Contact a local mortgage broker and determine your monthly budget. Figure a number that is comfortable for you to live and afford life. You do not want a house that is too expensive and now you are not able to live. Figure the comfortable medium.
Don’t get caught up on the things of the house that you can fix like the light fixtures, paint, bathroom vanities. Those can all be changed. What you should focus on is the property location, is the property big enough to fix your (growing) family, does it have a yard for your dog to play, is the street busy? Those are all things you cannot change once you own the home.
Your property will eventually need maintenance! You will need to start savings up for updates around the house including new windows, plumbing, furnace, ect. This is a critical part of being a successful homeowner. Not savings up for these things could result in deferred maintenance of the property which sets you back even further.
You can eventually use your property as a credit card, yeah I said it! One of the biggest advantages of purchasing a home is that as the property gains equity, once you have 20% equity- you can start putting the additional equity to work by buying more real estate, funding a rehab or starting a reserve account for future expenses. So, when you can buy always take the plunge.
Try to not loose the property over a few thousand dollars. When you get on a 30-year fixed mortgage purchasing the home for a few more thousand dollars than what you expected can help you win the deal and over the life of the loan your monthly payment will only be slightly higher. Be sure to run the numbers with your mortgage broker.