The very first step toward figuring out where you want to settle or where you want your vacation home, is to figure out exact what you can afford. This is arguably the most important step in your planning process. Not only would affordability preclude you from purchasing that Townsend's Inlet beach front property, when you can only afford a condominium; but it would save you from the headaches from foreclosure and unforeseen expenses.
What you can afford depends on your income, credit rating, current monthly expenses, downpayment and the interest rate. It all starts with a mortgage pre-qualification. Below there is several information about the economics about home buying, as well as some calculators to give you a rough estimate as to what may be in your range.