Well my advice would be to work with a trusted mortgage professional & real estate professional. Ask friends, family, colleagues for recommendations of professionals they have worked with recently and been happy with. Seek out several to begin the process of researching them, interviewing them and choosing one of each.
You'll need to have an idea of your credit situation and what can be done to improve your rating to make sure you get the most advantageous mortgage plan suited to your needs, with a year to do so you can clear up some issues if any are present. A mortgage professional will work with you to find the best mortgage that will work for your 3,5,10 year plans. You'll want to identify what areas are of interest to you and what your needs and wants are for a property.
Finding the right professionals will be important to making your purchase as stress free as possible. There will be some stress, it's inevitable but the right team of professionals working for you will limit as much as possible for you. Look for good communication skills, level of attentiveness, methods of communication they use and you use. Some buyers want alot of invovement, others less. Ask for their refrences, areas of specialty, experience in the type of property that interests you. Check their refrences, check them with the Better Business Bureau, local chamber of commerce, attorney generals office, office of professional licensure, division of banks, google, yelp etc. When you interview them ask them what other questions they might suggest to ask and how they could aid you in your purchase. Once you've interviewed several you'll be in the best position to make an educated and informed decision and start working with your team of professionals in your purchase. I'd be remiss not to say you should also look into an attorney to further cover your interests, the same process would apply.
Hope that helps & Good Luck