Step 2: Get Prequalified There are a few steps in buying a home that are critically important, and one of those is that your first stop — before getting into a car to look at property — is the lending office. You can even talk to the loan officer on the phone, although it’s nice to do it in person and talk a little story — get to know each other. Once you’ve found a lender you like and trust, the next step is to talk numbers. The loan officer will ask you a series of questions about your income and your expenses to determine how much house you can afford. If you start looking at homes that cost $850,000 when what you really can afford is a townhome for $350,000, you’re just wasting your time. Do it right, get pre-qualified first. The goal is to find out how much you are qualified to borrow. Skipping this step is setting your self up for disappointment. Remember, at this point you only want to get an idea of your borrowing power and you are not making any commitments to borrow from any particular lender. Shopping for the very best loan terms will happen later on in the process.