Find the Right Team - Having several experts (your agent, lender and title company) in your corner from the get go helps assure a smooth transaction.
Have Your Money Ready - Make sure you have money for a down payment plus some extra for closing costs in the bank. Also, know how much you can afford a month in housing and utilities before you start the process.
Focus On the Important Things - Cosmetic things aren't unimportant, but you need to focus on the important things such as: Is the house structurally sound? Is the price right for you to make small improvements and build your equity? Make sure you have someone to help you ask the right questions when you are looking at a house.
Think About the Future - If this is your first home, there is a good chance you will be moving some time in the future or something could happen that might require you to sell unexpectedly. You need to think of resale possibilities.
Think About the Hidden Costs - Will you need new furniture or accessories for your new home? What about setting up services like cable or internet? You need to factor those things in when you are thinking of purchasing a new home.
Consider Investment Properties - Maybe an investment property like a duplex is the way to go for your first home. Renting out a portion of it to make your monthly payments, might be a great start!
Be Ready to Act/React - Having a good team standing with you will help you to be able to react in a limited market as quickly as possible. You don't want to lose the best home for you and your family because you aren't ready to act.