Financing in San Francisco>Question Details

Ageana8, Renter in San Francisco, CA

Is the standard percent down still 20% for a home loan?

Asked by Ageana8, San Francisco, CA Sun Dec 1, 2013

Would love to put as much down as possible but struggling to save for a 20% down payment in San Francisco.

Help the community by answering this question:


20% down or 30% down still will not guarantee protection to the lender's investment on your mortgage if the market collapses. They always want more. (SF didn't loose much in last crash....and it regained in no time either.)

The higher the percentage in down payment only gives a better feel as who will be less likely the looser. i.e. the bank not you.

But in SF, this priced out many people like you. i.e. force you to be a renter, paying your landlord's mortgages.

To you, a realistic question is, is it too far across the bay to buy a larger, better & cheaper home? There are still many opportunities just cross the bridges.

The higher down payment some time is a good play when present to the seller...

If you have the money and do not need to use it, put them into as down payment basically means buying into your equity....which in SF area, has a higher then normal return in short time...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 8, 2013
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 1, 2016
No need for 20% down. I write loans all over the country for qualified borrowers with as little as 5% down. FHA is a loan of last resort, I can even now use gift funds for the down payment in most cases! Questions? Glad to help, give me a call or shoot me an email. Thanks, Ted
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
It depends on the type of loan. FHA is 3.5% down. We deal with lenders that do 5% down conventional loans. Let me know if you need a lender referral. You should speak to a few lenders to get an idea of what they offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2014
You don't have to put down 20%. FHA allows for as low as 3.5% and Conventional has 5% and 10% options. The rates not be as low as 20% down, but not always. Also, with less money down you will have the additional cost of mortgage insurance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2014
Have you looked into FHA loans? These types of loans only require 3.5% down and have easy credit qualification. This is one route you can consider taking if you do not have the 20% down. There are also conventional loans that only require 5% or 10% down. Of course lenders like myself would need to analyze your finances to see if these loans can be offered to you but it is still a possibility if your finances are in place. Either way, the best thing for you to do is to contact a lender about your situation. I would be glad to help you get started on a loan and guide you to the right home financing option. Well I hope this helps! If you have any further questions or if you would like a loan, feel free to contact me! Good Luck! Brian Nguyen Sr. Mortgage Banker NMLS # 659743 Phone: 949.667.2887
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 3, 2014
Government can go as low as 3%. Local SF lenders have 5% with 30 year fixed terms. I recently closed a deal with that latter loan.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 16, 2013
I am in NY and Divorce is pending. I want to get a co-op. Do I have to wait until the divorce is final?. Also please explain the buyout option?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 10, 2013
Sharon you do not have to wait but it would be in your best interest if you did. Otherwise since NY is a equitable distribution state its difficult to prove who's getting what. And which debts will be who's responsibility.

As for buying a co-op not all banks and lenders fund these types of properties so be cautious that you locate one who can. Good luck with everything!
Flag Tue Dec 10, 2013
Ideally if you could put 20% down, you become a "more solid" buyer in the lender's eyes & avoid mortgage insurance which would save you quite a bit either up front or in your monthly payments. However if that's not feasible for you-and you don't want to miss out on buying the house you've been looking for-there are various loans available up to 100%. Some variables will be your credit worthiness and the house itself. Your lender will be the expert on this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
Would 10% or 15% be more comfortable? I ask because depending on your purchase price you could place just 10% down. Its true. Our jumbo loans ranging from $625K to $1.1MM require just 10% down. For loan amounts over $750K you may want to split the loan in two and do what we call a 80/10/10. Which is simply a 80% 1st mortgage, 10% 2nd mortgage and 10% down payment. This will allow you to reach that higher loan amount while avoiding MI or increased interest rates.

And for loan amounts over $1.1MM you simply need to have a 15% down payment. This again depends entirely on the final purchase price. If you have questions or would like to review all the different loan options please contact me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
Kindly forward me the best prices for houses near schools and universities at West Vancouver -
i have a client whom requires a house for purchase and his kids need school
they have completed their 9th in the IGCSE level English Maths need admission for 10th grade and 6th grade

Kindly let me know of the least budgeted CAD $ at the earliest i need a full data with school whom permit transfer - with house near by
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
There are options for less but most will require Private Mortgage Insurance ( the less down the higher the lender risk, so the thinking goes). FHA is 3.5; you can get a 5 % conventional. USDA has 0% down but they are location specific and income eligible. See a good lender to review options. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013

There are various programs that allow let than 20% down for the purchase of primary residence. On conventional loans many lenders offer as little as 5% down but will require PMI (private mortgage insurance). FHA program allows 3.5% down with PMI & there are others, but each have different guideline may want to check with several mortgage lenders & inquiry about options available for your situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
For a payment without PMI or insurance 20% down is the minimum. But in certain areas you can apply for a usda loan which finances 100%+ without the extra cost. FHA has some fantastic low down payment programs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
Here in Michigan you can Buy for as little as 1% of the sales price with a MSHDA loan, 3.5% with an FHA loan and 5% on a conventional loan. For answers to your specific questions you can contact me by email at, text or just call me at 734 329-4128
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 8, 2013
You could also ask for a Seller concession in the amount you need to achieve 20% down. The concession can not exceed 5% of the sales price. For more specific info you can contact me at, text or just call 734 329-4128
Flag Mon Dec 9, 2013
Check out Homepath foreclosures, FHA approved condominiums, local banks programs...

Hope this helps,

Irina Karan
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 8, 2013
What is a good loan to get when you trying to buy a investment property in miami fl
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 8, 2013
Tight lending standards are the new normal - again. As someone who has purchased multiple properties in the Bay Area over the last 15 years, I can attest to the changes. Prices are high, if you don't have the down payment, you'll face higher monthly payments. I'll give a real world example: We sold an east bay "starter" house to our tenants in mid 2013, where the buyer used an FHA loan. Their payments were almost $2,500 PITI and FHA surcharges (we had the house rented for $2,100). If they had gone conventional, their PIti would have been about $1,800.

