Minimum Down Payment Definition

What Is a Minimum Down Payment ?

The minimum down payment is the cash contribution that a borrower must provide when they purchase a home. many mortgage loans will require such a minimum, and the actual sum required varies by the loan program, but the standard minimal depressed payment required for a conventional loan is 20 % and 3.5 % for an FHA lend. Some VA loans may not require a minimum down payment .

Key Takeaways

  • The minimum down payment is the cash that a buyer is required to provide to qualify for a mortgage loan.
  • For a conventional loan, the down payment is typically 20%, while for an FHA loan, it is typically 3.5%.
  • The down payment is designed to offset the risk to the lender.
  • FHA loans are government-backed loans. These loans require payment of a non-tax-deductible monthly mortgage premium known as mortgage insurance to offset the low down payment.

Understanding a Minimum Down Payment

Minimum depressed payment amounts are required to offset the potential risk to a lender. The hypothesis is that a borrower will be less probably to default on a loan when they have made a large cash contribution to the mortgage themselves .

For conventional loans that are backed by respective lend institutions, this sum is typically 20 %, which is due at the sign of the closure documents. Government-backed loans, besides known as FHA mortgages, offset this gamble by collecting a monthly mortgage premium known as mortgage policy or MI .

As of June 2021, the mortgage policy premium is not a tax-deductible expense.

example of a Minimum Down Payment

Consider, for example, that Mary Smith is looking to purchase a dwelling. She has received preapproval for a $ 360,000 mortgage and has found a home that she would like to buy. The leverage price is $ 350,000. With a conventional mortgage, Mary will be able to borrow up to 80 % of that purchase price, or $ 280,000. That means she will need to come up with 20 %, or $ 70,000 of her own funds ( or through a down payment aid plan ) to close on the lend .

If we look at Mary ’ mho mortgage again ( this time using FHA guidelines ), we see that alternatively of borrowing 80 % of $ 350,000, Mary can borrow up to 96.5 %, or $ 337,750. That means Mary now only needs to find 3.5 % of $ 350,000, or $ 12,250 .

however, nowadays Mary will be required to make a monthly mortgage indemnity payment in addition to paying principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. The monthly mortgage insurance premium rate varies between 0.3 % and 1.5 % of the original loanword amount and is based on several factors such as the borrower ‘s recognition score and loan-to-value ratio. This agio is escrowed into the monthly requital.


The minimum gloomy payment typically required for a conventional mortgage lend. There are many factors to consider when deciding which type of lend to pursue, including the reservation requirements. however, one matter remains the like, the minimum down payment is just that, a minimum. A borrower can choose to put ampere a lot or as short down as they would like depending on their lender ‘s minimal loan sum requirements. The decision should be based on the total a borrower can afford and what they consider to be their best option financially .

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