Get real about home affordability

Red jigsaw puzzle piece shaped like a house

If you're looking to buy your first home, you've no doubt heard advice from friends and family about how to find the best house in the best neighborhood.

Unfortunately, all of this influence can have a negative impact on your decision.

We all want to keep up with the Joneses, but instead of focusing on what we can pay, we often only have an eye on the features our dream house should have. We tend to want what our friends and family have, even if we can't afford it.

The best way to avoid this scenario is to get preapproved for a mortgage before you start looking – and before you share your excitement about your house hunt.

Utilizing this planning method will help you to focus on where you can look for a home rather than guessing – perhaps after it's too late -- what you can afford.

Of course, home ownership involves much more than the sticker price of a building. There are many other measures of home affordability to consider, including taxes, heating and utilities, upkeep, maintenance, and -- for some -- the cost of renovations and safety upgrades.

Learn more about why preapproval is an important first step and increase your chances for a successful preapproval from lenders.

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