the correct paperwork.

2) All information that can be verified should be included

You should include a letter detailing your income, pay stubs, and banking information that discloses the source of your downpayment. These documents will enable you to obtain a preapproval with no additional conditions. Some claim that income verification or satisfactory income are required for approval. Get all that stuff out of the way, so it’s one less thing to worry about.

3) Ask your broker for a review of your credit history

Some brokers won’t allow this to happen during the preapproval phase. However, it could still hinder your final approval. So if you’re not sure, ask.

4) Build credit history, if you don’t have any

If you’re applying for a mortgage for the first time, you need to be able to show the lender that you have a solid and clean credit history. This means prior to applying, make sure you have a credit card that you’ve been using for some time or personal loans that you’re servicing.

5) Avoid costly purchases and job changes

Don’t run out and buy cars or expensive items before you buy a home because it will impede the amount you can qualify for. In addition, don’t change your job within six to eight months of buying, because a lender will look at that, but Turner says, depending on the industry you work in, if it’s a natural progression, it will be looked at differently.