A common question from home buyers, particularly first-timers, is: “How much do I have to put down to buy a house?” The answer: It depends on other factors.
The most important of those factors will be your credit, followed by income.
These mortgages are loans obtained through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. If you have really good credit, you may be looking at a minimum down payment of 3%.
This is definitely something that first-time home buyers should be looking into when they start the financing process. With a down payment this low, you will require mortgage insurance, which, when certain conditions are met sometime in the future, can be removed.
Also, ask your mortgage professional about the “HomeReady” mortgage program, obtained through Fannie Mae. This program caters to low-to-moderate-income borrowers, and those purchasing in lower income areas.
The minimum down payment with FHA programs is 3.5%. This program is ideal for borrowers whose credit scores may be on the low side.
While FHA is good for people who may be unable to qualify for conventional financing through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the challenge here is that these loans are generally more expensive to own.
This is due to the fact that you will be required to have two kinds of mortgage insurance, and, unlike in conventional mortgages, the mortgage insurance will be in place for the life of the loan.
Other cash outlays in addition to down payments
Keep in mind that for both of the loan types listed above, you can expect to have other outlays of cash associated with the purchase, including closing costs and some type of escrow account.
You will still be able to get seller credits to help you with these other outlays. But note: Seller credits cannot be used to help you with your down payment.