So How Much Does A Buyer REALLY Need To Put Down

As our regular readers know, we get every type of question under the sun, most of which we post directly to the site and let the community answer. Sometimes answers aren’t so cut and dry and there are certainly differing opinions. One very common question these days is “How much money do I need to put down” to buy a house. The long and short of it is to plan on 20%, but there are exceptions and we asked a mortgage expert, and generally the rules go like this:

3.5% to 30% –depends on loan amount.

Jumbo loans (greater than $625,000) require 30% down

Loans up to $625,000 require 20% down and smaller than $417,000 are min 3.5% (FHA) down.

Basic guidelines indeed, but something to keep in mind when looking for your home. Remember, these are LOAN amounts, not purchase prices, and any day that $625k limit will be raised to the new $729,750 amount. You can also get FHA loans up to $729,750 and put as little down as 3.5% (we’re told); however, for most condo developments, you are required to put at least 10% down on FHA loans. It’s all really confusing, and if you have more questions, give us a shout and we’ll put you in touch with a mortgage expert. ([email protected])

10 thoughts on “So How Much Does A Buyer REALLY Need To Put Down

  1. Is there also a category called “jumbo conforming owner-occupied multi-unit” limit that’s like 800k or something? I am in the process of re-fi and was surprised to hear that’s the category I fit in.

  2. BTW for what it’s worth, the appraiser (for my re-fi) just left, and as he was walking out I probed him on what he thought the property would be valued at. The number he felt comfortable giving me verbally would represent a 25% increase in 4 and 1/2 years. So perhaps it’s not all doom and gloom out there. Or may be I am just naive and the appraisers are not to be trusted – the real value is set when a transaction takes place…

  3. Anon8mizer, for high cost areas? I suppose you have a two unit then. It likely conforms to this chart:

    That 800K and change limit was the old limit for high cost areas, before the initiative went through to again allow for last year’s 729.5K to be the 1-unit base.

    Apparently these loans are not quite available yet. A week ago I was told they’d be out this week.

  4. does anyone have info on stated income loans for investment property? i hear there is 1, maybe 2 banks offering these as portfolio loans, but with low ltv’s.

    anyone have any recent updates on this?!?

  5. I just heard that $729k is the new limit for transactions closed in 2009– it’s part of the stimulus package.

    QUESTION – Is there any 20% down stated income product (i.e., loans) for purchase available out there? There are lots of self employed folks out there with perfect credit but small numbers on their Schedule C.

    Thanks all.

  6. dayum.hadn;t seen those new limits – looks like the 2+units are higher?
    i got in with in a refi in Jan with the 800,775 limit – buthad to buy down 40k or so to reach it – looks like from this that wouldn;’t be necessary now?
    Oh well…
    ps surprised aty any appraisal that would give +25% on late 04 prices. VERY surprised given apples suggests we are about back to 04 prices in most parts of the city now.

  7. update: I got the official report today. It’s +20%, rather than +25%. It’s a 2 unit, not an SFR so that might have something to do with it.

  8. yeah, not sure how multi units are holding up.
    my guess is better than average compared to sfs/condos as (a) rents haven’t really fallen (much) (b) often bought with large downpayments, so problems in obtaining financing are less.
    but i guess sales are less in volume, and more heterogenous.
    any insights/views on this?
    probably the higher limits for non-jumbos helps too.

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