You certainly should affiliate yourself with an agent, or a real estate attorney because there are many more aspects of the sales contract that could get you into trouble later on such as various timeframe commitments, and repair limits.....
Lately because sellers are so concerned about folks not being able to get a mortgage, or not liking an inspection report, etc, and hence walking away from a small earnest money, they are asking for more down upfront.
But because it is a buyers market, you certainly should be able to put down $1,000 and after you have an executed contract (meaning the seller has accepted all of your terms and you agree to all of theirs) you could put another $2,000 or $3,000 down and that be enough.
Nevertheless, you need representation and you can just pick an agent at any time and have them represent you. You can pay the agent the commission yourself, or negotiate a commission, or have the seller pay it and if they want to sell the house enough, they will.
Or just take the contract to a real estate attorney and you will have to pay to have all steps in the negotiations go through that individuals for you.
On no account, sign a contract without having an independent set of eyes, eyes that are trained, work with you. My girlfriend decided she would go it alone and ultimately she lost her earnest money due. She swears she will have an agent for the next offer.