Always one for hyperbole, Donald Trump recently told CNBC that banks are "virtually laughing" at people who are looking to get loans.

"The banks are not lending money, there's no money out there, no matter how strong you are, no matter how good your deal is, if you go to a bank today they virtually laugh at you if you're asking for money. They don't have money or they're hoarding money. . . The policy makers have to make the banks loan the money that they're giving to the banks. I don't know what they do with the money but they don't have any money to lend."


That makes a fantastic quote -- hey, I'm writing about it! -- but is it really true? No, not at all. I just received a commitment letter for a condo I'm in the process of buying. How did I do it? I had a credit score in the 700s and a down payment of 20% and I don't see anything wrong with not making loans available to people with no assets and a track record of an inability to repay loans.

And guess what? If you have almost no cash and shaky credit, you can still get a Federal Housing Administration loan if you're a first-time buyer. All you need is a 3.5% down payment and a FICO score in the low- to mid-600s. If your credit score is lower than that and you can't come up with a couple thousand bucks, that's a really good sign that you aren't ready to buy a house.

Yes, money is tight. Lending standards are higher than they were a couple years ago. But for people who are responsible and willing to work hard and save up a few thousand dollars for a down payment, buying a home is absolutely within reach.

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