Only a licensed banker can tell anyone what they can afford and if an agent has a mortgage calculator on their website, you've seen how inaccurate such things can be. Frankly, it's illegal as I understand the regulations for anyone except a licensed banker to qualify anyone for a mortgage loan. All I can do, as a real estate agent, is to give you some very limited guidance and I always direct my clients to Emi Kalici of Weichert Financial who works in my office in Tenafly. There are many factors involved in determining what you can not only afford but can qualify for in a mortgage loan. For example, maybe when you look at your budget, you feel you can afford a $200,000 mortgage easily but when the banker looks at your credentials, the mortgage system will only allow you $170,000. And, just to make things a bit more complicated, there isn't just one 30 year fixed rate loan - there are dozens of varieties.
An excellent licensed mortgage banker working at a direct lender FDIC bank which also brokers out loans should be completely familiar with VA loans. VA loans are terrific opportunities for veterans and well worth investgating. But, again, only a licensed banker who knows what they're doing can tell you what's truly possible and right for you. Once you establish your budget correctly, then you find yourself a good agent and that agent has to work within your budget.