This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!
Question: Is it possible to buy a home with less than 20% down?
Answer: I’m always surprised by the number of people who assume they have to put 20% down to buy a home and delay their goal of becoming a homeowner for years because of it. Studies show that the most common reason people give for not buying a home is that they don’t have enough for a down payment.
In reality, about 1/3 of Arlington buyers purchase a home with less than 20% down and for many buyers, especially first-time home buyers, they’re putting as little as 3-5% down.
Programs For Everybody
For those with good credit, there are popular Conventional Loan programs allowing for as little as 3% down and for those with lower credit scores, FHA Loan programs range from 3.5%-10% down. There are also some exceptional programs available to those with great credit and strong incomes allowing for 10%-15% down at great rates.
Specialty Programs For Military and Doctors
If you are an active-duty or former service member you likely know about VA Loans that allow purchases with zero down. Doctors also have access to special loan programs offering great rates with low down payments for large loan amounts.
Most loans with less than 20% down will include mortgage insurance, which I wrote about here. It will increase your monthly payment and generally represents a higher percentage of your loan amount the less you put down. However, there are options to get rid of the mortgage insurance fees by buying it out or applying for early removal after a couple of years. There are also some programs that do not include mortgage insurance at all.
Impact on Negotiations
Clients often ask me how much a lower down payment will impact their ability to negotiate, so last year I ran the numbers on the impact of different down payments on the percentage buyers were negotiating off the sale price.
The results showed that only cash buyers (100% down) and buyers not putting any money down were materially impacted by their down payment, the negotiation leverage was pretty similar for everybody in between.
However, it would be misleading to suggest that down payment percentage doesn’t have any impact. Most sellers will respond more enthusiastically to higher down payments and this comes into play in competitive scenarios (multiple offers), which has become common in Arlington and the surrounding D.C. Metro neighborhoods. When sellers are choosing between multiple, similar offers, buyers with higher down payments have an advantage.
Buyers can combat the potential negative impact of a lower down payment in multiple offer scenarios by getting a strong pre-approval letter from a reputable local lender, offering to get pre-approved by a lender of the seller’s choosing, increasing the Earnest Money Deposit, or a number of other tweaks to the contract that will be looked at favorably by the seller, without increasing risk to the buyer or increasing the offer price.
Favorite Mortgage Programs
Here’s a link to an article I wrote with some of my favorite mortgage programs and contact information for great lenders who offer them.
If you’d like any additional information or recommendations on lenders or loan programs, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]. If you’re thinking about buying a home in Arlington or the surrounding Northern VA/D.C. Metro neighborhoods, I’d be happy to meet with you to discuss your options.
If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.
Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.
Arlington has seen an explosion in catalytic converter thefts over the past two years, according to updated stats from county police. Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 3 of this year,…
Claiming a family member has been kidnapped and demanding a ransom. Threatening you with arrest if a fine is not paid for supposedly missing jury duty. Those are just two…
It happened again. Amid rainy weather, a vehicle crashed and overturned on the northbound GW Parkway near Key Bridge, at a bend in the road that — as we reported…
Local NAACP VP Killed — Updated at 9:15 a.m. — “FOX 5 has learned that Kent Carter – a prominent community leader and realtor from Arlington – was killed while…
INF Care Virtual Concierge is a new and inviting option to remote assistance that leverages the best of what technology should encompass with quality interaction.
For the busy individual that needs a way to reduce stress and tackle caring for an older family member that lives alone.
For the maturing adult that just needs help with everyday tedious tasks, connectivity, and access to data on their everyday habits to pinpoint areas that need more attention.
Looking for a more convenient way to work out?
On the Go Fitness Pro offers in home personal training. We bring the gym to you, so you can save time and skip the hassle of going to the gym. Plus, our trainers are certified and experienced, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible workout.
We provide all the equipment needed for a great workout or we can use the equipment that you have.
Schedule a free consultation today and see how we can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Mini Family & Pet Photo Sessions
Beat the rush and sign up to get your holiday photos now!
Bring your kids! Bring your dogs!
Check out the DeSilva Studios website. Look at the images and see if you like them