Calling a Realtor that you feel confident in is your frist step!
Michigan statute allows you as the buyer to have FREE services of a "Buyers' Agent" who looks out for your best interest! (The seller pays the commission in most cases).
This relationship is an important one. You should make a commitment to that agent and share your wants/needs/likes/dislikes and fiancial situation freely. That way they can best look out for YOU.
Your agent should tour you around your preferred area and share important information regarding taxes, schools, restricitions (can you have fences?), neighborhood trends and ALL companies listings (not just their own) and "for sale by owners".
Check out Liz@trustLiz.com and TrustTeam.net for more helpful info.