To answer the emotional side of your question, now is a GREAT time to be buying. The housing market is strongly in a buyer's favor and interest rates are at or near historic lows.
To answer the practical side of the question, a loan pre-approval should answer both your questions about rent vs. own, and about availability of credit to you both.
If I can be of further help, don't hesitate to let me know. Mortgage Master is headquartered in Walpole and we are happy to be of service.