Check your credit 1st. Sounds simple enough, right? Not necessarily, as up to 70% of all credit reports may have errors. What seems unimportant to you, may be much more to a Lender. This is your opportunity to correct those errors, and improve your credit score. Your score determines the interest rate you pay on a home loan.
Next, get Pre-approved. This step has more than one benefit. First you are saving valuable time by supplying W2's, pay stubs, and the other information your lender requires. Sure, they will ask for the same thing 2 or 3 time laters, but you will have it. The other big thing it does, you know how much you can afford to buy. No time wasted looking at homes you may not be able to afford. Last thing, Sellers know you are serious and prepared to buy, if they accept your offer.
Finally, do you get a Fixed Rate or Adjustable Rate Mortgage? If you plan to live in the home more than a few years, possibly a Fixed Rate. It offers peace of mind for you long term goals and budget. If you plan on moving up, or moving out of the area, an Adjustable Rate loan may save you some money.
With interest rates still low, and home prices expected to rise over the next 2 years, this is a great time to buy. The current VA Loan limit in Orange County Ca, for a standard loan is $625,000. For Jumbo loans, etc I suggest you contact a Lender. If you don't know anyone, I will be happy to send you some highly qualified lender's contact information.