As a Realtor the single most important thing we bring to the table is knowledge. In today's financing climate knowing your lender(s) is key. Do not be sucked in by programs and incentives from lenders you do not know. If you are going to use a new lender investigate them . Find out how they write loans and how they work. Talk to other Realtors that may have used them. If you have a solid mortgage specialist or broker make sure THEY are not shopping your loans to banks they have not worked with before.
We were supposed to see the credit markets open up with the bailout but it has not happened yet as far as I can see. But having said all that remember there are some great programs out there.
If you are a first time buyer you may qualify for Rural Development in your area. This is a 100 percent loan. You may qualify for VA another potentially 100 percent loan. FHA is only 3% (going to 3.5 % in January) . With FHA there are options for construction and even HVAC money that can be built into the loan. The seller can contribute up to 6 percent. On a different note FHA is really good if you use this 6 percent instead of lowering the price of the home because after all aren't you helping to keep the homes value up this way !!!. And there is conventional financing as well. You may even talk to people about using and being a part of credit unions. While credit unions are generally strict in lending they are straight foreword and don't usually change the rules on you in the middle of the game.
Locally you may have programs for police, fire, or teaching professionals. So at the end of the day the exciting part about being a a Realtor is that knowledge is a key for us. I think it will make us in the end a more sought after and respected profession. This change in our image may be the silver lining of the mortgage /housing mess we find ourselves in. Look at this market as a chance to enhance your image. Growth in knowledge will make you a more sought after and respected professional. Learn and thrive.