These days, I’ve been spending far too much time checking out houses online and crunching numbers. I know we can get a decent mortgage, but I’d rather figure out what we can comfortably aford. While a total fixer-upper isn’t something we’d want, it doesn’t need to be perfect, either.
I found a tool at Wachovia.com that will estimate how much mortgage you would likely qualify for. It gave us a maximum mortgage amount that I feel is unmanageable, but I definitely see how pre-qualification letters give potential homebuyers the idea that “Hey, it says we can afford a $450,000 home, so that’s what we’re going to get.”
In my opinion, it’s far better to aim for a lower price to leave yourself some breathing room and not max out your paychecks just on home expenses. It’s better to put the money away for a rainy day.