Congrats on house hunting!
I have to say with this house, we knew as soon as we were standing in the breakfast room, looking out the back window at the land - rolling hills with a layer of snow on them! lol!
Should it be that hard? I dunno... ours was fairly simple. Our first house sold in one day and we got with our realtor and she printed everything in our price range that was three stories and had four bedrooms and three baths with both formal living room and family room on same level, and some land with it and was in the area we were looking. She only was able to print out about 12 houses because we had certain specifications we wanted.
We then narrowed it down to about 6 houses that we wanted to look at, with our hearts fully set on one (by the photo). We went to house #1 - it was too old and too much work, not worth it... but very adorable on the outside. House #2 was contemporary style and couldn't get by the strange layout. House #3, we couldn't get ahold of the owners to come look at it but the area didn't thrill us so we didn't pursue it. House #4 was the house we had our hearts set on, but when we walked in the door, it stunk of dog really bad, and had a funky basement set up, and the entire house was the master bedroom it seemed lol! We were so disappointed, that we started driving toward house #5 (which was taken off the list and put back on - we really weren't thrilled with the photo of it). When we drove up to it, I thought - heck, this didn't look like the photo at all... but when we stood in that breakfast room and saw the view, we loved it. I turned to DH and mouthed the words "this is the one"... and he shook his head yes. We looked at the rest of the house which was what we wanted but a little dated (which we have completely updated with tearing walls out, redoing things, etc., we are getting new siding and new swimming pool, etc. this spring along with a huge deck that will extend along the back of the house completely.... some of our last "major" improvements). Anyway, we talked with the owners, tried not to look excited, and then were heading over to house #6 and as soon as we got in #6s driveway, we told our realtor. Nope, we don't even want to walk in - #5 was the house for us. We went back, wrote up a contract, and they took our offer immediately.
That is how ours worked... I am sure it is different for everyone lol!
Do you have specifics you are looking for? That may help narrow things down so you won't be looking at too many houses...
Good luck... house hunting (and selling) is fun!