When you're ready to become a homeowner, experts agree that you should avoid buying more space than you can afford. But how can you tell if your dream house is actually within your budget?
If the mortgage payment will be the same or more than what you're currently paying in rent, it's probably too expensive, says Suze Orman, personal finance expert and bestselling author of "Women & Money."
"Buy a house that you know you're going to be easily able to afford," she tells CNBC Make It. "The big mistake that many people make is that they're paying $1,500 a month for rent and they go out and look for a home and they can get a home for a $1,500 a month mortgage."
That's because buying a home costs more than just your monthly mortgage payment. "You're going to have to pay property taxes, maintenance, insurance," Orman says. Plus, if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the total cost of the home, it's likely that you'll need to cover private mortgage insurance, or PMI, as well.