It begins before you make the decision to buy. Keep your finances in check - always. And save, save, save! You will need $ for a down payment and your closing costs!
Create a budget. Know what you want to spend per month on a house payment. Just because you may be approved to a certain amount doesn’t mean that is what you have to spend.
Shop for a mortgage. There are many different loan types, each with their own advantages.
It might take a year before you’re financially ready to buy, that’s ok, it’s worth the prep work.