Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, can be helpful for first-time home buyers because the minimum down payment can be as low as 3.5% for borrowers with good credit.

Active military personnel and veterans may also qualify for loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and homes in qualifying rural areas can be financed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan. Both of these programs do not require any down payment at all.