Good Answer = Lee Taylor, hire the pros.
My secondary input below:
Typically you do not want to start looking until you are 90 to 60 days out. The inventory on the market today will be gone, if priced right, in 90 to 60 days.
To answer your question on down payments, and verify this with your lender, is 1) VA = 0% down payment, 2) FHA = 3.5% down payment and 3) Conventional = 10% down payment.
Keep in mind too, that as a buyer you will have 5k to 10k in escrows, pre-paids and closing costs, just because a buyer can get a 0% down payment, does not change the closing cost.
Best of Luck,
Josh Barnett, Realtor
Metro First Realty