So, because the buyer didn't have a down payment, their monthly payment was about 39% higher. No down = less house and higher payments.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 8, 2013
FHA IS only 3.5% if your credit score qualifies
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 8, 2013
Yeah, but you have to pay a fairly high mortgage insurance for the life of the loan.
Flag Sun Dec 8, 2013
Depends on the type of loan you are looking to take out! FHA is 3.5% down! You should go talk to a Mortgage Broker/Lender and see what they can do for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 8, 2013
Do you have to put 20 percent down on a investment property?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 8, 2013
My dad wants to buy a house in Augusta GA but is credit is bad.. he has the mobey to pay more than half of the down payment even more... what are his options
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 8, 2013
Augusta , ,name is sal
Flag Mon Dec 9, 2013
a private mortgage holder or a seller who can work with the money he has.
what kind of a house is he looking for single family or a income propertty?
what price range ? maybe i could help ,no charge to him.
Flag Mon Dec 9, 2013
With such a large downpayment there is a possibility of the owner making a private loan for your father, he would look for properties which advertise owner "may carry." Also he may try getting into a situation of lease to own. He might include a co-buyer with better credit.
Flag Sun Dec 8, 2013

The simplest answer is that at 20% down, you avoid either mortgage insurance (PMI or FHA equivalent) or having to take a second mortgage (piggyback loan). This is the reason 20% remains the target for many, not that no other options exist.

Several agents also touched on another important component. If the real estate market is highly competitive, a larger down payment tends to speak louder to the seller and make your offer look stronger.

Best of luck,

Rob Spinosa
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 2, 2013

I would agree with my colleague's sentiments here. There are a multitude of loan options that start at 0% down all the way to 90% and everything in between. The key is finding a good lender who you can trust and work well with. If you have any friends or family who can connect you that's always great, but in the event you don't please feel free to reach out to me as I work with some of the best lenders in the city. I’m always happy to be a trusted resource for all things real estate in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

All the best and good luck!

Aaron Bellings
Realtor, Vanguard Properties
BRE #01915431
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 2, 2013
There are many lower down payment options available. Discuss with your loan officer what might best fit your needs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 2, 2013
Lots of answers to that question... If you can put 20% or more down payment, you will not pay 'mortgage insurance'
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 2, 2013
You can put whatever amount down you want as long as you can afford the payment. There are zero down loans, 3%, 10%, 20% and about a hundred variations. You need to talk to a lender, other than your bank, who can teach you a little about this.

J.R. Thrasher
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 2, 2013
I can help you with a 10% down home loan with no mortgage insurance.

Alex Greer
Loan Officer
NMLS #1056079

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 2, 2013
While 20% is still the norm for a single family house, and 25% for condo and townhouses, there are actually 6 options you have. Whether that will increase or decrease your chances of your offer being accepted, is another story.

1. FHA Loan
2. Conventional 97 Loan
3. Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac
4. The Home Path Program
5. State Specific Program
6. VA Loan

Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 2, 2013
In San Francisco, almost all houses are getting multiple offers. While there are lots of ways to make sure your offer comes out on top that are free (and don't involve a down payment of 20%), if you can put 20% down that does make your offer stronger. Also, the hard truth is that VA and Home Path loans are often passed over as listing agents and sellers are evaluating offers. However, you could qualify for a *conventional* loan with only 5% down. You definitely need have a solid loan backing your offer up in this market, especially in the city.

Kam @ 1st Tech Federal Credit just closed a conventional loan for me with 5% down... and she's fast. E-mail 650.845-4983

Please tell her Monika thinks she's the rockstar of lenders.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 1, 2013
Besides FHA's 3.5% down, many Homepath properties qualify for 3% down (10% down for investors), USDA & VA both offer $0 down, and one of my personal favorites: with good FICO's (720 or better) & 5% down you maybe able to qualify for a conventional loan with out mortgage insurance so speak to a reputable lender.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 1, 2013

Although a generic answer, 20% down or greater is the most common number that we care currently seeing on homes that are not FHA eligible. Although there are always exceptions, the bottom line is that most sellers and their agents will be looking for that 20% down on normal sales.

Obviously, you can think about it from the standpoint of what you DO have to work with and adjust your max price point from there. That being said, you should be speaking to a licensed financial professional to understand your true budget, etc.

I wish you the best on your search!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 1, 2013
Good evening Ageana! Considering the home values and the hot market in San Francisco an FHA loan (3.5% down) won't fly. We offer a loan product that will allow you to purchase a home with only 15 % down and no mortgage insurance. Feel free to call me to discuss the details. Darren Carlin Mortgage Loan Originator / Jr. partner Pacificwide Lending 5506 Sunol Blvd. Pleasanton California 94566 Cell phone number (925) 872-0695
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 1, 2013
Not at all. In fact you can go as low as 3.5% down payment on an FHA loan. Of course there are a few differences in monthly payments aside from just the down payment. Anything under 20% down will require mortgage insurance, which is an added amount to your monthly payment. It may seem confusing at first, but I would be happy to discuss this in detail and provide you a few different mortgage brokers that can guide you and provide specific scenarios as well. You can reach me via email or phone and I look forward to hearing from you.


George Langford - Senior Sales Associate
Founder of and
Climb Real Estate Group
251 Rhode Island, Suite 105
San Francisco, CA 94103
T: 415.336.8191
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 1, 2013
20% down is very common, but there are certain loans that will allow you to put down less. Have you discussed your options with a Mortgage Broker?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 1, 2013
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