Plunging into home ownership

We've decided that since we have to either buy or move again, we might as well look into buying a house. $182 000 can get a reasonably decent house around here and if we have to spend that much we might as well make it a house instead of a condo. Plus with a dog on the way a house will probably give us more space to deal with it.

A trip to the bookstore got us armed with a couple of house buying books which we've been reading to learn about the process. Quite frankly, it all seems quite overwhelming especially with the time frame we're looking at (moving by July/August), but I'm sure that's a sentiment many new home buyers experience.

We've already started with combing through various local real-estate sites and checking out MLS listings for areas we want to live in to get an idea of what's out there and what kind of prices we'll encounter.

I guess the next thing will be to find a good real estate agent. We'll have to tap some of our friends that bought homes recently to get recommendations. And then navigating the home mortgage maze...