Lenders have told me that FHA has relaxed its property condition demands considerably in the past year. So, if a house is in habitable condition, it should be fine. Now, your local lender may have other requirements, so check on that.
Another criteria for an FHA loan is that the current property owner must have owned the property for at least 90 days. The only exception I am aware of is if it is a relocation company.
This was done to help prevent a flip for a significantly higher price without doing significant repairs/remodel. So, if you are buying a foreclosure, ask your agent to make sure the REO seller has owned the property for at least 90 days.
Given the abundance of available houses for sale, you probably want to get started in earnest about 90 days before you want to move. But, you can start building relationships with a lender and a real estate agent now.
Also, since you are first time home-buyers and lenders are pretty skittish now, you might want to make sure your credit, income and other lender criteria are in good shape. If there is anything you need to clear up, you would have time to take care of it before you are in the rush mode. And, you can get an idea of how much cash/liquid assets you will need to have to purchase your first home, so you have time to set back the money you will need.
Good luck and happy hunting!