Great question and the standard answer is...it depends. The right person to answer that question would be a mortgage professional, especially for someone, like yourself who has never owned property before or been educated on the mortgage process. Your mortgage professional will be able to answer your questions more specifically with any detailed information you are willing to provide. The more they know, the more they can provide you with solid answers to your questions. There should be little, or no cost, to you until your get further into the process. Should you want to speak with someone directly, you can reach me at (919) 279-0426. Your best bet would be to contact my preferred lender, Nick Nickerson of Integrity Mortgage at (919) 656-7774 or email@example.com. He would be happy to assist you.
It depends a lot on what type of loan you qualify for. You could need 20% down or as little as no money down. Thre are a lot of first time home buyer programs and you may qualify for the 8K tax credit. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org you can email me directly. I can have a lender go over the details with you and have an agent review the market.