Why you need a home down payment

An ideal down payment is at least 20% with a 10% set aside for emergencies, if it is possible at all.

Here’s why

Avoid private mortgage insurance

If you borrow more than 80% of the home’s value, you’ll usually have to pay private mortgage insurance, which protects the lender if you default on your loan. That tends to cost 0.5% to 1% of the loan value, up to $3,500 per year on a $350,000 home, or $5,000 on a $500,000 home. It’s money that doesn’t go toward your principal or interest.

Lower your payments
Lower your rate
have some equity in case one has to move earlier than expected.

“In the early years, you aren’t building any equity with the mortgage payment,” Eisenberg says. “If the market changes or your personal circumstances change and you’re forced to sell, you could lose money” if you made little or no down payment. The equity in your home can also give you an extra source of cash in an emergency.

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