We are starting a new blog series for 2017, to address some of the frequently asked questions among Seattle-area home buyers. Today’s entry answers the question: How can I buy a house with a low down payment in Seattle, Washington? Which mortgage options are best for someone seeking a low down payment?
Buying a Home in Seattle With a Low Down Payment
There are several ways to buy a home with a low down payment in Seattle. But what does “low” mean, exactly? In this context, we’re talking about mortgage loans that offer a down payment of 5% or less. There are several ways to accomplish such a goal.
Here are three low-down-payment mortgage options for Seattle home buyers with limited funds saved up:
1. Conventional Loan with 3% Down Payment
Definition: A conventional mortgage loan is one that is not insured or guaranteed by the government. This sets it apart from the FHA and VA loan options described below.
It’s a common misconception that conventional home loans require a down payment of 20%. The truth is that many lenders today are offering conventional mortgages with down payments as low as 3%. So this is one way to buy a home in Seattle with less money down.
Fannie Mae, for instance, offers a 97% loan-to-value (LTV) financing option that allows eligible borrowers to put just 3% down when buying a home. Please contact us if you’re interested in this program, or any of the other options explained on this page.
Of course, if you use a conventional loan and put less than 20% down, there’s a chance you’ll end up paying private mortgage insurance, or PMI. This is a common trade-off, and we’ve discussed it in detail below.
2. FHA Loan with 3.5% Down Payment
Through the FHA loan program, you could buy a home in Seattle with a down payment as low as 3.5%. This is a popular mortgage financing option for home buyers who don’t have a lot of money saved up for a down payment.
Another potential benefit is that FHA loan are generally easier to obtain, when compared to the conventional mortgage loans mentioned above. That’s because lenders receive insurance protection from the Federal Housing Administration, in the case of borrower default. So there’s an added layer of protection involved with this particular program.
If you want to buy a home in Seattle with a low down payment, give the FHA mortgage program a look. And be sure to contact us with any questions you have!
3. VA Loan with No Down Payment
If you’re a member of the military, it’s hard to beat the VA loan program. That’s because it allows you to buy a home in Seattle with no down payment whatsoever.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan program rewards our brave men and women in uniform. It offers 100% financing to eligible borrowers, which eliminates the need for a down payment altogether. You can put money down if you choose to, in order to reduce the size of your monthly payments. You just don’t have to.
Unlike most low-down-payment mortgage options in Seattle, VA-eligible borrowers can also avoid paying mortgage insurance (in most cases). As you can see, it’s one of the best options available for military members.
Low Down Payments Usually Require Mortgage Insurance
If you buy a home in Seattle with a low down payment, you might be required to pay mortgage insurance on the loan. This would increase the size of your monthly payments.
When the loan-to-value ratio rises above 80%, mortgage insurance is usually required. This is true for both conventional and FHA loans. This insurance reduces the amount of risk for the lender, which in turn can help you qualify for a loan you might not otherwise be able to get. But it does increase the overall cost. So it’s one more thing to consider.
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