How Much Of A Down Payment Should I Make On My New Home in WA State?

April 7, 2020
Last updated:
September 20, 2021
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There are many variables that go into the process of determining how much a given buyer should put down as a down payment on a home in WA State. 

There are a lot of steps that people need to take when buying a home. One of the most common issues that people discuss is the down payment. Most banks will require a down payment so that they aren’t the only ones taking on the risk of buying a home. The common question people have is the exact amount for how much down for a home.

This isn’t an easy question to answer. Deciding how much for a new home down payment depends on a multitude of factors. 

One reason for this is because the size of your down payment is often influenced by the market you’re looking to buy in. In the State of Washington, for instance, there are many markets in which buyers likely need to put down more than 20% in order to avoid an astronomically large monthly payment obligation. 

As an example, the city of Bellevue currently has a median home value of approximately $1,221,793, as of September 2021. If a buyer wanted to have a reasonable monthly payment, a down payment of more than 20% would be necessary. There are many other markets in Washington State which also have relatively high median home values.

In this post, we will examine the different variables which play a role in determining what down payment size is optimal in a given scenario. Determining what size of a down payment is optimal is often a complex issue. 

The Rule Of Thumb

Most people have heard about placing 20% down on a house as a solid rule of thumb. This number has been passed down from prior generations who purchased houses with similar down payments.

On the other hand, the price of housing has risen over the past few decades and this down payment might not be possible for some people. While 20% down might work for some people, it might not be feasible for others. 

Let’s look at another concrete example to understand this consideration. In the city of Seattle, the median home value is about $871,743, as of September 2021. This means that a down payment of 20% is about $174,348. That’s a fairly big sum of money. 

Most people will only have that sum to place down on a home after a long period of saving. Markets such as Seattle, therefore, often lead to lower down payments as a matter of necessity.

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Other Considerations

There are several additional factors that homebuyers need to think about. First, how big of a down payment is the bank requiring? 

Some banks might not lend to someone at all if they don’t reach a certain threshold. In other cases, the lender might ask someone to purchase something called private mortgage insurance, often abbreviated PMI.

This is an insurance policy that the borrower will have to purchase for the lender. If the borrower loses the home in foreclosure, the lender gets its money back through this insurance policy. Obviously, borrowers do not want to have this added expense. 

This is where the down payment is important. In most cases, lenders will require PMI whenever a buyer puts down less than 20%. 

However, if a buyer puts down less than 20% and obtains PMI, the borrower can request the PMI be removed provided certain parameters are met. For specifics on how you can request your mortgage lender to remove PMI, you can see the requirements here. PMI Removal

In addition, banks might also be willing to lower the interest rate on the mortgage if the borrower increases the size of the down payment. With a lower interest rate, this can save someone a substantial amount of money down the road. 

Try to see if the lender will lower the interest rate in exchange for a larger down payment. This is a huge benefit of a larger down payment. The buyer can use the larger down payment as a bargaining chip for a lower interest rate, and that translates into big savings over the course of the loan.

Deciding The Down Payment

These are a few of the many factors that homebuyers should think about when thinking about the down payment. While nobody wants to pay more than they should, the down payment is only one of the financial aspects people need to consider. 

Buyers looking in WA State need to be particularly aware of the many variables which go into the process of determining your down payment size. This is partly because Washington State has so many markets that have relatively high home values. 

If you want to buy in a pricey home market, such as Kirkland or Bellevue, you’ll need to figure out what sort of down payment works best for you.

As always, call your trusted mortgage planning professional to help you decide on the best solution for your personal situation.

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Reach Out to Sammamish Mortgage for Additional Counsel

As mentioned, the topic of determining your down payment can be complex. The whole topic can’t be property addressed in a single article. Hopefully, we’ve covered some of the key points of this topic, but if you’d like further information don’t hesitate to contact us. Sammamish Mortgage is a family-owned mortgage company based in the Pacific Northwest since 1992. We have a team of professionals who can offer advanced counsel on the topic of down payments. Visit our site and you can also View Rates to see current mortgage rates or click to get an Instant Rate Quote. You can also Apply Now with our cutting-edge automated online application system.

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