I know in my area at the local high school there is a (night school for 1 day) house buying class. It explains a few things. However, it is mostly to get you acquainted with a local realtor, lender, and title search agency. There may be something similar near you if you ask.
For information beyond what you would find there click on the link below. There are many blogs that will explain a lot about the buying vs. renting decision. You will also find out about the buying process and problems you may encounter.
The lender makes a huge difference. Many banks take almost 45 days now. However, 30 days is typical. And some lenders can expedite the process and get everything done in 10-15 days. But that also means you need to do the inspection immediately, which I always recommend anyway. :) Again though.... the lender makes a huge difference and whether they have actually pre-approved you versus pre-qualifying you. And if they do underwriting ahead of time like one of the lenders I use, she is able to do it in under 15 days.... more