I'm going to be a little bit of a contrarian.

If I were you, I'd work on paying off the student loans ASAP. If you're married or otherwise partnered and your significant other has a job, then maybe you might be able to afford a house. Maybe.

But be very careful. Remember that $80,000 will be your gross income -- you'll lose about thirty percent (give or take, depending on your tax bracket and your locality) to taxes and the like. Let's assume thirty percent. That would make your net income $56,000 yearly -- $4,667 monthly. Not too bad.

But the repayments on your student loans will be at least $1100 per month (a good rule of thumb is $100 per month for each $10,000 you borrow), probably a bit higher because of interest rates. The payments on a 30 year fixed rate $250,000 mortgage, assuming that you put 20 percent down which you probably won't, would be about $1400 per month.

So, you'd be looking at debt payments of at least $2500 per month, minimum, probably higher because you don't seem to have the cash to make a 20 percent downpayment.

That's more than half of your monthly salary right there. I'd advise you to add up your other projected expenses -- food, clothing, transportation, insurance, healthcare, childcare (if applicable), pets (if applicable), entertainment, etc. Figure out how much you spend in each category, and then add that figure to the debt payments figure.

If the final number you reach is very close to what your takehome pay will be, be very, very careful about buying a house. Lately too many people have made stupid financial decisions because they believed the realtors' propaganda that everyone must own a home to be happy. Being a homeowner is nice, but it isn't for everyone. I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't buy a house, just be careful and do all the math ahead of time. (And don't trust mortgage brokers' math -- they are biased b/c they want you to take out a mortgage...)

Also, as a sidenote, the lending standards for most mortgages have been significantly tightened. You might not be able to get one if you're single and carry that much debt already.

If you are married or otherwise partnered, and you have a second income in the household, much of this advice above could change.

If I were you, I'd work on paying off the student loans ASAP. If you're married or otherwise partnered and your significant other has a job, then maybe you might be able to afford a house. Maybe.

But be very careful. Remember that $80,000 will be your gross income -- you'll lose about thirty percent (give or take, depending on your tax bracket and your locality) to taxes and the like. Let's assume thirty percent. That would make your net income $56,000 yearly -- $4,667 monthly. Not too bad.

But the repayments on your student loans will be at least $1100 per month (a good rule of thumb is $100 per month for each $10,000 you borrow), probably a bit higher because of interest rates. The payments on a 30 year fixed rate $250,000 mortgage, assuming that you put 20 percent down which you probably won't, would be about $1400 per month.

So, you'd be looking at debt payments of at least $2500 per month, minimum, probably higher because you don't seem to have the cash to make a 20 percent downpayment.

That's more than half of your monthly salary right there. I'd advise you to add up your other projected expenses -- food, clothing, transportation, insurance, healthcare, childcare (if applicable), pets (if applicable), entertainment, etc. Figure out how much you spend in each category, and then add that figure to the debt payments figure.

If the final number you reach is very close to what your takehome pay will be, be very, very careful about buying a house. Lately too many people have made stupid financial decisions because they believed the realtors' propaganda that everyone must own a home to be happy. Being a homeowner is nice, but it isn't for everyone. I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't buy a house, just be careful and do all the math ahead of time. (And don't trust mortgage brokers' math -- they are biased b/c they want you to take out a mortgage...)

Also, as a sidenote, the lending standards for most mortgages have been significantly tightened. You might not be able to get one if you're single and carry that much debt already.

If you are married or otherwise partnered, and you have a second income in the household, much of this advice above could change.