The first and most important step is to examine you financial situation. You can start with getting your credit score. This is easy, you can get one for free at annualcreditreport.com If you are married or plan on buying with someone else they should do it as well. Your next step is to go to your local bank or meet with a local mortgage broker. Be sure to bring along your current income records, as well as any debts you may have, such as student loans, car loans etc. This information will provide them, and you as well, with an estimate of what you would be qualified for in the way of a loan. Avoid going to any online mortgage web site, they are often misleading and designed to attract buyers without providing any direct access to a person to speak directly with. You will also be advised as to what projected cost will be part of the application. Now, before you rush to the internet to shop for houses, I strongly recommend you get a referral from someone you know and trust to put you in touch with a realtor with experience in the area you want to be in and one that has worked with first time home buyers. He or she needs to have experience as a buyers agent. That is, they will be working solely in your best interest and therefore be able provide guidance and direction when you are ready to make an offer. Following these steps will keep the entire home buying process less stressful and even quite enjoyable.