Yes, house buying can be a fraught process. It also depends on where you live. If say, you lived in New South Wales, Australia, there are many resources you could look at. The NSW Government has a list of resources for buying a property. The A-Z of home purchase pdf on the Steps to buying a home section is great.
Basically it tells me:
* Find out how much you can borrow - there many online calculators that let you do this
* Calculate what you can afford to spend - also taking into account any deposit you may already have
* Ensure in your budget you allow for legal fees, lender and mortgage costs and things like moving and furniture if applicable. Phone and cabling costs might also need to be included
* Think about your lifestyle - it will help determine what type of property to buy
The section on Buying a house from the Department of Fair Trading (NSW) also has simple checklists. The buying process page is worth printing off.
I shall now retire to the vestry to ponder further these matters ...