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First you should get yourself pre approved for a mortgage. This will let you know how much house you can afford. Don't waste yours and the realtor's time by finding the house you fell in love with just to find out that you don't qualify for that house.Second, you should find a good realtor. Make sure your realtor is a good listener. Let your realtor know exactly what you need in a house, the neighborhood you want to live in and your price range. If your realtor is like a car salesman that will show you what they want to sell instead of what you can afford, find another realtor.Third, Once you found the house of your choice and put an offer on it, you need to have the house inspected. Choose your inspector wisely. Don't go with the cheap priced ones. Never buy a house without a good inspection. You could be buying a money pit. The price of an inspection is minimum compared to the financial burden of major repairs. A good inspector will inform you of the major problems before you purchase. Armed with this knowledge, you can ask the seller to correct the major issues. If they won't make repairs you can either go ahead with the purchase and fix the problems yourself or back out of the contract. Be sure your real estate contract has a clause that states, this purchase is contingent on a home inspection.
Happy house hunting.
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For Sale: $119,900
For Sale: $750,000
For Sale: $269,000