When searching for your first home, most buyers look to HGTV for their advice. This leads them to believe that they need granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and perfect hardwood floors throughout, and all for a bargain. Those upgrades are nice, but having a positive cash flow is nicer.
This is where I will point out my first home purchase. It is a two-family home in a great part of Albany with a solid student rental history. By living on the first floor and renting out the second floor, I am able to not just break even every month with the mortgage/taxes/insurance, but actually make a profit! Buying a home with rental income allows me to live for free and put the extra away for repairs and such.
Think about how much you spend on rent or a mortgage every month. I would argue that most people average around $600-$1200. Imagine what your finances would be like if you were able to save that every month! Talk about living within your means. It doesn't matter how much you bring home every year. If you took away your largest expense, which for most is your cost of housing, then you are well on your way to establishing a savings and long term wealth.
My advice? Purchase income property and create multiple streams of income before spending hundreds of thousands on your dream home. I promise that you will enjoy that home way more if you have rental income to support the cost of the mortgage. That is, unless you pay straight cash!
Good luck out there and have a great weekend!