You have gotten some really great answers here, but the best one is to speak with a mortgage rep. Even though you do not have the 20% down payment, there are still programs out there (FHA) that will lend with 3% down. But it really depends on your credit and income. SMART START is also a good program, as it will give you up to $15,000 for closing costs or down payment assistance if you qualify in the terms of a 0% interest loan that does not need to be repaid if you stay in the home for 5 years, but it is only available in "Smart Growth" areas. For specifics, see the link that Heather previously sent you. The big question is IF you qualify (as free money has a lot of caveats), and in addition, the interest rate is higher on this loan than if you go FHA for instance.
The good thing for you is that rates are still historically low, and inventory is higher than it's been over the last few years. But you really should make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Real estate is a good investment as long as you can afford the monthly payments AND you plan on staying in the home for more than a few years, as it may take that long for us to get out of this economic slump. Do not, under any circumstances bite off more than you can chew. That is what started this mess in the first place, and you do not want to become another statistic!
If you need referrals to mortgage brokers that can help you choose the right loan for you, let me know and I can refer you to some good people. Good luck in your search!
Lisa Tempesta, Broker-Salesperson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage / 2200 Rt. 10 West, Parsippany, NJ 07054
(973) 267-3030 x 129 / (973) 267-4161 fax / (973) 668-6322 cell
skype id lisa.tempesta / text 9736686322
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