Cons: Purchasing a residential house is not an investment. It requires a loan, tax, insurance, & maintenance (less than 20% down, you will pay additional for PMI). It ties you down in one spot making location changes more difficult. The general rule is you need 5 years of payments to break even in most markets. Keep in mind Real Estate agents are going to take around 6% to sell your property.
Pros: Higher quality of living. Over the long term builds in equity that can appreciate.
Looking back, I wish I had focused more on my financial foundation first. I should have done better in building an emergency fund separate from the down payment as the Air Condition went out about a year after we purchased our property. So $9,000 later...
Make sure you are saving for retirement, have an emergency fund separate from the down payment fund, good health insurance, long term disability, and life insurance if you have a family, etc. Basically, get a decent foundation first and then go for it. This foundation is what will make all the difference. Not buying a house in 1 year or 5 years from now. It sounds like you are already building towards this. Great job only coming out with $20,000 for a master!