It will be interesting to see how smaller tax refunds affect purchasing power and the housing market. Often first time home buyers plan on tax refunds for some of the cash they need to buy a house.
It is a myth that a 20% down payment is needed. Down payments start at about 3.5%. Closing costs can add another 3% in cash. Asking the seller to pay buyer closing costs used to be a common practice but in a seller’s market asking sellers for anything puts an offer at risk of rejection.
There are down payment assistance programs. Some of them help with down payments and closing costs. Eligibility depends upon several factors including the location of the home.
There are also programs for first time home buyers. Ask your lender.
I also recommend the Minnesota Home Ownership Center as a general resource
The bank of mom and dad is also a popular option for down payment assistance.