Rob offered some excellent advice. I would add that right now is a great time to re-start you search if you took a break over the Holidays. Each day new listings are added to the local Lawrence MLS and based upon your budget, many would fit that budget nicely should you choose to purchase. I would also love to offer my services if you need assistance in our area. I work with some great local lenders who would enjoy speaking with you about lending options.
My company, McGrew Real Estate has very solid working relationships with well-reputed rental agencies if you have decided that leasing is most fitting.
If you haven't already done so, you should start with your lender to find out how much you are pre-approved for. If you don't have a lender, please contact me as I can recommend one with several loan programs to choose from, low interest rates, and low closing costs who also closes on time.
If you already have your pre-approval letter, then contact me so I can get you set up with automatic email alerts of homes within YOUR search criteria and price range. That way you will be the FIRST to know when a listing hits the market! Call, email, or text me with your search criteria (city or cities, minimum bedrooms and baths, is garage or basement required, whether Townhouses and condos are okay or not, and price range). I will then set up a self updating website that shows just your property matches and you can mark them "Favorite", "Possibility", or "Reject" for easier viewing. You will love the advantage this gives you over other buyers for the same property!!" The properties will come from all three MLS's that serve this Northeastern Central Kansas area.
I will then set up showings once you contact me to do so and then lead you through the buying a home multiple step process one step at a time.
I respect your privacy and will not give out your contact info and will not contact you unless you initiate a dialog with questions or comments about real estate.
I have 19 references on the web reference below.
I look forward to serving you in the Shawnee area or whatever Northeastern Central Kansas area you desire.