I agree...getting thoroughly pre-qualified is hugely important. And, if you looking at leasing prior to buying your new home, there are a couple of things to be aware of:
1. make sure your lease agreement has clear and concise language regarding your option to buy
2. many of the "townhomes" listed on MLS are, in fact, condos. They may look like townhomes, but are legally condos. This can make a huge difference when it comes time to buy (and sell).
I can help....for more info you can call me at 708-597-8884 or email me at email@example.com