As you begin your search for that perfect home, the best advise I can give you is to contact a professional lender immediately about getting qualified for a mortgage.
This is important for several reasons.
1)Just about all sellers these days will not consider an offer without a prequalification letter which says the buyer is able to obtain a loan for the property.
2) Secondly, until you fill out a loan application (which takes just a few minutes) with a lender, it is difficult to say how much of a mortgage you qualify for.
3) You may qualify for a government-backed program (VA, Rural Development, FHA) which offers opportunities to buy a home with little or more money down.
If you don't have a lender in mind, your Realtor will have several professional, low-pressure lenders who would be happy to provide this information to you.