The first step: figuring out whether you are ready to own a home. This does not only mean that you are financially capable of owning a home. It also includes emotional readiness, as buying a first home is a huge step for most people, as well as a huge commitment and responsibility.
One of the easiest and most valuable things you can do to prepare is obtaining a copy of your credit report and making sure that lenders will like what they see. The Web site, ConsumerInfo.com, offers this service for free, as do many other sites. If your credit report is less than stellar, it is probably a better idea to continue renting while you pay off debts and investigate questionable problems.