It is worth sitting down and working out a list of things to consider.
Think about your price range, would you prefer a house or an apartment? How many bedrooms and reception rooms do you need? Also consider things like central heating, double glazing, parking and the garden.
Think about what requirements are essential to you, things like shops, schools, transport and so on.
These things can make a difference when you start to look around.
There is not much point in beginning to look for a property until you know for sure that you can afford it.
Whether you are a cash buyer or need to arrange finance, do your homework before commencing.
It would be dreadful to find your dream home only to find that you cannot afford it.
Whether you are buying your first property as a home or as an investment, the right location can be as important as the right mortgage.
It is said that location is everything, but often it is hard to know exactly where the right location is.
You will have an idea of which area you want to buy into and you should take other factors into account such as the distances to and from local amenities, and perhaps more importantly what the local schools are like (and if they have room).
It is surprising how many people overlook doing a proper check of the local area before buying a property there.
What may seem like a quiet area during the week could turn into something completely different at the weekend.
It is also worth investigating how often public transport runs from your desired location, and also whether or not it will disturb you.
For instance, when you go to view a house you may not notice that the bus stops just outside, or that the local airport is nearby, however, this is research which is easy to do.
It is also worth looking at the nightlife in the area, if you are looking for a quiet property then you need to make sure that the street you are on doesn't become a noisy thoroughfare when the local pubs close.
In the past you could only buy property from an estate agent or purchase from a private sale and from time to time solicitors handled property sales in matters of probate.
These days the internet has made it easier to look for property, giving potential buyers a much wider scope for searching all from the comfort of their own home.
After visiting potential properties over a few days, you will probably have chosen one or two that you may like to buy.
Ask to see them again so that you can see things with a fresh outlook and perhaps notice things that were overlooked last time.
Now that you have found your first home, make an offer and if the vendor accepts, ask the estate agent to take the property off the market, some will do this only if you are actually in the position to buy it i.
have a mortgage offer you can show them, this making it even more important to work out your finances and get that mortgage arranged before you start looking, losing that first home because you couldn't move quickly enough would be a heart breaking experience and best avoided.
Luckily, when buying a brand new home from a builder, you will more than likely find that they will accept a small deposit to reserve the house (or plot if it's not been build yet) and that can take away a lot of pressure and is the reason I'm sure that many first time buyers buy 'starter homes' on housing developments rather than from private sellers, after all buying a home that way is just so much easier and there is far less to go wrong with 'chains' and people changing their minds.