The first step when considering whether to purchase instead of rent is to figure out your finances.
Gather Your Finances
1) Gather your last 2 years of tax returns, recent bank statements and paystubs
2) Contact a lender (request a referral to a loan officer)
3) Once you speak with a lender, they will let you know the max loan amount that you will be approved for. This is a mortgage pre-qualification.
Start Your Search
Now that you know how much you can afford, its time to start searching searching for a home
1) Determine the communities you want to live in. Browse Community Guides to see what each neighborhood offers.
2) Develop a Wants/Needs list of things that you must have in your new home.
3) Search homes for sale in the neighborhood you want to live in.
4) Now that you’ve seen what you can get for your money, determine whether its worth buying. Your loan officer should have given you your estimated monthly payment based on your loan amount. In some areas, you may find it is more expensive to buy then to rent. At the outset, it may not seem like a smart decision to rent in some cases, however, you will need to factor in the investment appreciation value which owning a home offers. To determine whether the market will support this investment, its time to speak with a licensed real estate expert.
Once you connect with a licensed real estate agent, they will be able to start showing you homes and help you through the purchasing process.