I just closed on my first home.
It is a 90-year-old Arts & Crafts foursquare home in the city, near the park, bike trails, and train. It's in beautiful condition. I will be able to continue living without a car.
The monthly payment is $16 higher than my budget -- which was well below my limits -- because of the interest rate spike. I locked in the middle of it, so I am paying more than expected but less than I could have. I budgeted so that I could pay the mortgage on unemployment if the worst happened, have a reasonable cash reserve, and be able to prepay a lot. The 3.5% down FHA mortgage makes me a little nervous, but that is what the prepayment is for!
I chose not to get a distressed sale because all of the ones in locations that worked without a car need a lot of work. I am not handy, and I think it is better to invest my time in my career and education now. I'll finish school in about a year. A fixer-upper was just not something I could handle.