8 smart moves to score the best possible mortgage

Consider an FHA loan to lower your down payment

Getting the Federal Housing Administration to guarantee your loan can be a boon for buyers having a tough time obtaining a mortgage.

You can obtain an FHA loan even if you have a smaller down payment, lower credit scores and more debt than banks and mortgage companies usually demand.

In fact, an FHA mortgage requires just a 3.5% down payment -- that's $3,500 for every $100,000 you borrow. If your FICO credit score is below 580, you'll have to come with a 10% down payment.

Most non-FHA loans require a down payment of at least 5% and often as much as 20% of the purchase price.

Rules have changed so you can borrow more money with an FHA loan than in the past.

Here's where to learn more about FHA loans and what they can do for you.