Two words....Get Prequalified! Before you go and look inside the home of your dreams it is a good idea to sit down with your lender and get prequalified. Lenders are asking for more documentation these days so be ready to show them copies of everything except your kitchen sink.
The process can be daunting but if you are working with a Realtor who knows your market and is a full time Realtor he/she will be able to assist you in gathering documents and talking with lenders.
It can be a real bummer if you find your dream home that cost $200,000 only to find out that you qualify for $150,000. So, talk with your Realtor and you lender/s and find our what you are qualified to buy. After all, you are in a much stronger position when you can submit your lenders letter along with your offer.
So...Happy House Hunting! and may you find your dream home soon.