Here is a high level overview of the buying process.
Select a real estate agent to represent you in the purchase of your home. It is always strongly advisable to have your own agent representation and not deal directly with listing agent.
Select a lender and get pre-qualified for a loan. Your real estate agent can make recommendations to reputable lenders. Your lender will help you determine how much you can afford and for which your are comfortable with in regards to payments.
Find a Home
Once you are qualified and ready to purchase, your real estate agent will help you find suitable homes that meet your needs and wants. Your agent will provide tools and MLS access so that you can get the latest listing from the same source as agents.
With the assistance of your agent, you will negotiate the price and terms of the offer and come to an agreement with the seller. You and your agent need to identify all terms that are important up front when making the offer.
Typically, you will have a short window of time (10 days in typical Arizona contract) to do all investigations on the home to make sure there are not any issues that would prevent you from moving forward.
Once you have a contract on a home, you need to work diligently with your lender to get the final loan approval and ultimately the financing needed to make the purchase. After finding a home, this is typically the longest process with many steps you and your lender have to complete.
Once loan has final approval which should be several days before closing, all loan documents will be signed. After signing, you will have three days to review all loan documents. Once lender has received the documents and you have had the opportunity to review, they will fund the loan and the escrow company will finalize the closing. At this point you will be the proud owner of your new home!