How much do I need to put down?
A down payment of 20% or more helps you get a lower interest rate and avoid paying private mortgage insurance. But you may not need that much. These loans have lower down payment options for home buyers:
- Fixed-rate conventional loans usually require a down payment of at least 3%
- FHA loans have a minimum down payment of 3.5% whether you're getting a fixed or adjustable rate
- VA loans are available with no down payment for veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families
Keep in mind that your minimum down payment may be higher if you're buying a second home or an investment property. Ask a Home Loan Expert about your options.
What's included in my monthly payment?
Your monthly mortgage payment is made up of principal and interest, and that’s what our calculator shows. The principal portion goes toward paying off the total amount you’ve borrowed. The interest is a percentage of the amount borrowed that you pay to your lender.
For many homeowners, the monthly mortgage payment includes more than just principal and interest. It can also include property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums if you have an escrow account with your loan. An escrow account allows you to pay for your taxes and insurance premiums as part of your monthly mortgage payment.
Don’t forget – if the neighborhood where you’re buying a home includes a homeowners association (HOA), you may want to add your HOA fees into your monthly payment budget as well. However, your HOA fees probably won’t be paid for as part of your mortgage payment.
Should I choose a long term or short term?
Your loan term represents the number of years over which you pay back your loan. A shorter-term loan will generally have a lower interest rate than a longer-term loan, meaning you’ll pay less in interest over the life of your loan. On the other hand, longer-term loans offer lower monthly payments.
What factors determine my interest rate?
Did you know that many factors affect your mortgage rate? Here are just a few examples:
- Type of loan
- Credit history
- Loan amount
- Down payment amount
In general, your interest rate is based on the level of risk that lenders predict for your loan – that’s why so many factors contribute to your individual rate. On top of that, mortgage rates change daily based on market trends.