You've got ludicrously cheap housing compared to the UK.
Although I prepped like Batman for the whole experience, there was one nasty surprise: I got stuck on a jury for a complex civil case in August, the month when I wanted to narrow down my choices and make a serious offer on something. It made for a tough month, but I found a good house. Two stories plus finished basement, 3 bedrooms, plenty of storage space, a one-stall garage, a decent yard, and in a good location. So good, in fact, that I now live just 2 blocks from a grocery store and small shopping mall, and 3 blocks from the best comic book/game store in the whole metro area. The house was valued at $220,000 in 2007, but was selling for $150,000. I offered $139,000, and we settled on $145,000 plus they would pay $5,000 of the closing costs. There was a little bit of trouble because my agent noticed that there was a well that hadn't been sealed properly, but they took care of it without renegotiating the price. The closing went smoothly and then I spent a busy week buying and assembling some new Ikea furniture, and then moving into the house. On moving day, 8 friends showed up and we got it all done in just under 4 hours.
One disappointment about the whole experience was the cost. Yes, it's often true that rent is often higher than a house payment. That would be true in my case, except that property taxes, mortgage insurance, and interest push my monthly payment just over $1,000, even though I am locked in at 3.75% interest. Before I moved, I was paying $820 a month in rent, though admittedly that was for a half as much square footage. And since then, I have probably spent an average of $100 a month on tools and lawncare stuff. Still, I'm glad that I finally own a house.