Generally, Lenders want to see two years minimum work history to include that income in qualifying. There are a few exceptions, however, such a recent graduate in certain fields, and other specific cases.
First step in home buying is to determine your approximate buying power. This is a combination of your down payment available plus the amount of mortgage you can qualify for. Basically, the mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, cannot exceed a certain portion of your gross income. This percentage depends upon the type of loan, credit ratings, and other factors. The percentages vary from about 28% to as high as 45% and more of your gross income.
There are mortgage calculator tools right here on Trulia that can help you determine an estimated mortgage payment according to price. You can also get estimates from your favorite bank and/or mortgage brokers. Be sure to include taxes and insurance, as well as HOA dues if any.
Once you determine the price range you can afford, the next step is to check prices in your area of first choice to see if there are properties available in that price range for the type of home you want. If not, you might need to vary your specifications, perhaps a smaller home or condominium for example.
If nothing fits in your first choice of areas, then you may need to investigate other nearby areas. Once you pinpoint the areas that might have the appropriate home available for you, you can start scanning the market on the internet, but do not make any final judgments from what you see on the net. It is a good starting point, but you need to visit the homes and the neighborhoods in person to get the true sense of the possibilities.
Visiting open houses, and going to neighborhood restaurants and other businesses are good strategies. When you see candidates that you may want to pursue, check any factors of importance to you, which might be school ratings, crime rates, nearby entertainment, etc.
If you follow this plan, by the time you get top selecting a Buyers' real estate Agent to represent you, you will already be knowledgeable about the area. Picking your Agent is very important. Using the Seller's Agent to represent you is asking for problems. There is an inherent conflict of interest on the part of the Seller's Agent, and there is no reason for not having your own Agent. This is one of there rare instances where you can have professional representation at no cost to you. Commissions are customarily paid by the Sellers.
Follow through with patience and caution. This is likely to be the largest and most important purchase you will be making. Do not let any Salespersons unduly influence you. You do not want to be sold a home, you want to buy a home.