Don't settle for 2nd best! Let me use my 40 years in RE to be your advocate!
Choosing an agent in the buying or selling process is the most important decision you'll need to make. I recommend taking three things into consideration: 1) That you believe they are knowledgeable about the process; 2) That they are full time, so as to be available to you on a moments notice; and 3) That you like them and trust them and want to spend time with them.
After that, the starting point is making certain you have a lender who "loves you"...aka...get a pre-qual or pre-approval. No point in looking at houses until you know you are considered capable and qualified at a certain price point to buy and finance.
Define your wants and needs to your agent. Let them be your eyes and ears...communicate areas, style and size of house, monthly payment limits and define absolute non-negotiable items. Then give feedback after walk through's...share what you liked and didn't like.
Once you find the house, your agent will properly and carefully prepare your documents and estimate costs, both monthly and out of pocket. Know up front what the numbers are.
Upon acceptance, home inspection and bank appraisal come next; these are, hopefully mini hurdles to get through. Then mortgage approval and finally settlement, with me sitting by your side, every step of the way!