Pros and Cons of a Low Down
When it comes to a down
payment on your home, are you aiming high or low? The down payment is the
number one reason most buyers wait longer than they’d like to buy a home. In
fact, many sidelined buyers have the income and qualifications to make the monthly
mortgage payment, but lack the down payment.
But, there’s also a
misperception about 20 percent down. In a NerdWallet study,
44 percent of Americans believe you need 20 percent or more to buy a home. The
reality is that about 60 percent of homebuyers financed their purchase with a 6% or less down payment,
according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
But, how low is too low
for your down payment?
The fact is there are no
cookie cutter mortgages — your home financing will be as unique as you. FHA is
known for their low down payments for first-time homebuyers, but many
conventional fixed rate loans offer lower than FHA’s 3.5% down.
What about zero down? VA
loans for armed service members and qualified veterans provide a great value,
including no down payment, relaxed credit requirements and no mortgage
insurance. (Plus, down payment programs may help with closing costs and even an
In certain areas there is
the USDA Mortgage that also provides a zero down payment option, low interest rates,
relaxed credit guidelines, but with income restrictions depending on where and number
of people to live in the new home.
Some lenders offer grants
to buyers to overcome the down payment hurdle. But, according to guidelines
from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, lenders can make contributions to a borrower’s
down payment or closing costs only after the borrower has contributed a minimum
3% down payment.
“To meet that 3%
threshold, the borrower can still come with funds from a relative, a government
agency — such as grants from a housing finance agency — or from an employer
housing program. That has not changed,” says Lisa Tibbitts, a spokeswoman for
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a smaller down payment.
You can buy a home
sooner. With a lower down payment, you’re putting less down and not
saving as long before you get in a home. It can help you secure a loan at
today’s low rates and avoid any rent increases that may be on the horizon.
You’ll have more reserve
funds on hand. When you buy a home, there are many other related costs,
including home repairs and improvements. With a smaller down payment, you’ll
avoid being “house poor” as soon as you leave the closing table and can enjoy
using some of your hard earned dollars to make the home your own.
Down payment programs can
help. Don’t overlook down payment programs as part of your home
financing. These programs can help boost your down payment savings or even
provide a tax credit for the life of the loan. Some programs provide affordable
first mortgages with a very low down payment.
Your monthly payment will
be larger. When you put less down, your home loan — and monthly payment —
will be larger. Work with your lender to ensure you are comfortable with the
You may be required to
pay mortgage insurance premiums. Some down payment
programs may waive mortgage insurance (MI), but in most cases if your down
payment is below 20 percent, you’ll be required to get MI — it helps manage risk for your
lender and protect them if you fail to repay
the mortgage. It’s important to note that with a conventional, fixed rate loan
and borrower paid MI, you can cancel your mortgage insurance when you reach 20% equity in your home. With an FHA loan,
you must continue to pay MI for the life of the loan.
Could hurt in a
competitive market. Unfortunately, some sellers see smaller down payments as a
negative, although it’s not necessarily true. In fact, the seller may actually
earn less on the home from an all cash buyer with a lower offer. Plus,
some down payment programs will fund your closing costs — something you won’t
have to negotiate with the seller. Put the seller at ease by getting your
financing set up early and documenting it in a letter accompanying your offer.
The bottom line? The
right down payment for you depends on your situation. Weigh the overall pros
and cons of a low down payment and talk with your lender, Bob Rutledge, about what is the best
fit for you. Visit www.bobrutledge.com to learn about low down payment options, VA and USDA zero down payment programs, and down payment assistance.
Zero Down Payment Mortgage Options in the St. Louis MO area
Low Down Payment Options in the St. Louis MO area
There are many low to zero down payment options available in the St. Louis MO area and throughout the entire State of Missouri. These options are available to first time home buyers and any home buyer through mortgage programs or down payment assistance help.
Every mortgage program has a low down payment option, the lowest down payment requirement comes with both the VA mortgage and the USDA mortgage program. Both the VA and USDA mortgage are zero down payment mortgage programs.Throughout the State of Missouri there are geographical areas that are eligible for the USDA zero down payment home loan. In the St. Louis MO area there are areas in Jefferson County and St. Charles County eligible for zero down mortgages.Are you a veteran of the United States Armed Services? If you are a veteran then one of the VA benefits available to you is the VA zero down payment home loan. I consider the VA mortgage the #1 best mortgage available!Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, these are also called the conventional mortgages, have multiple low down payment programs. The lowest down payment with either program is 3 percent, but there both Fannie and Freddie have two different 3% down payment programs. There is what I will call the regular conventional 3% down payment home loans, that go by all the regular conventional underwriting guidelines.Then there is the Fannie Mae Home Ready and the Freddie Mac Home Possible 3% down payment mortgage program. This program is designed to help more people become home buyers, there are more flexible underwriting guidelines to help, better interest rates than the regular conventional mortgage, better mortgage insurance rates, and a lot more to help you become a home buyer. I have been using this program a lot more lately since it was first rolled out.
