No Down Payment? No Worries.

If you're like many home buyers, a down payment is the biggest obstacle between you and homeownership. Finding a lender with low- or no- down payment mortgages could be the difference between buying a home now or having to wait months or years.

VA loans, backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and USDA loans, guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, require no down payment to qualified buyers.

FHA loans, insured by the Federal Housing Administration, require down payments as low as 3.5%. And even today's conventional loans allow down payments as low as 3%.

Putting less money down could mean buying a home sooner. But lower down payments have disadvantages, too, such as higher mortgage payments, so it's important to understand and weigh your options before you decide to purchase a home.

Pros and cons of low- and no-down-payment home loans

The pros: You don't have to wait until you have enough money saved for a large down payment; which means you can become a homeowner and start building equity sooner.