Having a 20% down payment used to be a requirement for nearly all loans. That hasn’t been the case for quite some time, but it’s still touted as the conventional wisdom. In many cases, that may be true, but it’s not always the best idea. There are both advantages and disadvantages to putting 20% down.
If you have the money available already, it’s quite likely that the benefits heavily outweigh the drawbacks. Even though 20% down is no longer a requirement to get a loan, it is still a requirement to avoid mortgage insurance fees. Putting 19% down, for example, simply makes no financial sense at all, regardless of your financial situation. It’s also good to put down as much as you feasibly can in order to reduce the loan amount, thereby reducing your payments. The 20% mark is important if you can reach it.
If you still need to save money in order to achieve a 20% down payment, you’re going to need to crunch some numbers and also make some predictions in order to arrive at the correct solution. If you’re close to being able to put down 20%, it may be in your best interest to continue saving up to avoid mortgage insurance fees. But if you aren’t close, it may be best to simply forget about it. Even if you are definitely able to save money, by the time you get to the point that you can put down whatever 20% is now, home prices are likely to be significantly higher. In that case, it may be better not to wait. You also need to consider other costs and where you’re getting the money. If you need to take out a loan or draw on investments to reach 20%, this is probably not a good investment, unless it’s the only way you can viably make a home purchase.
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