3% Homepath (just for Fannie Mae foreclosures)
Bottom line you need to get pre qualified so that the lender can help you figure out what works best for your needs. Since you are from MN, if you are looking to buy a 2nd home you will need to put 20% down unless you luck into Homepath which is only 10% down. Feel free to call with questions or check out my blog on trulia. We do all the above loans and have an office in Santa Rosa
The bigger the down and better off you'll be! We've heard talk of some of the major banks moving towards the "homeowner" vs. the "Investor" purchaser. Even talk of using the rehab FHA loan product the 203b. However this could be a learned process on the part of Asset Managers.
You should be able to find a loan from 3.5% down on up to 20%. There are some great loan packages available now.
All my best,
Just to add to the other comments, we are seeing many multiple offer situations here in Sonoma County currently and typically the more money you have as a down payment the stronger your offer will be. The FHA 3.5% down program is excellent and I've had much luck with my buyers who've used that particular loan. Everything Michael and James said is absolutely correct and good information and advice.
The most important factor in your success I believe will be working with an agent that really knows the current market and is willing to go the extra mile for you. You'll need to work with someone that knows how to navigate the multiple offer situations, can explain the pros and cons of short sales and foreclosures, listens to your needs, and is willing to be really on top of how fast the market is moving and react accordingly. I'm a very active local agent and would be happy to talk to you about what I do differently than most agents that has really helped my buyers in this market. Best of luck to you with your move and I hope you love living in Sonoma County as much as the rest of us do!
You should also consult with a local Realtor about down payments. Every market is different and just because FHA has 3.5% down loan, does not mean that is something home sellers are accepting. In the North San Diego area we are seeing 20-30 offers on homes in the first 5 days on the market. You will want to know what the marker activity is like in Santa Rosa so that you can structure your offer to get accept by the buyer.
As for the loan info everything Michael said is right on!