There are grants for first-time homebuyers. There are also grants available for teachers. Look into the Homes for Texas Heroes program. Unfortunately, taking any of these programs will affect your interest rate and may cost you in the long term.
We were able to get a better deal through the VA. If that's a possibility for you, definitely check it out.
Here are my suggestions:
-Drive the neighborhoods you're looking at. Check the rush hour traffic for your commute.
-Take note of who the realtors are who sell a lot of homes in that area. You'll do better with a realtor who really knows that market than someone who focuses on a different area (or a much higher or lower price point than you want).
-REALLY shop around for lenders. Everyone's situation is different, without really seeing your numbers there's no way to know what works well for you. We shopped 3 different lenders, and the difference in the out-of-pocket costs and interest rates was crazy. If we had gone with the lender who I met at the district expo, it would have cost me a small fortune.
-Make sure you're taking into account all of the costs. I'll assume that you're renting for now. Be aware that your monthly mortgage payment will include not only your principal and interest (which is all most of the online calculators will show you) but also your homeowner's insurance and taxes. On top of that, maintenance is 100% on you. If your water heater goes out or your roof needs replacing, you're on the hook for it.
-Plan ahead for moving expenses. If you're moving to a bigger place, you'll want new furniture. If your current place provides appliances, maybe you need to buy a refrigerator, washer and dryer, etc.
-Home warranties are a scam. Don't do it.