|You get preapproved, and then you find a home|
Homebuying doesn't begin with home searching. It begins with a mortgage prequalification -- unless you're lucky to have enough money to pay cash for your first house.
Often, first homebuyers are afraid to get prequalified. They fear the lender may tell them they don't qualify for a mortgage or they qualify for a loan smaller than expected. So they pick a price range out of the sky and say, 'Let's go look for a house'.
And that's not how it should be done. Yes, it's more fun to go look at houses than to sit in a lender's office where you have to expose your financial situation. But that's a backward approach.
You get preapproved, and then you find a home. That way you'll make a financial decision versus an emotional decision.