(*updated in 2021)

What’s the biggest obstacle to homeownership? It’s Down Payment.

So, How Much Down Payment Should You Put On Your First Home?

According to a recent survey, “saving enough for a down payment” comes at the top of the list. A whopping 55% of prospective homebuyers cited this as their main stumbling block.

A decade ago, many lenders were offering easy, no-money-down mortgages.

However, after the financial crisis, mortgage standards have become more restrictive. A typical mortgage went back to needing 20% down but that’s not the case now.

Here’s the good news.

A first time home owner only needs 3% down. 3% down is the standard minimum going forward.

If you no longer qualify as a first time home owner then lenders will require 5% down. 5% down is the standard minimum going forward.

You can qualify as a first time home owner again if you have been renting for the past couple years. 

 Other great 1st time home buyer loans that could save you thousands. 

If you have decent credit and a steady income, you might be qualified for a number of specialized programs that require no or very little down payment. Here are a few of the top options.

First, there’s the USDA loan, which is valid for homes in certain regions, such as rural and suburban areas.

With zero money down and lenient credit requirements, the USDA loan can be a great choice for many homeowners.

Second, there’s the VA loan, which you can apply for if you or your spouse served in a branch of the military.

It’s possibly the most generous zero-money-down mortgage because of low interest rates and low closing costs.

Third, there’s the FHA loan. It does require a 3.5% down payment — still drastically more achievable than the traditional 20% down mortgage.

Fourth, there’s the Conventional first-time home buyer or move-up home buyer minimum down payment. This is as low as 3% or 5% respectably.

Finally, there are a number credit unions and first-time homebuyer programs that might apply to your particular situation.
There’s one important thing you should know.

If you get one of these no-money-down mortgages, chances are good you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance, which can drive up your monthly payments.

Fortunately, private mortgage insurance will disappear after your mortgage balance is under 80%. Also, the money you do pay will be tax deductible in most cases.

In short, there are lots of options to make owning a home a reality for you, even if you haven’t saved up tens of thousands of dollars.

If you’re considering buying a home, check out some of the great homes that have come on the market around Northern Virginia and DC Metro area:

Click here for all available Northern Virginia homes for sale

And if you need more advice on getting a no-money-down loan, give me a call at 571-339-9717. I can put you in touch with some experienced Northern Virginia area lenders who can answer your questions and help get you started.

Have a great day!

Your Northern Virginia & DC Realtor,
Kevin Bailey