For starters, it's great that you are approved. That's the first step. Now, just because you are approved for $74K, doesn't mean you should spend that much. Make sure you have seen a good faith estimate from the lender who pre-approved you. Confirm that property taxes, homeowner's insurance and possible homeowner's dues are included. Then make sure you are comfortable with that monthly payment. In all likelyhood, $100K is probably too much. Coming down 25% off asking price in that price range is hard to do, and a lot of sellers just can't make that work. After paying off their mortgage and paying the agents, there's not a lot left over. A local real estate agent shouyld be able to give you good advise on the specific areas you are considering. I'm not saying that you can't get $25K off, but it's pretty unlikely. Not to mention, if you look at $100K homes, everything you see around $80K will be very dissapointing. Don't set yourself up for that. Best of luck to you!