Factor in your notification timeframe on your lease, likely 60 days to give notice. You can certainly close in 45-60 days without issue. So I would suggest that you begin the process of around the May timeframe - selecting an agent to work with, having a discussion with a lender, becoming familiar with communities etc.
Very exciting - and do be sure to work with an agent that has specific experience with and commitment to first time buyers. Look for patience, compassion and knowledge - and a willingness to share it, all of those attributes will come in handy. I do a lot of business with first time buyers and stay involved every step of the way, proactively describing the process and reminding the buyer where we are on the journey.
There is a long way between the search and the close - the resources you use make a big difference. Find good ones and the process will be more enjoyable and undoubtedly more successful. And yes, Trulia is a great place to begin that search....
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