While I'm not a big proponent of renting, I'm also not a fan of "jumping into ownership" unprepared, and part of being prepared (especially these days) is having an adequate down payment. That downpayment does two things #1) helps reduce your month-to-month costs of your loan #2) lowers your exposure, should the market continue to decline, and allows you the ability to sell without having to wait for the market to recover.
We're moving back to a lending marketplace, like those our parents experienced, and that means "if you don't have the downpayment, you should wait until you do". (IMHO).
For about everything you may want to know, see the Home Buyer Info page of my Web site. The link to the "benefits of home ownership" will outline what you may miss out on if you wait.
For everything else you may need to know, meet with a mortgage loan officer and get yourself pre-qualified, and find a good REALTOR member of the MLS with whom to make a buyer representation agreement. None of this will cost you any more, and it could save you a lot of money and frustration.