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It's important to consider how much of a mortgage you can afford. A online mortgage calculator may help you figure this out. Lenders will look carefully at your income over the past two years, and your expenses. Be sure you are comfortable with the monthly payment. Just because a lender will loan you a certain amount doesn't mean you'll be able to pay it back on time. Consider the condition of the property as well. If you're buying an antique Colonial, or even a 1970's contemporary, there may be more out of pocket expense than with new construction. And when you're the homeowner, you can't just pick up the phone and call the landlord when the water heater breaks - you head to Home Depot with your checkbook.