You've already talen the first step by setting a timeframe when you will be buying. Make sure that you keep your credit in good shape. DON'T obtain new credit, DON'T buy a car, or any other big purchase. Also, don't close credit accounts that you have had forf a long time. Long established credit accounts are a big factor in determining your overall credit score. Save as much money as you can for your down payment and closing costs.
When you are ready to start looking at properties, contact a REALTOR who lives and sells in the area you want to buy.
Hope this helps -
Best of luck,