1. Location, location, location. A house needs to be near what's important to you and your lifestyle. How important is it to you that your home is close to your office? Is it more important to be close to a good medical center or a convenient grocery store?
Everyone has their priorities, and you have to consider your family's when thinking about location.
2. The house. Does the floor plan meet your needs? Does it have enough room for your family to grow if future growth is in your plans? Think of buying for the long term and consider whether the house meets your needs, not just now, but any future needs you can anticipate. And don't discount your gut feeling. If a particular house doesn't feel like home to you, then move on.
3. Affordability. Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage before you begin visiting homes is the best way to know what you can afford. People often fall into the trap of looking first, and falling in love with a home that's well out of their price range. Only look in whatever price range you can pre-qualify for.
4. Resale. As much as you like the idea of seeing you and your family growing old and gray in your new home, chances are you won't. Most people do not live in their house even for the full term of their mortgage. When home shopping, keep in mind that at some point you will probably want to put your home on the market, so don't compromise. If you decide a house has some aspect that you can overlook, you need to be aware that someone else may not feel the same way. When home shopping, choose a house that is not only appealing to you, but is also likely going to appeal to others down the road.
5. Don't Miss Out. Make an offer once you've found THE ONE. Don't loose a home that you really like just because you are guessing there could be a better deal down the road somewhere... believe me, more often there isn't... and more likely that you'll regret not making an offer on THE ONE... while comparing all others to it.