Evaluating Your Down Payment
What is the first thing you do when preparing to buy a home? Call a Realtor? No. Call on ads in the paper? No. Look at homes for sale? No. Shop interest rates? No.
Evaluate how much money you have saved and available for your down payment and closing costs! I'm not saying it's not a good idea to familiarize yourself with the real estate market, because IT IS, but you need to take a close look at your financial situation. Your choice of loan program depends on it. Scenarios that limit your options include(but are not limited to): little or no down payment, no money for closing costs, receiving your down payment as a gift, or borrowing the money from a 401K.
The way you write your offer to purchase a home will be affected by how much cash you have for the deposit, available cash for closing costs, how much you can afford and qualify for in a mortgage, and what type of mortgage you are able to get (ie. VA, FHA, Conventional, etc.). Once you have a grasp on your funds availability, then you can shop loan programs & interest rates.