We like the option of negotiating the price to within your price range. A real estate professional will be able to give you a feel for the probability of being able to do this by previewing the comps for recently sold property in the same general location.
The bottom line for buyers in this market is if your top number is $150,000, it is reasonable to be previewing and considering property priced near the $170,000 limit. Your degree of success will be impacted by the sellers level of motivation.
Our recommendation is to meet with several loan specialists to get a more accurate understanding of what your true limits are and get pre-approved. When meeting with a loan counselor be sure to request a "good faith estimate." This is a written account of the specific programs and rated quoted to you.
The Eckler team
I think everyone has given you the best advice, speak with a few lenders to get a true picture of what you can qualify for - the qualifying calculators can only do so much, and FHA guidelines have changed a great deal lately. Ask your friends of family for references of a good loan agent that is used to working with first time buyers.
That's right...those calculators leave out a LOT of factors. Definitely speak to a qualified lender! It's best to shop around--ask a few different lenders what loans they can offer you. I can give you some info on a couple different lenders who do great work. Contact me anytime, 858.405.7264, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christine Van Tuyl
Prudential California Realty
Leading Edge Award winner, 2007, 2008
Second thought negotiate the price of the home down.
Third thought, save more money up and wait till you are financially ready.
There are several loan options that might work for you, although I don't know enough about your individual situation. Interest rates will impact your borrowing ability as well, and we don't know where those will be at the end of the year.
If you have further questions, feel free to contact me directly. I have worked with more first-time buyers than I can count and I'd be happy to walk to through the process.