Do you want to buy a home, but think you need a BIG down payment? Think again! One of the biggest real estate myths is home buyers need to put down at least 20% on their home purchase. However, that isn’t always the case and below are a few options home buyers can explore.

Does Buying a Home Require a BIG Down Payment

Financing

While not all properties will qualify for low down payment loan programs there are a lot of properties that will! In fact, some of these low down payment loan options have loan limits well above the median sales price for an area. The most common types of properties that do not qualify for a loan with a low down payment are condo communities. So if you are interested in purchasing a condo you’ll want to make sure it qualifies. Also be aware of how other properties, like townhomes or villas, are classified, they too may be condos. Below are the three most popular loan programs that have low down payment options.

FHA Loan:

The Federal Housing Administration has a minimum down payment of 3.5%. That’s right with only 3.5% down you can purchase a home. FHA obviously has guidelines and certain qualifications, like a minimum credit score and loan limits. However, this is such a great option not only for first time home buyers, but home buyers who’ve previously purchased real estate.

VA Loan:

The Veterans Affairs guarantees no-down payment mortgages (100% financing) for qualified veterans, active duty personnel and reservists/ national guard members. Years ago there was a negative stigma with VA loans, some areas may still encounter this stigma. However, guidelines have changed over the years and every VA loan I have been part of over the last 5 years has been seamless.

Conventional Loan:

A lot of people assume you can only obtain conventional financing if you put at least 20% down, but that is no longer the case. Some conventional loan down payments are as low as 3%, depending on the applicant and loan amounts. Yes, 1/2% lower than an FHA loan!

Closing Costs

Do you have just enough money for a low down payment, but not enough for all the closing costs? Here are a few additional avenues you can explore to help you get into your dream home.

Seller Concessions:

A seller concession is a monetary contribution from the seller to the buyer towards their closing costs, escrows and/or pre-paids. Now there is a cap to the amount of seller concessions a home buyer can receive. However, in a lot of cases seller concessions may cover all of a buyers closing costs.

Gift Money:

Yes, people might be able to gift you money for a home purchase depending on the loan program. If this is an option make sure you discuss with your lender so they can walk you through the process. Don’t let your mom hand you $5,000 in cash. There are rules to receiving gift money that must be followed.

Assistance Programs:

There are some government and non-profit organizations that can help pay for things like down payment assistance. A local lender should be able to point you in the right direction and this is something you want to explore BEFORE you start looking at homes.

Secured Loan:

If you own your car outright you might be able to use it as collateral to pay for closing costs. However, carefully review the terms because the interest rate may be outrageous along with additional fees.

Borrowing from Retirement:

While this is not recommended pulling from your retirement account is another option, but beware it can be costly.

Low Down Payment Loan Process

  1. Contact a local lender
  2. Complete their loan application
  3. Receive loan options based on your criteria
  4. Compare mortgage interest rates and terms
  5. Select the best low down payment that fits your needs

Important Facts About Low Down Payments

Show Me the Money

Not all sellers will accept an offer from a buyer who is putting down a minimal amount of money. This is where an excellent lender can come into play! If a buyer is qualified and a reputable lender has already processed their loan to the fullest extent without a property a quick conversation between the lender and listing agent can make or break a deal. The same holds true for seller concessions, not all sellers with agree to them and in this case your lender may not be able to overcome this hurdle with the seller.

Hidden Fees & Costs

Know the facts! Make sure you’re aware of any fees or additional costs associated with low down payment loans, such as private mortgage insurance, upfront mortgage insurance premium or a funding fee.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing a home when you don’t have a lot of money is a possibility. One of the keys is hiring a top Realtor and Lender. As a team, they will be able to guide you through the process from start to finish. How an offer is structured and presented to a seller matters, so make sure you have top-notch professionals on your side.

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Additional Real Estate Advice from Top Professionals

  • In order to be approved for a mortgage you’ll need to have great credit and the better your credit the better your options. If you don’t have any credit or poor credit here are 8 tips on how to improve your credit score.
  • Do you have an opportunity to purchase a relatives home? If so you may be eligible to receive a gift of equity from them if you purchase their home.
  • A popular question couples have is whether or not they should purchase a home before marriage or wait. The answer is, it really depends on the couple’s situation if they should continue to rent or buy.
  • Do you need to hire a real estate agent when buying a home? It doesn’t make sense not to especially since the seller pays the commission in most situations, not the buyer.
  • Getting approved for a mortgage may seem overwhelming especially when it comes to the documents needed for a mortgage. However, a great lender will make it easy by providing a detailed list of the documents they’ll need and when they’ll need them by.

About the Author

The real estate article above, “Does Buying a Home Require a BIG Down Payment?” was written by Michelle Gibson of Wellington Florida Real Estate. She has been specializing in residential real estate since 2001 and is experienced in assisting buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants. She would love to share her knowledge and expertise and guide you through the entire real estate process.

We service the following areas; Wellington, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Greenacres and more. If you are considering selling your home, we welcome the opportunity to work with you and list your home with a top Realtor in Wellington Florida

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Does Buying a Home Require a BIG Down Payment?
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Does Buying a Home Require a BIG Down Payment?
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Purchasing a home when you don't have a lot of money is possible. One of the keys is hiring a top Realtor and Lender who will guide you through the process.
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