Get your pre-approval first.
Sort the MLS on price, home size, lot size, and location
Your pre-approval is only a starting point. Once you have an initial pre-approval letter you can and should shop around. With as fast as today’s market is moving, you must be prepared to make an offer within a day or two of seeing the house. To make an offer and be prepared to follow through you have to know that you can get the loan.
When sorting the MLS you need to use minimums and maximums. You can waste a lot of time and effort if you only use maximums. Finding the right homes to view is just as important as knowing what to look for when viewing. As I said before, this market is moving fast and you can’t afford to have time spent looking at homes that you won’t be interested in, just because you filtered your search results incorrectly.