Call a Realtor®? Talk to your lender? Both of these are important steps for first-time home buyers. But the truth is, they aren't the first step. The first step is to do your homework. Read. Research. Learn.
As a real estate agent, I'm always learning. Even after buying numerous homes myself, I still consider it my most important step in any home search. I want to learn about the property, the neighbourhood, the community, and all the things that will contribute to a better quality of life. But even before that, it's good to set realistic expectations about what you can afford, and to figure out how to save for a down payment. Another important step is to begin with your exit plan - how will you pay off your mortgage? Can you pay it off sooner? Sean Cooper did - and although prices had not reached the stratospheric levels we are seeing now in Toronto real estate, he didn't succeed just because properties were cheap or he had a good income. He succeeded because before he ever bought a property, he made a plan. I'm reading his book right now. (You can read more about that here). If you want to be frugal about reading the book and you live in Toronto, you can borrow it from Toronto Public Library. I can't tell you the amount I've saved on books and magazines by using this vital public resource.
Some of the reviews of this book suggested that Sean lived in penury, not having human relationships, eating poorly, and having a terrible life. But in fact, what he did was to make choices. Like all successful people, he played a lot of "this or that" or "would you rather". Both of those games are invaluable if you're serious about getting into the property market.
So by all means, look at the pretty pictures. Think about where you'd like to live. And definitely talk to a real estate agent (email me through this site, if you'd like, or give me a call). But take the time to work on your plan - or if you want help with that, let's chat.