As scary as it is and as much as I hate to say it... Step One is the money stuff. I remember when I started looking for my first home I would sit in front of online searches for hours and hours. Slowly but surely the price range I was looking at started going up and up. Before I knew it, I was looking at homes with mortgage payments more than I was making in one month!
Moral of the story... GET PRE-APPROVED. These lenders know better than anyone how much you can afford. It is better that you know now and not later what you can spend when you look for your first home. It will save you some heartache later. In fact, a smart real estate agent in Olathe or any other area, probably won't even starting looking at homes with you until you get pre approved.
Not to mention that a lot of those "online mortgage calculators" can be deceiving. A lot of the time they don't factor in the mortgage insurance (if you have to have it), the homeowners insurance or the taxes and interest.
So, you may be asking yourself, "How do I get pre-approved?" Good question. I would recommend that you gather up paycheck stubs from the past year as well as bank statements, and ask around for a good lender. In my humble opinion, it is better to go local. Ask your family and friends who they have used or check out Marti's website under Vendors. Each one of those people are people we have personally worked with and think do a wonderful job working with first time home buyers.
Still not feeling confident? Check out this website about the different stages of pre-approval and then call me!