After you have an idea of what type of payment you qualify for, review your own comfort level and decide what you want to spend on a house - then set your price limit (just because you can buy a $250,000 house, doesnt mean you have to). also sit down and write out what is important to you in a home- size, amenities, etc (what is important to you and what is important to you fiance may not be the same).
Next step is to chose a buyer's agent. find an agent that is familiar with the area you are considering, full time, qualified, experienced and one that you like (you may be spending a lot of time with this person). Talk to friends, co-workers, look at trulia and other resources to select 2-3 agents that look like a good fit. Call them and ask them to arrange showings for you to see one or two houses of interest. This will give you a chance to meet and determine if you would be a good fit to work together. Once you select one agent to be your buyer's agent, your agent can set up searches for you. Over the next few months you can look on line at houses of interest. then in a month or two you can seriously start looking at places in person to find the right home. Once you find a place and are under contract to close a 'normal' transaction typically takes 30-45 days, short sales MUCH longer. So if you are patient and want to consider short sales, you can start the process right away.
There are a few different places you can start depending on your own personality type. Personally, I'm a total type A so I began by reading as much as I could on the subject then checking out sites to read about local Realtors and Loan Officers before choosing someone to work with.
I've been doing a series on this very subject on my blog. Check it out @ http://www.LiveEatTech.com
I'd be happy to help.
Twitter - @Rachell4Realty
I would be happy answer any questions that you have and you can reach me on my cell at 708-912-0937
REMAX Ultimate Professionals
Depending on the type of purchase you are open to, you may want to begin at least viewing home listings now. Generally-speaking, a regular home purchase takes approximately 30 to 45 days from contract to closing table; a foreclosure takes about 45 to 60 days; and purchasing a short sale property can take 3 to 6 months... sometimes even longer!
I would be happy to help you get started and to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to call me any time (815-582-7656).
Century 21 Pro-Team
My recommendation is to begin with the financial piece. Start collecting information on financing process.Once this important faction is taken care of you will have a clear understanding of your budget and options. The next step......identify a real estate professional. They will be the one you will rely on to take you from start to finish so it is important ot find an agent you can trust. If you would like to chat further please do not hesitate to call.
Your first step in to obtain a mortgage pre-approval. You'll have a good idea of what kind of loan you can get, and be able to decide how much you can afford per month based on that.
You can really start the next step, of browsing properties, anytime after that. However, you'll probably want to wait until about 3 months prior to when you want to close to start actively going out and touring homes. Reason being, the inventory on the market now, probably won't be the same inventory 6 months from now. If you have some towns/areas in mind for where you want to buy, I'd be happy to send you a list of available properties you can look through. Just visit my website http://www.SelectiveBuyer.com, and enter your property requirements in the Buyers - Send me properties link. I'll send over everything I can find complete with photos and extensive details of each home. Hope that helps! If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to let me know!