I would consider beginning to look and familiarize yourself with the area pretty soon, that way you have a better idea of what you truly want/need. Starting now would give you the opportunity to build in a new community should you decide to go that route, which definitely has its benefits. It also wouldn't hurt to go ahead and speak to a loan officer about a mortgage to make sure everything is in order. Should you need to fix anything on your credit, you still have time.
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions, I am a real estate agent who has lived in this area my entire life, so I am familiar with both established and new communities as well as school districts, etc.