The FHA Mortgage Program, is the best known of the low down payment mortgage programs, FHA has a minimum down payment requirement of 3.5% as long as your credit score is above 580. If the qualifying down payment is below 580 there is a required 10% down payment. The FHA mortgage is known for helping many people with low to no credit scores become home buyers. The underwriting guidelines for FHA mortgages are the most relaxed in the industry and is sometimes referred to as a first time home buyer mortgage program but it is not just for first time home buyers.The lender I work for, USA Mortgage, has come out with our own 1% down payment program that has been helping a lot of new home buyers in the St. Louis MO area. The USA Mortgage 1% down payment program works hand in hand with the Fannie Mae HomeReady program to make for a very flexible low down payment option.If you can't utilize the VA or USDA mortgage programs to get a zero down payment, there are ways to get your down payment paid for you through down payment assistance programs.BTW, down payment assistance is not just for first time home buyers! There are down payment assistance programs that serve only first time home buyers but the State of Missouri, MHDC, and the Next Step down payment assistance program is not only for first time home buyers.The MHDC programs, First Step and Next Step, will prove up to a 4% assistance to be applied toward your down payment, closing costs, or both. There are also many local down payment assistance programs in various counties and/or cities throughout the St. Louis area that will provide down payment help from $3,000 to $5,000 depending on where you purchase a new home. St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Florissant, Jefferson County, many cities in St. Charles County, and unincorporated St. Charles County provide a down payment assistance program that will cover some if not all of your down payment.Confused? You don't have to know it all, that is why you hire a mortgage specialist like myself to help you. If you want to know or learn more you can find a lot of detailed information within my website at www.bobrutledge.com or you call me at 314-628-2218. Please feel free to ask me all your questions, I answer questions every day.
MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENT OPTIONS:
There are two great mortgage programs that allow for a ZERO down payment, that's right zip, nada, nothing, etc. The USDA Rural Development and the VA Mortgage Program does not require a down payment along with the added value of super low interest rates in normal conditions.
The FHA Mortgage is referred by many as the first time home buyer home loan, not only because of the easier underwriting, lower required credit scores, and higher debt ratios but because of the minimum down payment requirement of only 3.5% of the sales price!
Conventional mortgages are those insured by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, this is the loan program that many think requires at least a 20% down payment. For the most part conventional mortgages have a minimum down payment requirement of only 5%! Recently, Fannie Mae came out with a new mortgage program that has very relaxed underwriting guidelines that only requires a 3% down payment.
Down Payment Assitance or Grants:
In the St. Louis area including St. Charles and Jefferson County there are basically 2 down payment assistance programs available though one of the down payment assistance programs is coordinated with your mortgage lender through several different groups.
MHDC; some time referred to as First Place Loans. This program is offered through the State of Missouri and is provided throughout the state and not just the St. Louis Mo area. This program is strictly for First Time Home Buyers, a first time home buyer is basically anyone who has not owned a home or had the advantage of home ownership over the past 3 years.
This down payment assistance program can only be provided through approved mortgage lenders, not all lenders in the area want to work with the MHDC program.This program will provide up to 4.5% of the loan amount for down payment and closing costs assistance. This makes this a very good program to work with the FHA mortgage minimum down payment requirement of 3.5% and then you have a little extra to apply to closing costs.
1st Home Program;This payment assistance is also only for first time home buyers. The program is available in St. Louis City, St. Louis County with Florissant having their own separate version of the same program, Jefferson County, and St. Charles County plus with nearly every city/entity in the county having a version of this program.
There are income restrictions, guideline restrictions, underwriting restrictions, and more that I highly suggest that you only work with a mortgage loan officer very experienced with down payment assistance. Don't lose the money that is available to you or create delays that can happen because of lack of experience.
More Options to Help
23 Down Payment Options! There are a lot of options listed within the FHA and Conventional mortgage underwriting guidelines that tell mortgage loan officers where home buyers can obtain their down payment. The FHA mortgage programs lists 23 options that may be something you can do already, here are some favorites and some not so well known;
These are just a few of the ideas and options available to you to help fund you down payment.CLOSING COST HELP; there are always closing costs involved in the process of buying and financing a new home purchase, over and above your down payment. Having those closing costs paid for by you is sometimes as much as the down payment but always a cost that can be avoided.There are many options available to you to have most if not all of your closing costs paid for by others and not you. It takes a consolidated team effort of your, your mortgage lender, and your real estate agent to make this happen. But it is possible that through your mortgage program, down payment assistance, seller concessions, and lender credits that it can become possible to purchase a new home with little to zero out of pocket expense.
YOU BUY YOUR NEXT HOME WITH LITTLE TO ZERO OUT OF POCKET! Down P