Mortgage loans ARE out there...but you'll have to do your homework

When I wrote the story that home buyers need lots of cash to qualify for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans based on a Wall Street Journal story, some mortgage brokers wrote to me and said that's just not true nationwide.

You will find those rigid standards if you live in an area designated by Fannie and Freddie as a Declining Market Area, which is true about the New York/New Jersey area, but it's not true just outside that area in Pennsylvania. Other hard hit ares where it's tough to get a loan without a lot of money down include Florida, California, Michigan and Nevada.

So if you're looking to buy in an area not yet determined to be a Declining Market Area, you can find Fannie and Freddie loans for just 3% down if your credit score is 700 or higher and just 5% down if your credit score is 620 or higher. You won't get the best loan rate with that little down, but you can buy a home as long as you have enough income, according to Darryl Steffey of Asset Mortgage based in Pennsylvania. The figures and percentages I'm using as examples were supplied by him. Interest rates do change daily, so I can't guarantee you'll get these exact rates.