Three elements are crucial to the purchase of a home: the down payment, closing costs, and qualifying for a mortgage. Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know.
Conventional lenders typically require a 5%-20% down payment, although you may be able to find loans with no down payments. With down payments less than 20%, you will likely have to pay private mortgage insurance, which guarantees the lender will be repaid in case of default.
No matter what home you buy, there will be closing costs. These can include discount points, title insurance, escrow fees, attorney fees, a termite report, recording fees, appraisal fees, document preparation fees, notary fees, and loan underwriting fees. Usually, these are due in cash, but sometimes they can be rolled into the mortgage.
Primarily, your income plus the interest rate secured, determines the size of the mortgage for which you qualify. The higher the interest rate, the higher the monthly payment. The higher the monthly payment, the more income you need to qualify for the mortgage.