Subprime mortgages led to the 2009 housing crisis.
During the last housing boom pretty much anyone with a pulse could get a mortgage and we all know how that turned out. Afterwards lending locked up. Is it still tight? Yes. Is it impossible to get a mortgage? No! In fact it's getting slightly easier as lenders offer new products and lower some costs but you have to be prepared to jump through hoops! First get your financial house in order. Pull all pertinent papers such as: bank statements, investment accounts, tax returns going back at least 2 years, car loans, student loans, pay stubs and proof of employment. The more you have ready the faster you'll get an answer on your loan. And don't worry so much about cash on a down payment. Cash will always be king in a bidding war. But in general a pre-approval mortgage is queen and you don't always need 20% down either. FHA requires just 3.5% but you'll have to pay some insurance. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have a 3% down product and Freddie let's you use gift money to pay for it. Finally the key is to be patient. Don't be afraid of the mortgage process but don't expect a fast ride to home ownership either!