6 tips on getting finances in shape to buy a home - Article Photos 1/1

In this Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, photo, a sale pending is outside a home in Mount Lebanon, Pa. After years in the doldrums, the housing market appears back on track. Home sales and prices are up, and mortgage rates remain near historic lows, reinvigorating the appeal of homeownership. But qualifying for a home loan remains a hurdle for anyone without a solid personal balance sheet. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)