Down Payment

The part of the purchase price of a property that the buyer pays in cash and does not finance with a mortgage.

Saving for a down payment is usually one of the most difficult parts of preparing to buy a home. If you believe you have the needed funds, you are in a better position to seek pre-qualification from a lender to get the mortgage that is right for you.

Most homeowners rely on a mortgage from a financial institution, and most mortgage products require buyers to include a portion of their own funds towards the purchase of the home. This is called the down payment. Lenders feel more secure when buyers include a down payment, indicating they are less likely to walk away from their investment if their finances take a downturn.

Historically, buyers usually made a down payment that totaled 20 percent of the home's purchase price. Under this scenario, a down payment for a $100,000 home is $20,000. But today, new mortgage products allow buyers to put down as little as 3 percent to 5 percent, provided private mortgage insurance is obtained. The down payment for a $100,000 home with 5 percent down payment is just $5,000.

Sources for down payments may come from buyers' savings accounts, checking accounts, stocks and bonds, life insurance policies, and gifts.


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