It is fun to go seeing homes, there are several things buyers should do before going shopping in earnest.
Pre-approval – You should talk to a lender and find out what price range you qualify for. I can recommend a few local lenders I have worked with if you need to. Make sure your lender is reputable. Shop around to make sure you get good rates, and ask them about their closing costs as each lender charge different cost. Ask them if they have special programs. Some offer assistance for first-time home buyers, others for people working in certain fields. Be honest with your lender, they can help you suggest steps to improve your credit if needs be.
Loan type – Once you have spoken with a lender, you will know what type of loan you qualify for. Is it FHA?conventional? VA? Let your realtor know as some loans has extra requirements and not every house will qualify.
Budget – This is not fun, but start thinking about your mortgage payment and what fits in your budget. Make sure you are no house-poor, and can still be able to enjoy those trips or other fun things in life.
Features – Start thinking about your must-haves, it will help your realtor find the perfect house for you. But remember, look past the things you can change: paint colors, interior space that can be changed or expanded. And focus on those you cannot change: location.