We have been doing FHA loans in Sacramento for 19 years. Unless the lender you are working with is not really FHA approved and making illegal refferals, these loans are not that difficult to do. Here is a link to a page at FHA.gov it has a lot of excellent reference info on FHA financing and at at the bottom has a link ot a lender search engine.
Once you find out your 'buying power', the next step is to find the right buyer's agent to help you. I think if you even just consider those of us who respond here, you've got some good choices. What I caution you on is buying from the agent who lists the house. Make sure you have someone that is representing only YOUR best interests and not representing both the buyer and seller. While agents can represent both, I have a personal policy not to represent both sides in a transaction since someone will consider me biased toward the other party. Second, get enrolled on a client portal to learn the value of homes in the area that you are looking at. You can then refine your search according to your lifestyle and needs.
While I'd love to work with you, and you can sign up directly on my website for a client portal, whomever you choose will help you get educated on your market and find the best home for you. Good luck!
There are also several great FHA (and non-FHA) add-on programs that can help bring your out-of-pocket expenses way down and reduce your 3% down payment. Consider programs like Nehemiah and HEART, plus other sources of funds like CalHFA and SHRA. Erin recommended her lender, I also recommend Jodie Kerhlikar, she can be reached at (916) 444-8750 or http://www.sacramento-mortgage-company.com
I know of a great loan officer who is very well versed in FHA...she is helping several of my current clients with FHA programs right now. Contact Marlena Olson with the Vitek Mortgage Group at 916-486-6900. She can help you navigate through those programs and she knows them backward and forward. I highly recommend her. She will help you determine how much house you can afford, what your monthly payment will be, and how much you will have to come out of pocket on your purchase. Good luck to you!
A little more info: I have approx. $10,000 saved with access to more in my 401k, I'm within the earning guidelines for moderate incom, and I have absolutely no debt. I don't know my latest fico scores since paying off everything (credit cards and auto loan), but I'm guessing mid to high 600 range. Any help is appreciated!