Down payments are a percentage of the total cost of a loan that a buyer pays upfront before securing a loan. All conventional loans have a required down payment as well as a minimum down payment.

A down payment can be defined as a percentage of a loan that a borrower is required to pay once the loan is accepted by both sides involved in the transaction. This could be a home loan or a personal loan. The English dictionary defines a down payment as an initial payment that is made when something is bought on credit.

In real estate, lenders require down payments on the loans that they approve for you during your home purchase. Once you’ve passed any lender requirements and have decided to accept an offer, you should be able to afford a percentage of the upfront cost of that loan. Required down payment can start at 5% minimum of the total loan in real estate. In fact, in certain exceptional cases, banks may provide loans with no down payment required. However, this is more common with loans provided to trusted borrowers with a good track record and very high credit scores (which can be difficult to get).

Some lenders may also offer loans with no down payment required in exchange for a higher APR, hence, it is vital you understand how to strike the right balance between both terms. This is one area where our financial advisors can help you navigate these waters, as their expertise has helped countless other people secure beneficial loans and become homeowners. Also, individuals who cannot make up to 20% of payment would have to pay a Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI exists to protect lenders from borrowers who may default on their loans. It also depends on the credit history and credit score of the borrower in question. Insurance companies differ and the policies and premiums they offer also vary depending on a number of different factors regarding you, your lender, and the property is insured by the insurance company.

If you don’t have even 5% down for a down payment, our loan officers can help you qualify for a loan that only requires 3.5% down to find a great home.

Down payments are a percentage of the purchase price of a piece of property. When dealing with home loans, you’ll want to try to talk a seller down on the sale price not just for a lower sale price, but also because the minimum down payment would decrease if you can negotiate properly. This means that if you meet the 20% minimum, you can avoid PMI, if you meet the 5% minimum, you can secure a conventional loan. But if you cannot meet any of these conditions, you can still qualify for a loan with a minimum of 3.5% with our team. Mortgage insurers will work to the interest of the lender regardless of the type of loan you’re pursuing and any mortgage insurer will require payment either at closing (as part of your closing cost) or as part of your monthly mortgage payment towards your property, but some insurers will require both.

How Down Payments Work

Since down payments have a minimum requirement of 20% in real estate for standard Federal Housing Administration(FHA) loans, oftentimes many lenders will offer loans with comparable interest rates at this minimum percentage. A larger down payment on an FHA loan opens up the potential to a lower interest rate for the home loan, making it possible to scale your monthly payments based on the size of a down payment you’re able to make at closing.

Considerations like these are what is known as a loan-to-value ratio, meaning when you compare one loan to another, the stipulations around your interest rates and the rate at which you build home equity compared to the loan amount are important factors a borrower should pay attention to. It’s worth noting that once you build home equity, you’ll eventually become eligible to take out a home equity loan. These are typically offered at 80%-85% of your total equity accruement, but lenders require the home as collateral in case you default on the loan.

The differences in the types of properties you can find loans for means that lender requirements vary for approval for property loans and payment requirements will also vary for these loans. In spite of this, down payments work fundamentally the same way for property loans of different types, but for things like car loans, not only is the expense for a car lower than that of real estate, but you can also trade in another car to either act as a cash-value trade towards a down payment, or to lower the size of the loan. Things like your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio will also affect the interest rate on the majority of property loans.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by down payment?

What exactly does a down payment mean? Well, a down payment is a percentage of the total cost on a loan that a borrower must pay upfront after both the borrower and creditor agree on said loan. The terms for down payments vary from lender to lender, as well as what the loan is for, but the central purpose of a down payment is the same in all instances even with varying terms and considerations. The majority of home purchases involve a down payment.

Because of how much a down payment affects the residential and investment-related financial future of any buyer, it is a significant part of the process that the buyer should be very careful while exploring a home loan. With car loans, a down payment is still important in how it affects the interest rate on the loan but is comparably less significant overall because the loan amount is much smaller than a real estate loan.

What is a down payment with an example?

As stated above, a down payment is a percentage of most property loans that are required as an upfront cost to be paid at closing, or before a borrower is deemed the owner of the property. The majority of down payments start at a 20% minimum of the total loan in real estate, so using 20% as an example for a loan of $200,000, your minimum down payment would be $40,000.

What is another word for down payment?

Down payments are also known as deposits, or money down, or are sometimes referred to as closing costs.

When are down payments used?

From personal loans to more standard mortgages, down payments are used during the closing process on most property loans that involve large sums of money. However, there are lenders that offer zero-down loans for people who can afford monthly payments but may not have funds available for a large deposit, may not have an eligible credit history, or have a debt-to-income ratio that makes them temporarily ineligible for common home loans. These types of loans are also available at times for people who may need some sort of payment assistance not typically available with FHA loans. In addition to most home loans requiring a down payment during the closing process, there are other closing costs that need to be paid as well that range from 3%-5% of the loan total, but the down payment is separate from these costs.

Why do you need a down payment?

Lenders require down payments to get an immediate return on their investment, as well as to guarantee some amount of followthrough from a borrower on a new loan. Lenders are taking a risk when they give out loans and down payments to help alleviate some of that risk both in action and in a good-faith gesture. Down payments also often scale the interest rate on a loan which can work to the advantage of the borrower. It is common to see newbies mistake earnest money for the down payment. These two very different terms mean different things. While we already know down payment is a certain percentage a borrower has to pay before accessing a loan or property, earnest money is the money used to secure a property and “lock” the purchase price. It is common with home purchases when a seller has agreed to decrease the initial asking price and the buyer wants to quickly move on the property before other buyers start circling around the property.

How do you get a down payment?

Since a down payment is just a deposit of a large sum of money that equals a percentage of the total cost of a property, you’ll likely need to save to build one that can be used for property loans. Because a loan is a form of credit, you won’t be able to make a down payment with another form of credit such as a credit card.

How much does a down payment affect monthly payment?

This varies by lender, but the larger the down payment is, the lower will be your rate of interest on the loan, meaning a lower interest rate makes your monthly payments lower as well as reduces the overall amount of money you’ll be spending on the loan with the interest rate included. However, there are exceptional cases where there are amazing offers in the market. Carrying out some deep market research can help you dig out some of these deals, but why not let our experienced loan officers help you fish these deals out? This way, you do not end up chasing the wrong leads, and you can also enjoy a balanced loan offer that benefits you greatly. Down payments affect the monthly payment for Federal Housing Administration loans, but don’t affect the monthly payment quite as much as they do for loans offered during a car purchase. Low down payments are typically never favorable to the borrower regardless of the type of loan or the purchase price of the home.

Is a down payment a deposit?

Down payment and deposit can be used interchangeably, but not all deposits are down payments. A down payment is the initial payment required on a property loan and can affect many things regarding the terms of a loan, but loan types differ from a personal loan to zero down loan (that requires no down payment).

What happens when you make a down payment?


You’ve just taken the first big step toward paying off your loan! With a large percentage of the loan amount paid off, you have closed the process of acquiring a property that a lender has helped you pay for temporarily. With real estate loans, making your down payment is when you’ll also begin building home equity. Equity is not a factor on an auto loan or loans on property that is expected to deteriorate with use. A down payment has a measurable effect on your mortgage rate, so in addition to the above, you’ll also know what your monthly payment will be once you’ve made your down payment.