Before you go out looking for a home, you can get an idea of what you can afford by using our Mortgage Calculator.
This handy tool will help you estimate how much mortgage you are comfortable with.
Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval
Prequalification is a simple process. It takes into account very basic information regarding your financial status and gives you an amount for which you may qualify. The prequalified amount is based solely on the information you provide to your lender and there is no documentation.
Preapproval is a much more involved process. The lender will take all pertinent information regarding your finances and perform an extensive check on your current financial status. This will ultimately give you the exact amount that you will be eligible for (depending on what type of loan you decide to go with). Being preapproved lets the seller know that you have gone through an extensive financial background check and there should be no unexpected obstacles to buying the home. You can see how being preapproved would be more attractive to a seller than just being prequalified.