(WWLP) – After hitting historic lows the past 2 years, mortgage rates have nearly doubled this year, surging to near six-percent.

That has potential home buyers suffering from sticker shock.. and looking for ways to lower the monthly cost of owning a home.

If you have some lead time… raising your credit score before applying for a mortgage can help your monthly payment. You can improve your score in under a month by using cash to pay down your debt-to-credit ratio.

Once you’ve taken steps, ask your lender to consider a “rapid re-score” to see those positive changes in around a week, rather than 30 to 60 days. Make sure to shop around for the most competitive rate.