I found this article which explains how to know when you're ready to buy real estate.
Long story short: You are ready to buy when…
1. You have a budget -- and you know how to use it.
2. You have a sizeable down payment.
3. You have a reliable source of income.
4. You have an emergency savings fund.
5. You have your debts under control.
6. Your credit report is in good shape.
7. You can make a long-term commitment.
8. You are prepared to become your own landlord.