Once you have a good idea what your spending power is, its time to focus on what your wants and needs are in a home. Do you want a coop, condo, single family home? Detached, semi-detached, attached? New home, used home, fixer-upper?
The first thing you want to do is list your priorities. The list should include the type of home, number of rooms/room sizes, location, type of neighborhood, carpet or wood floors etc. Also list the things that you absolutely do not like such as, small closets, small bathrooms/kitchen, bad neighborhoods etc. I suggest you take a tour of some homes just to get an idea of what you like and don’t like. Also consider if you are planning to expand your family in the near future, would you like a home office?
After your list is done you need to choose the most important things that are not negotiable and then the “optional items” should be last.
Keep in mind that your first home allows you to “get in the game” so therefore, this may not be your dream house. Your dream house may be two or three houses in the future. Knowing what your top priorities are and being able to communicate that to your real estate agent is important to finding a place you will be happy with.