To make your search as stress-free as possible you should first decide what your "must-haves" vs. "nice to-haves" are including where you want to live.
From there, you should be pre-qualified by a LOCAL (I cannot stress local enough) reputable Mortgage Lender to understand what your income can truly afford and then determine, based on your life style, what a comfortable mortgage payment would be including taxes and HOA fees, if a condo/coop.
If you do not know a LOCAL reputable Mortgage Representative I have a few excellent individuals that I work with who I can refer you to.
Once we have these two pieces of the puzzle figured out we can put a plan together to find you YOUR DREAM HOME!
Give me a call at 973.868.4034 or email me at EmilVeltre@aol.com to schedule a call to discuss or so that I can answer any further questions.
Have a GREAT day!
Emil Veltre, RPh, MS, CDPE