My husband and I would like buy our first home. We went to a first time home buyers seminar yesterday which was really helpful, but I had a few questions specific to our situation and particularly our timeline.We are currently renting and our lease will end mid-March, however we need to notify our landlord about renewal by the end of December. We could afford to pay a couple of months rent on top of everything else but obviously we would like to minimize the gap as much as possible. Also contributing is right now in our area unfortunately there are many more buyers than sellers. I’m nervous because as of right now, there are only maybe 3 or 4 homes at a time for sale in the areas of town that we would want to live in that are also in our budget, I’m not sure whether or not this is likely to improve later in the year.Taking these factors into account, when would you start seriously looking and potentially making offers on houses? At what point should I actually hire a realtor? Right now we are just looking at open houses ourselves to get a feel for what we like.I don’t want to lose money paying months of rent on top of the closing costs, etc., but I’m also concerned if we wait too long and don’t find anything we’ll just have to move to another rental, which would be miserable since as far as a rental goes this place is very lovely and we’d hate to lose it if it were impossible to buy.