Get your house in order before you start shopping. Here's what you need to do, and when.
Buying a home is a complicated process, and it can be particularly daunting for the first-timer.
The following timeline starts one year before you hope to start seriously shopping for a home. This is an ideal; you can arrange your finances and buy a home in less time, if necessary, but you'd be smart to walk through all of the steps in order. The more time you give yourself for this process, the better.
A year out (or as soon as possible)
Get your credit reports. Errors on your reports can force you to pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage or even torpedo your chances...