Always look at what you can afford. You can see a dream home and be smitten. The tendency to over spend will be great. Do not send yourself to the poor house by buying more home than you can afford.
Homes are now selling. That means in good neighborhoods, you probably will get into some sort of home buying bidding war. That means you must make your best offer, and make it standout from the rest. But always look back at the first tip. Don't buy more home than you can afford.
Getting preapproved in today's home market is first and foremost. Don't even think about going to look for homes if you are not prequalified. There will be many people looking at the same house. You want to be able to offer a concrete deal to the home seller. That means your credit must be good. If it's not, improve it and put off the home buying for now until your credit is high. Because teachers have steady jobs, your income will work for you. Steady income is one of the first things mortgage lenders look at.
But you must remember as stated above, you will be in a bidding war most likely. Prepare to put as much down as you can. The bigger the downpayment, the better it will be for your preapproval and home buying power. If you do not have the cash on hand, you will need to wait and build up a savings. If anyone gifts you money for a down payment, it must be documented and verified. Banks do not like to see unaccounted for deposits or money transfers.
Politeness counts in a close home market. That is, be very nice to the home seller. You might end up looking better than the other bidders, even though they might outbid you. One example is on the move in date. If you can negotiate this better than other bidders by accommodating the seller's date, you may win with a slightly lower bid.
Above all, you need to find the best and most experienced real estate agent that you can find. They will expertly lead you through the process.
For more tips, see: Home loans for teachers.