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What Percent Is The Best Down Payment?


Deciding what down payment to put on a home is one the first decisions to decide when choosing a home loan. This determines the amount of money the borrower will have to part with, how much house a borrower can afford, and it also determines whether the borrower will have to pay monthly mortgage insurance, or upfront mortgage insurance.

Of course, your financial situation will be a big determining factor for which scenario you can choose.

A 3.5% down payment is the most common, especially among first time home buyers. It’s the smallest amount a borrower has to part with. However, when doing a 3.5% down payment with a FHA loan, the borrower will have added costs consisting of upfront mortgage insurance, which is added to the loan balance, as well as monthly mortgage insurance. This ultimately increases the monthly mortgage payment.

The other option is to go the conventional home loan route and parting with a minimum of 5% down. In order for this scenario, credit scores must be good and the home loan has to be under $417,000 according to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines. Monthly mortgage insurance is still added to the loan, but it is significantly less than the 3.5% down payment.

A borrower can also put 10%-20% down with a conventional loan in order to avoid mortgage insurance altogether.

Now, keep in mind there is not “wrong” down payment. It is all based on your financial situation, what is available in your savings for a down payment, and how much house you can afford. The main goal is for the borrowers to understand the different loan options available and choosing what works best for their circumstances. Discuss these options with a mortgage broker for more personalized assistance based on your financial situation.