Take some of the commentary on home buying forums with a grain of salt. I too have read some of the commentary on these forums such as myFICO, Trulia, or Zillow and rarely is the right advice given or proper followup done.
Typical 401k withdrawals for home purchase would not be considered a hardship. However, most employer 401k plans will allow you to take a loan for 401k as long as you provide suitable documentation: HUD-1 statement, Real Estate Contract, Good Faith Estimate, or some other form of suitable documentation as described by the plan administrator.
For instance, I just took a 401k loan to pay for closing costs and I had to provide only the real estate contract. Could I not follow through with the contract? Sure, but what if I am found out for fraud? Then the plan administrator would probably end up turning the distribution into a taxable distribution. I wouldn't go to jail in this hypothetical situation - I am only stealing from myself. But the law states that certain loan situations are not liable for tax as long as that situation still exists. In the home loan situation, my employer allows for a low interest, 10 year loan.
My employer also allows for a pre-approved loan for any purpose. This would be a low interest, 5 year loan.
There is also the option to not do a loan at all. But normally that is only allowed after you have exhausted all your loan options and the government makes it intentionally harsh (30% penalty at least) to discourage people from dumping their tax free haven 401k accounts.
That all being said, many plans offer no prepayment penalty. So like my employer has for us, I can pay it all back in full whenever I want or make micropayments every month. Otherwise, it comes out of my pay stub biweekly. So if it were to fall through, I could just put it all back like it never happened. Though with my plan, there is a cooling off period of 7 days before I can take another loan.
Keep in mind that if you leave your employer then the full amount becomes a taxable distribution unless you pay it back within a certain period of time after leaving the employer.
Whether this fits your financial situation is up to you, but a loan is definitely preferred over a partial or full withdrawal since you are paying yourself back for your rightly earned retirement which is just as important.