I went to an open house in my neighborhood and learned that there are programs available to first time home buyers that allow for a low down payment w/out the need to buy PMI. Is that true? The only program I know of that allows for a low down payment is an FHA loan, but that requires PMI.
I live in Newbury Park (Ventura County), California.
EDITED: We're looking at buying a home between $475K-$550K with about 3.5% down; Annual salary is around $125K.
Yes there are programs with low down payments and no PMI, but there are generally restrictions. A few banks by me have this type of loan. Generally you can't make over a certain amount for income, interest rate is higher and the credit part can be a little bit tougher.....at least in the loans I had looked into. Just shop around to a few places and ask if they do Conventional loans with lower down payments. Good luck =)
My area has a program but it's only if you meet the income requirement / restriction. You can't make over a certain amount, for our area I think it was a max income for $45k a year for a family of 3. A realtor had told me about it, but we made too much to qualify. If you can find a program that allows no pmi go for it if the other terms are good.