The most important thing to remember is that you aren't wasting anyones time when it comes to buying a home. This may very well be the most important and largest investment you will make and I and the other real estate agents on this site and in San Francisco are there to help you, as are the loan officers and other real estate professionals. As long as you are serious about the intent of buying a place then any agent should be excited to work with you, even if it is answering the simplest of questions. It is never too early to start working with an agent. The longer you know them, the better the relationship and the more trust that will be created which will all be important when you are finally ready to buy. Even if you aren't looking for a $million property. There are still many potential properties out there for you. The average San Francisco property I believe is currently around $800k. There are 1 and 2 bedroom TICs, short sales and foreclosures which can be purchased for as little as around 400-500k.