Buying a home for the first time can be a very complicated and nerve racking experience. It also means that you are setting yourself a budget for the next twenty years, so it is a commitment that lasts a very long time. Do not worry about it as an investment, over that kind of period you will make money on it, it is the people who sell in the short-term that risk making a loss on the purchase.
If you are already paying rent and you are managing that with no financial strain, then that is the amount you want to be looking for with a mortgage. Maybe you can add 10% to it, but never get a mortgage that leaves you with nothing to put away for a rainy day, you need some flexibility in your finances. Once you have worked out what you can afford each month, then use an online mortgage calculator to see what kind of price range you are looking at in the property market. You can adjust the timescale and interest rates in most of them, so change them to give you an idea of different scenarios.
The property you choose will depend on what your outlook on life will be. Will you remain single? Do you already have a wife? Will you have children? You need to answer all these kinds of questions so you know what type of property you should look for. For instance buying a condo is usually a lot cheaper than a family home or townhouse. If you are looking to live in the property until the mortgage is paid of then you really need a crystal ball, especially if you are single as you never know what is round the corner.
Once you have decided on the property you want, and know what you can afford, the next thing is to find out what mortgage companies will actually lend you. Gone are the days when you would be given a 100% loan, these days they are mostly 80% or 90% depending on your circumstances, especially for first time buyers. So you may discover that you need a large deposit before any lender will even consider you. One of the most cost efficient ways is to see if your parents will remortgage their own home for the value of the deposit. If you do it this way though, you have to deduct the amount you will be paying them off what you had in mind for your own mortgage.
Never go through the buying steps on your own, always use an estate agent, as they are qualified, and know how to help you with any questions that you may have. They will ensure that any issues are sorted out before any documents and cash changes hands. Buying your first home is a big step in your life, and will be weighing on your finances for years, so make sure you do all the research you can to ensure everything goes smoothly.