A great question to ask yourself is: how much can I afford? Getting a pre-qualification or pre-aproval can help you with that (see here). However, if you're not quite at that stage yet and you just want to casually toy with the idea, think about what you pay in rent. If you know you can afford your rent you know you could afford a mortgage payment of the same amount.
Another way of calculating what you can afford is to go by this rule of thumb: multiply your household income by 2.5. Obviously, these are just fun ways of getting estimations of what you might be able to afford. You will eventually need to talk to a Mortgage lender to see what you can actually afford.
Another important question to ask yourself: How much space do I need? Similar as the mortgage payment, you can ask yourself about the current space you live in. Is it big enough? Will you need more space down the road? Ask your landlord for your current square footage and use that as a guiding point.
Where do you want to live? Some people want quiet neighborhoods. Some people want to be able to walk downtown. What neighborhoods are close to your work? These are great factors to consider when purchasing a home.
If you don't have an answer to these questions yet, don't worry. Buying a home is a big decision and it can take some careful deliberation. To help answer these questions, start asking people questions about where they live, explore neighborhoods, and start looking at what the market offers. Wherever you are in the process, it can help to discuss your concerns and ask your questions with a professional in the field. The great thing about Realtors is that it doesn't cost you to talk to them.
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