back to top

About Us

Tips & News

You Can Buy a House Without 20% Down

How much of a down payment do you really need to buy a home? Saving up a down payment is one of the biggest obstacles for most people when buying a home. You may have heard the old rule that you need to save 20% down to buy a home.

44% of Americans believe you need a down payment of 20% or more to buy a home. But that’s not actually true. You can buy a home for less—sometimes, a lot less. In fact, the average first-time buyer puts just 7% down, while the average buyer puts 13% down.

What is a Down Payment?

If you’re not going to buy your home with cash, you’ll need a mortgage. While some loans will actually allow you to buy a home with a 0% down payment, most loans require you to put at least some money down.

If you purchase a $200,000 home and put $20,000 down, you have a 10% down payment. 20% down would be $40,000, which is quite a chunk of change to save up. Good thing it doesn’t have to be that much!

A Down Payment Impacts Your Monthly Payment

How much money you put down impacts your monthly payment. So if you want a lower monthly payment, put more money down.

Not only are you borrowing less money from the lender, but putting more money down means that you will likely have access to better interest rates. Better interest rates also lower your monthly payment.

Lower Down Payment Options

There are several well-known low down payment loan options. There are sometimes other low down payment loan programs, as well, depending on what’s available when you’re looking for a home.

VA Loan

If you served in the military for the minimum amount of time (90 days during wartime, 181 days of active duty during a peaceful time, or 6 years in the Reserves), you can get a home loan with 0% down and limited closing costs.

Interest rates for VA loans are often lower than they are for conventional loans because these loans are backed by the government, reducing the risk for the lender.


A USDA or Rural Housing loan allows you to get a home with 100% financing. This program encourages people to buy in rural areas as well as some suburban areas that aren’t densely populated.

Interest rates for USDA loans are often lower than they are for conventional loans because they are backed by the government, reducing the risk for the lender.

FHA Loan

An FHA loan is geared toward low- and moderate-income buyers who don’t have ideal credit or a lot of money for a down payment. This loan program allows you to buy a home for just 3.5% down.

Conventional 3% Down Programs

There are also a couple of 3% down programs that allow you to put less down on a home. If you’re interested in this option, let’s sit down and see what might work for you and your situation!

Private Mortgage Insurance

If you don’t put at least 20% down on a home, you’ll most likely pay private mortgage insurance (or PMI), though this isn’t always the case. (VA and USDA loans do not have PMI, for instance.)

PMI protects the lender in case you default on the loan, and the premium is usually added to your monthly payment.

However, paying PMI isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Trying to avoid it can actually cost you in the long run if you put off purchasing a home while you’re trying to save 20% down.

Need Some Help?

If you’re wanting to buy a home but aren’t sure how much you’re going to need to put down, give us a call! We have a lot of options and might be able to get you into a home sooner than you think.

“CSMC is always our go to lender. Denise Bizzy is fabulous. She really went the extra mile trouble shooting solutions to problems our client had. I do not believe another lender would have been able to pull this off. Five stars for the A+ service from Denise Bizzy and CSMC Mortgage!”

- Mark L.

“This review is about Mark and Darci Richardson from CSMC Mortage in Simi Valley. This team is the BEST! For the past 12 years our home was "underwater" due to the "crash" in 2007, and unable to do anything with the mortgage except pay it. These two kept on top of things and finally the house qualified to REFI. We just completed everything and it closed last week... and they saved us over $900 a month!! That's a huge savings for a couple of senior citizens! We are SO happy now and finally can breathe. Thanks to Mark and Darci and CSMC Mortgage for following through, jumping through all the hoops necessary and helping us out! I can't recommend them more... they are the BEST!!!”

- Shari S.

“Darci, Mark and their team of professionals made the purchase for our amazing buyers absolutely seamless. The level of service they provide is second to none! They delivered the best rate and the best terms for the clients. Mark and Darci are very transparent with their fees and have a stellar reputation in the community. I highly recommend Darci and Mark for all your mortgage needs!”

- Gabby G.

“Laura Hertz is the best lender I've ever worked with in my 25 years as a Realtor. I never have to worry that she has things handles and she always performs in the best way possible. I also know that she is an advocate for my buyers and not only does she meet their expectations but she exceeds them! She is my lender for life!”

- Paula K.

“Mark, Darci & Co were wonderful to work with! They were responsive, managed a complex buying situation with ease, incredibly communicative and always ensured I was caught up with what was going on and where I was in the process. Heavily recommend!”

- Zach J.

“ Mario provided excellent service. Not only was he professional and helpful, but the personal support and reliability was something hard to find these days. I will not be using anyone else and have confidently referred him to friends and family.”

- Heather C.

“ My experience is always fantastic & seamless. Mayen Grigorian is a true professional. He’s honest, he goes above and beyond, he’s efficient, always available and knowledgeable. I never have to call for updates he beats me to it and sends updates regarding the loan. Our clients are very happy and we’re very happy! Five star service, I can’t say enough good things about Mayen as a person and a professional. Hands down! He’s The Best!”

- Taline S.

“Faye helped me purchase my first home last year. She was very professional and worked very quickly to help me procure financing. She made herself available around my schedule and took the time to explain my options for financing to help me get the lowest rate possible. Would highly recommend her to anyone looking for someone that is professional, highly knowledgeable, polite, and responsive.”

- James Z.