Find a good real estate agent - don't try to do it on your own. Let them know exactly what you're looking for and give them enough leeway because they may find something you love but weren't expecting. They have access to so much more than you and they'll put in the time that you just can't to do the preliminary legwork on everything.
I was renting in LA and wanted to buy in the Vegas area. Through networking I found an agent that I liked that specialized in the area I was most interested in. She would email me listings she thought I'd like, and I'd email her ones that I found (and if they seemed to be good, she'd go check them out and call me with details). Every week or 2 I'd fly into Vegas in the morning, she'd pick me up, we'd look at 10-15 houses and I'd be home by dinner. It took about 3 months until she found me the perfect house. And she took care of everything, got me a lender in the area, hooked me up with a handyman and a gardener, etc.