Once you have an idea of what you can qualify for, then you should contact a real estate agent (...I'm available) and start looking at options together.
also, ..I'm confused, ..your avatar says just looking in 98225 ...which is bellingham if i'm not mistaken, ..but you're renting in ballard / working in seattle? are you looking to buy in bellingham and commute to seattle? ...yet you posted in 98117 area code which is seattle.
Meeting with a Mortgage Professional now means that you can work together to create the best stragegy for your home purchase once you're ready. Maybe you need to up your credit score a point or two (many a-paper lenders now have risk based pricing) or perhaps you should focus on stashing some savings instead of paying down a debt. A Mortgage Professional can help guide you through this process.
Most importantly....find a mortgage broker now and begin discussing what you can afford. Worst case is they can give you direction on what you have left to do to be able to afford that first place. Until you have talked to a mortgage broker you really can't focus your search as you should.
You may want to try shopping a little further out. Shoreline, Edmonds, Bothell. Another option are co-ops. There are a few restrictions, but they are generally considerably cheaper then condos. One other thought might be a duplex. rent out half and live in the other.
As far as the student loans are concerned, you may want to consider consolidating them. When I did it significantly reduced my monthly payments. Student loans are considered less harshly against your credit rating. Try saving up at least 3% of your estimated purchase price as well. That will significantly reduce both your private mortgage insurance and interest rate.
Best of luck.
Have you talked with a mortgage broker about finding out what you DO qualify for? -- They can give you an estimate without pulling your credit report-- as long as you know your score and know all your debts that would appear on the report. I would say start there--otherwise you will be spinning your wheels.
You can get into a condo in North Seatlte or Shoreline--but would you be okay with that? If you see your income doubling in the nest 1-2 yeas, I would wait and buy then. But, if you see yourself only making 5% increases every year in your salary AND you really want to own....then I would look outside of Ballard--one of the most expensive neighborhoods. There are still condos at $200K, or a little lower. just expand your search to other neighborhoods.