Me and the wifey-to-be will be looking at purchasing our first home in the next year or two, and I have some questions. 1) Our combined income will be around the $85k mark. From what I read, this means that, using the rule of thumb that you can comfortably afford a house that's 3x your income, we should be ok for a mortgage on a house costing upwards of $255k. Does this sound right for an upper ceiling with $85k in household income? 2) We probably won't be able to do 20% down + closing costs. We could certainly do 5% down + closing costs, or maybe 10% depending on the price of the house. We are looking at houses in the $200k-$220k range. Thinking about it, We could probably have about $20,000-$25,000 total to put towards the house, for both the house and the closing costs. How would this affect our ability to get a house in the ~210k range? Is a $210k house still realistic? FWIW I have an $18k student loan, which is $230 a month; that is our only debt. 3) What kind of rate can we expect? My credit scores average over 780, I'm turning 27 soon with four loans behind me (2 auto, 2 personal, all paid off early), a couple credit cards, and flawless payment history back to age 18. My wifey-to-be is Japanese, and will be immigrating to the US with me later this year, so she doesn't have any credit history in America. How much will this impact our rate? Or alternatively, since we will be married, could I just put the mortgage in my name initially, and still be able to use the combined income on the loan application since we are married and lock down the lowest rate, then just add her name to the mortgage after the fact? 4) I understand that paying 20% down gets you out of PMI, but I really doubt we will have 20% down, and thus will have to pay PMI. I understand that PMI is insurance for your lender in case you default when you owe more than the house is worth, or close to it; so on that thought, does PMI last the entire life of the loan, or only until you've reached a certain equity threshold when you are plenty comfortably ahead on mortgage loan vs. home value? 5) Are property taxes something you have to save up for all year and then pay as like a once-a-year bill, or are property taxes something that are just factored automatically into the loan that you don't have to worry about setting extra money aside for? 6) If a house costs $210k ("sticker price"), what other fees and expenses on top of that do I need to plan on? $210k + closing costs? What else? Basically if I see a house sticker for $210k, what is the real value that I need to plan on from which to pay closing costs and a down payment on? 7) The down payment is a percentage ONLY applied to the "sticker/sale price" of the home, correct? If the house is $200k, then regardless of the other fees involved to get it, 20% would be a de facto flat $40k, right? 8) I see a lot of people saying you need two year of work history to get a mortgage...but I don't see anyone saying it needs to be two years at your current job. Is this true? If I get a job in September, can I apply for a mortgage the following April? How does my fiance factor into this? 9) I'm sure I'll have more questions, thanks.