Never allow a banker to tell you how much you can afford. I went to Bank of America for this "advice from a professional" about how much I could qualify for. I didn't want to do it, but all my friends and business associates kept on bugging me. Although I already knew what was reasonable on what I could afford, I was curious on how far off the Bank of America mortgage specialist would go. To prove them all wrong, I went and was shocked at how far off this guy was. I actually had to chuckle after he told me. It was about $100,000.00 too high of what I could afford! I replied that with that kind of mortgage payment, I'd be forced to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the remainder of the 30- year loan and quickly walked out.
Make sure your financial situation is in super tip-top shape before thinking of buying. You know what that means. Zero debt. 1 years worth of expenses put away in a very safe investment vehicle for your emergency fund. High FICO scores in the high 700's. 20% down. A large retirement fund already safely socked away with the diligence to be able to continue putting at least 15-20% away continuously. Is all of that in place? No? Take the next year to square that all away and come back again with your question.