Along with all of the previous good advise, I would also create a good working family budget that proves not only to yourself, but to a loan officer the amount of the home you can afford. Most people go looking for a home thru the back door, meaning they find the house they want & then try to buy it regardless of the reality of the affordability.
Add your entire income, & figure what 40-45% is of that amount. This amount would not only be the amount for the mortgage but also for the prop taxes and utilities. Any more than this would not allow for normal expenditures like groc, autos, auto repairs, insurance, clothing, savings, weekly running money, haircuts, makeup, baby items, medical & prescriptions, christmas, & fun things like a fun weekend, eating out, birthday gifts. Watch your friends and see who is enjoying life & loving their home, & those that are under stress b/c they can't afford their homes.
at 9:12 AM on Apr. 6, 2009