The best start to finding your Dream Home is knowing what you can afford. You don't want to fall in love with a house only to find out that it is out of your price range.
This is why I always recommend that you get a Mortgage Pre-Approval from a Bank or reputable Morgage Specialist. This is a document from a Lender stating how much of a Mortgage they are willing to give you (under qualifying circumstances).
This will give you piece of mind, knowing that you can afford the houses that you are looking at. This will make you a more qualified Buyer to a Seller, giving you more of a competitive edge in a Hot Market.
Talk to your Mortgage Specialist for more details.