I recently wrote an article: How to Buy a House - 5 Must Know Tips where I describe some foundational issues that all home buyers face when getting started in their home search. Sometimes people feel the need to jump in and figure things out later when they get serious. This is almost always a disaster yet this is the default road home buyers tend to take.
A real estate agent usually gets involved once they call on a few ads. This is really the best thing that can happen to the home buyer because they then at least ahve a chance to get on the right track. As a real estate professional I can tell you that there is a right way and a wrong way to buy a house. After more than a decade of watching people be both successful and unsucessful I can say that getting educated is probably one of the largest keys to buying a home.
So nothing fancy here, we are talking about one of the most major purchases you are going to make in your life. Instead of jumping in and making mistakes, why not learn how to buy a house from a professional that does it for a living year after year. Remember, you have nothing to lose but your time, money and mind. :]