Coming up with your mortgage down payment is the single biggest roadblock for most homebuyers. Have you saved enough? Use NerdWallet’s free down payment calculator to find out.
The NerdWallet Down Payment Calculator
Saving for a down payment to buy a house can seem overwhelming. But don’t worry, you can break it down into small, actionable moves that can help you save enough to afford a home sooner than you expected.
Four basic steps can help you save enough to buy a house: knowing how much down payment you’ll need, socking away the money, tapping any available outside sources to seed your fund and gaining a small edge with interest.
However you decide to save for your down payment, remember it’s all about persistence and small victories. Set up a monthly transfer to a special savings account, save your bonus instead of buying yourself a present, set aside that tax refund, don’t buy a new car, take advantage of any savings help your bank offers. You get the picture.
» MORE: Join NerdWallet to assess saving on your existing bills (e.g., Comcast) and help you reach your down payment goal faster.
Most lenders are looking for 20% down payments. That’s $60,000 on a $300,000 home. With 20% down, you’ll have a better chance of getting approved for a loan. And you’ll earn a better mortgage rate.
There are all sorts of other benefits, too:
- Lower upfront fees.
- Lower ongoing fees.
- More equity in your home right off the bat.
- A lower monthly payment.
Some lenders and programs will accept less than 20% down, but in most instances you’ll need to buy mortgage insurance. That protects the lender in case you default. If there’s no mortgage insurance requirement, there can be other upfront or ongoing fees. You should always be aware of loan fees.
So work the numbers, and then start saving. You may already be closer to homeownership than you think.