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What Is a Down Payment?

A down payment is a quantity of money paid by a buyer at the start of the purchasing process for an expensive item or service. The down payment is only a part of the entire buying price, so the buyer will most likely need to take out a loan to cover the rest.

How Down Payments Work

A down payment on a house is a classic example of a down payment. The home buyer may pay 5% to 25% of the entire cost of the home up front, with the remainder covered by a mortgage from a bank or other financial institution. Car down payments function in a similar way.

In some situations, if the contract falls through due to the purchaser, the down money is not recoverable. A deposit is another term for a down payment, and 0% to 5% deposit mortgages for first-time home buyers are common.

Examples of Down Payments

Home Purchases

The typical benchmark in the United States has been a 20% down payment on a home. Mortgages with 10% or 15% down are also available, and there are options to buy a home with as little as 3.5 percent down, such as with an FHA loan.

Cooperative flats, or co-ops, which are widespread in various cities, are one instance where a bigger down payment is sometimes required. Many lenders will want a 25% down payment, and some high-end co-ops may even require a 50% down payment, though this is not common.

Of course, if you want to, you can put down more than the minimum.

Benefits of a Large Down Payment

Making the largest down payment you can afford will reduce the amount of interest you pay over the loan’s life, lower your monthly payments, and, in some situations, eliminate the need for insurance. The following are the specific details:


The larger your down payment, the less you’ll need to borrow and the less interest you’ll pay. For example, if you borrow $100,000 and pay a 5% interest rate, you’ll pay $5,000 in interest alone in the first year. If you put down an extra $20,000 and borrow only $80,000, however, your first-year interest will be only $4,000, saving you $1,000.

Over time, the difference becomes even more obvious. For example, a $100,000 loan at 5% interest would cost $93,256 in interest over the course of 30 years. Borrow just $80,000 and your total interest costs will be $74,605, saving you approximately $20,000 in interest costs.

Furthermore, if you can put more money down, a lender may offer you a cheaper interest rate on your loan because you are a lower risk.

Monthly Payments

A greater down payment will also lower your monthly payments. Using the same example as before, a $100,000 loan would demand $537 in monthly payments, whereas a $80,000 loan would require $429.

Mortgage Insurance

A greater down payment on a property can help you avoid paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which reimburses your lender if you don’t make your loan payments. If you have a 20% down payment or more, your lender is unlikely to need PMI. (If you can’t afford a 20% down payment and must purchase PMI, keep in mind that you can ask your lender to eliminate the requirement once your home’s equity exceeds 20%.)

How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment?

If you’re not financing the purchase, your lender or the seller may impose a minimum down payment. This is usually expressed as a percentage of the purchasing price. While the quantity may be negotiated in some cases, you’ll almost certainly need that much to complete the purchase.

Putting more money down, on the other hand, can cut your monthly payments and total expenditures, as indicated above. As a result, if you need to keep your monthly budget under a certain amount, you may need to make a bigger down payment.

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