Buying your first home can be very exciting but it can also be a stressful time. There are lots of things to consider.......pre approvals, location, style of home, mortgage payment options, etc.
Many first time home buyers make the mistake of putting too much emphasis on all the bells and whistles in a home rather than focusing on sticking to a home that suits their budget. Nothing can turn your dream home into a nightmare faster than having a mortgage payment that doesn't really fit within your lifestyle and means. It's nice to have a new home with granite counter tops, hardwood floors, etc but if those items increase your mortgage payment to the extent that you can no longer do the things that you like to do are they really worth it?
Before you start searching for your new home consider how you are willing to change your lifestyle to accommodate the extra expense of home ownership-things like setting aside money for repairs or improvements, property taxes, potential utility increases, and so on. After you answer this question honestly calculate what mortgage payment fits within this lifestyle and stick to that budget. Mortgage pre approvals are often much higher than buyers expect and don't take into consideration that you may like to travel or golf or have some other kind of hobby that costs money to participate. No one wants to be "house poor". Your friends may have shiny new granite counter tops but in the long run you will be more financially secure and able to a have a home and a life!