There are as suggested down payment assistance programs or areas of eligibility for USDA %100 financing. Note there are income restrictions as with many down payment assistance programs. You may also ask an agent that works in your area for a list of HUD or homes and urban developement owned homes. They offer $100 down financing in WA state, perhaps an avenue to explore in your area....... more
My answer may be a bit polarizing to those who see real estate as only an investment, but I would not put the 'investment' component on anywhere near the same plane as the 'starting a family' component. Of course everyone knows that for most folks, the home they purchase is their biggest investment. And, yes, you certainly want to look at re-sale values (schools, neighborhood, functionality, etc.).
However, when you think of your plan to "start a family soon", let this be your best guide...see yourself there 1, 3, 6 years down the road.....taking walks throughout the community...playdates down the street.....getting a few quiet moments away to walk to the coffee shop. Do some research into the schools and look at them from other standpoints that may be of interest to you: teacher student ratio, music/art programs?, teaching philosophy, etc.
I can almost guarantee that those observations you have made about the 'junker cars' and the 'run down homes' will become like grains of sand chaffing you as time goes on. In short: You've Got to Love Where You Live!!... more