There is SO much great information on here. I wanted to add one piece extra.
DO NOT buy a home thinking it will be an investment. Homes are the worst investments money-wise. Do not buy something that you think is a little better 'if you want to sell it later' or some shit like that. You are exchanging your money for something you want. No one buys a desk thinking "Well if I sell this desk later, people will desire it's darker stain.." They buy the desk that fits their needs. That is what you need to do with homes..
Find a perfect location for you, and find everything YOU like. Don't settle for less. It is out there somewhere.
As for myself, I found that I'd be happier with a manufactured home if it meant I got to own the land I put it on, so that is what I'm doing.
If you DO get a home in a neighborhood, ask the neighbors in the area and do research on the HOA rules of that place. We had a LOT of hidden rules get thrown at us as soon as we moved in, and we ended up paying a lot for it. We got boned with that.. We argued on many of things and settled, but we still got stuck spending money immediately to change the look of the house to fit the rules. HOAs can be useful--but many of them can be shady and awful too, like ours, so just ask long-standing neighbors and do homework on them.