Unless you know real estate law and/or are a Realtor, it would be in your best interests to hire either a Realtor or a Real Estate Attorney. There is alot of paperwork and laws involved and you don't want to make any mistakes in such a large and important matter.
The thing is if you need to ask the question most likely you will need some help getting it done so I recommend getting a professional. When you hire a professional they will want to be compensated so you have to consider that if you hire a real estate agent will the seller be willing to pay the commission if not you will need to be willing. If you hire an attorney you will definately have to pay them.
Now some of the previous answers made a lot of sense because you will need to know if the house is worth the asking price and have some other things verified before deciding to buy. In fact you may be missing out on better deals so before you commit you may want to also shop around.
The Chris Hutchinson Team
The Michael Group
1. What is the market value of the property -- your realtor can help you
2. Is the seller the true owner of the property --- a title/escrow officer can help you
3. What are the liens against the property --- again, title/escrow officer can help you
4. Besides price -- what are the terms and conditions of the sale? --- a realtor can offer guidance
5. Disclosures including local ordinance requirements, what the seller needs to disclose regarding the property's condition, etc. --- your realtor can give you a list of what you will need
6. Inspections -- what type of inspections are recommended? Whom should you call. Again, your realtor can help you with these.
7. Loan --- shop around. You realtor can also make recommendations on lenders who are responsive, resourceful, reliable.
8. Your financial situation -- the lender can determine how much you can afford to buy, what type of loan you qualify for, and give you an estimate of how much cash you will need for down payment and closing costs
Whatever you do....don't do it alone. Have professional guidance representing your interests as a buyer. If you've never bought a house before, all the more reason why you need professional assistance in this process.