This is a great question, especially for a first time home buyer that has little cash flow.
In the current market that we are in, and the market is always changing from month to month, there are a few programs out there that might be able to help you get into your first home.
The first one that comes to mind is a government program that allows a current renter or tenant of a property to purchase the house they are living in from the owner, if the owner wants to sell. This program will offer 100% financing to qualified buyers with the provisions that you take classes on how to be a responsible home owner and to budget household finances. This process can take anywhere from 6-12 months but allows you NO MONEY out of pocket.
The second one is known as FHA and PHFA programs that allow a buyer to put as little as 3.5% of the purchase price towards their new home. (ex: $100,000 sale price would be $3,500 out of pocket expense)
Generally your credit score will come into play with either of these programs. The banks prefer to see a credit score of 620 or higher to lend with lower interest rates.
So, to get a true picture of what program you would best fit into to purchase your new home. You would need to reach out to a REALTOR and Mortgage Broker to get a better picture of what you can afford and what best fits your families budget.
As for the $1 purchase prices you see in the paper and online, those are generally houses that get passed from one family member to another to keep it in the family.
Does this all make sense? What other questions might you have?