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First Time Home Buyers: Can You Afford to Buy?
The following is an update to information I first published in 2011.  
This is the second of a three-part series for First Time Home Buyers.   The first part discussed the differences between renting and owning a home.  Once you've decided that you do want to own your own home, the next logical question is whether you can afford to do so.  This blog will help you make that determination.
When you start looking for a home, one of the first things a real estate agent will ask you is whether you have been pre-approved for a mortgage.  Pre-approval is necessary not only so you know how much you can really spend on a new home and focus your search appropriately, but also so you may make an offer when you find a property you like.   Offers are accepted only by pre-approved buyers, and you will have to provide proof of your pre-approval when making the offer.  If you're not ready, you may lose the house you love to another buyer who was ready with their pre-approval.
So how do you get pre-approved, and what does it really mean?
You can contact any mortgage company or bank directly, or you may ... more

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