Re: pre-qualification, this is how we assess financial feasibility of this whole endeavor.
Call or email a mortgage broker (I can put you in touch with one if you don't want to find one on your own). Tell them you are interested in purchasing a townhouse or condo sometime in the next several years, but you don't have anything particular in mind yet. Ask them what size of loan you pre-qualify for, so that you can determine what purchase prices it makes sense for you to consider. They will not charge you money to get pre-qualification info from them, because they are hoping that you will use that info to find a house you want to buy and come back to them for help with (that they will then charge you for). In order to pre-qualify you, they will want to know (at the very least) your monthly income and any recurring monthly debt. They might also want to know about your credit score, or other relevant financial info, but they should be able to work with just your monthly income and debt. If you give them that information, they will let you know what you pre-qualify for - ie, how much money the bank is willing to even consider giving you to buy a house with. Once we have those numbers back from all the people who potentially want to purchase a house, we can use that to inform a budget and decide whether this thing can get off the ground.