After working with several first time and experienced home buyers over the years, i found out that the most common mistake buyers make is not bugeting their purchase. Many home buyer's start home search by driving around in the neighbourhoods looking for sale signs, open houses and browsing through websites mostly looking for what they want but not what they can afford. Looking into properties that they can not afford actually set their standards for the house so high that they start looking for an agent who can do the miracle of fitting their dream home in a small budget. After all its human nature that we want the most for our buck. Our prioritirs have to be realistic. So before we start looking for anything first step is to set up our budget and get the necessary fianancing for the purchase. Once we have the budget on hand we have to seprate our wants from needs and make a list of priorities so buyer and buyer's agent both are aware of the the maximum price, search area and other priorities like minimum number of Bed rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, style of the house, big or small backyard etc. This first step first makes your home search smoother and shorter otherwise i have seen it turning into a nightmare.
Home search starts at home.
I totally agree financial side of the purchase should be taken care of first,