I'm not sure WHERE you are thinking of buying...I cover Northern Bergen County but....
I do work with an awesome lender who could tell you immediately if you can qualify AND what you would qualify for thus narrowing down your shopping price point.
He would review total closing expenses including average attorney fees, title searches etc as well as monthly expenses of mortgage payments, taxes and insurance costs. This will give you a true picture of the monthly budget you should allow AND the on hand cash you might need.
Now really is the time to buy! We all know those interest rates are historically low but in addition December sellers tend to be more negotiable on price. Once we hit the Spring market the buyer pool increases and we are then competing with many.
Send me you email address if you want the name of WHO to contact at Atlantic Mortgage AND/OR if you want me to set up a Personal Automated property search within your price point. No pressure to buy...you can just start to educate yourself on towns and what your dollar could buy.
See below link for my Client Testimonials and Philosophy.
Keller Williams Realty