Down payment: The amount you're going to need to save for a down payment will largely depend on your credit and financial situation. Typically, anywhere from 3 percent to 20 percent is required. If you're using FHA financing, then you need a credit score of 500 or higher. And in the 500 to 579 range, if you can find a lender, you'll have to put 10 percent down instead of 3 percent. The one exception to this general rule is with Veterans Affairs loans, which require no down payment.
Closing costs: Whatever your loan source, you'll also need money to pay closing costs, which run from $2,300 to $4,000. In a buyer's market, you can often negotiate to have the seller pay a portion of the closing costs.
You can improve your chances to secure financing by banking your own money and search out down payment assistance. Often it's location-based or tagged to a certain type of buyer, like first-timers, she says. So do an Internet search with the city name, then the county name, along with word combinations such as "down payment assistance," "first-time homebuyers" and "homebuyer's assistance."