As most everyone is suggesting, the first step is to talk to a lender. By talking to a lender, you will find out how much you qualify to purchase. In addition, if there are any problems on your credit, this is a good time to work on them as it can take 90 days or more to have the changes reflected in your credit report.
Also, realize that escrow are usually 30-45 days and can be as long as 60 days or more. Figure it will take about 45 days to find a home once you get out and really start looking at them. It may be faster, but expect to take some time.
Now is a good time to be researching different areas, neighborhoods, schools, etc. unless you already know where you want to be.
With my clients, I like to sit down with them in these early stages to make sure that they have a clear focus for what they are trying to accomplish in the purchase of their home (ie. security,. tax deductions, steady housing costs, etc.).
If I may be of any assistance with additional information or helping you with a pre-approval, please let me know.