Month 1- Review your credit report and start to build and improve your credit. Here's a link that may help from CNN Money:
Month 2- Determine what you can afford by assessing your debts, income and savings. See if you would pre-qualify for a mortgage by using an online mortgage calculator (there are tons out there). Once you have done this you can decide on what type of a mortgage fits your needs.
Month 3- Decide what kind of home you need. Answering these questions will help you make a decision:
What is important to you? What amenities does your home need to have? Does your home need to be in an area with great schools? Do you need to live near transportation hubs? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
Month 4- Research housing inventory.Check out neighborhoods where you would like to live, find
out what properties are available that fit your wants and needs, review the market's "price supports" — jobs, schools, shopping. Talk to current homeowners and cruise around some neighborhoods.
Month 5- My favorite part- find a real estate agent! It's important to find a motivated agent you can trust. Engage your agents with questions, ask them about current market conditions, let them know when and what you want to buy.
Month 6- Research other professionals that will be involved in the process (attorneys, inspectors, mortgage brokers, and insurance companies).
Month 7- Get your paperwork ready. You will need a lot of documentation when going through the process of obtaining a mortgage so better to have it sooner than later. Some things you will need: tax forms, pay stubs, gift letters (if you are receiving money from a 3rd party), and bank statements.
Month 8- Find a mortgage lender and get a pre-approval.
Month 9- Find a place and get a signed contract. Reaching a sale contract may involve offers and counteroffers until you and the seller reach an agreement on the sale price and contingencies. Inspections and mortgage paperwork will follow.
Month 10- Work out the logistics of moving. If you're a renter, now's the time to give your landlord the proper notice that you're moving out. You should contact your utility service providers to determine if you'll need to transfer or terminate your service. For the move, you may want to hire a professional. You should also research storage costs if you can't move all of your items at once.
Month 11- Moving day prep- It’s time to get packing. However, at this stage, packing won't be your only concern: You'll be given your closing date when you'll sign the final paperwork. You should the final walk through before you sign the papers. Be sure you have arranged for the utilities to be ready.
Month 12- Have a contingency plan. Last but not least, don't leave yourself without options. What if things don't go according to plan? What if, for some reason, you can't move in as planned — do you have money set aside or living arrangements and storage for all your things? If you follow this timeline and make sure you're organized, you can avoid any pitfalls that could wind up costing your money or even your home.