Looking to buy a condo in the 300K range. In this market, how much should I have saved for a downpayment? Diane , Carlsbad

Asked by Diane, San Diego, CA Fri Mar 8, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Raana Jamshi…, Agent, San Diego, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013
You will need to talk to a loan officer to help you in choosing a program that will suit you best. If you are getting VA loan you can go with 0 down payment but you will still need some closing cost. You can get FHA loan and have 3.5% down or get a conventional loan with as low as 5%. You will need down payment and your closing cost. First step would be to contact a mortgage broker and then chose a REALTOR to help you with your search and your purchase. Any agent in this forum can help you.
Best wishes,
1 vote
Frederick Re…, Agent, SAN DIEGO, CA
Sat Mar 9, 2013
You can do as little as 3.5% with an FHA loan, but as others have said it needs to be FHA approved to do this. To be honest it's hard to get Sellers to accept FHA offers over others so conventional loans (10-20%) look better to Sellers. The market in entry level properties has gone up about 10% in the last year and continues to rise. I do know of a couple "deals" in the Carlsbad area and will be happy to email these to you. Frederick Remick 619-519-3287
0 votes
Daniel Lehman, , San Diego County, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013

With an FHA loan, the complex NEEDS to be FHA approved. You might be talking about a lender FACILITATING the FHA approval, but there does need to be an approval... We do FHA condo approvals, but when you pull an FHA case number and are working with a condo, there is a required field that needs to be put in, which is the condo approval number. You cant pull an FHA case number without it...

If a complex is not approved, you can GET it approved, but there is no FHA lending on complexes that are not FHA approved.

0 votes
Cory La Scala, Agent, San Diego, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013
Hi Diane,

Many agents don't know that a condo complex does not have to be FHA approved to buy with a FHA loan. As long as the numbers on certain FHA criteria check out, some lenders will lend on it, although most won't. I can help you out there. It's so important to be able to think outside of the box in tight markets like this one!

Warm Regards,

Cory La Scala
Independence Realty
CA DRE 01443391
0 votes
Daniel Lehman, , San Diego County, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013
FHA is a little limiting to find due to the fact that the projects have to be FHA approved, but you also have to consider the fact that 5% down conventional could potentially present issues based on the condo as well... (budget items, HOA delinquencies, etc...)

So, best case is conventional with at least 10% down. In that case you can get what is called a "limited review" which would help in the condo project approval process...

0 votes
Troy King, , San Diego, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013
As almost everyone else has mentioned already, talk to a lender first. But as far as your question is concerned there are tons of factors to consider, many of which will only come to light when you've actually chosen a property to make an offer on. While its not unheard of to get an offer accepted with 3.5% down it is also an uphill battle as all other offers will seem more attractive to a seller in most cases. I'd shoot for 20% if possible but don't be discouraged by that figure if its not possible in your case. We're seeing a ton of multiple offer situations and its best to stand out from the crowd. But again much of the factors will come to light when you've narrowed down your search. Good luck.
0 votes
Rashard Scott, Agent, San Diego, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013

As some of the other Realtors have mentioned, your down payment will be determined by your individual situation. I have some of the best lenders that could give you a quick answer to what your payments would be and what you qualify for. My advice would be to get a conventional loan to purchase a condo, because VA and FHA loans require the complex to be approved, which will limit your options.

VA loans 0%, FHA 3.5%, Conventional 5- 20% down are typical ,then you also have to factor in the closing costs which are usually around 2% of the purchase price.

Please feel free to contact me anytime to get pre-approved for a loan and/or to start searching for that perfect home. Have a great weekend!


Rashard Scott
Keller Williams Realty
CA DRE 01703306
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013
Although FHA is an options, there are two current challenges with it...

1) Limited choices because the complex must be FHA approved
2) Frankly, it's incredibly difficult to get an FHA offer accepted right now.

This price range is selling like hot cakes and I've yet to get an FHA offer accepted this year. 'Stronger' offers are typically accepted...which means those with stronger down payments.

Strive for at least 5% down, preferably 10-20%....the more you have the better, right now...please let me know if I can assist you further.

Take care.
0 votes
Daniel Lehman, , San Diego County, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013
Diane, you have a couple options. The first thing you can do is go FHA which would be 3.5 percent down or you can go conventional it as little as 5% down.

There are some other things to look out for though. First if you go conventional you have to make sure that the Condo project would qualify. If you're looking to go FHA you would just have to make sure that the condo project was FHA approved.

If you're not looking to buy immediately I would probably advise going the conventional route due to some changes in the works for FHA financing.

But there is a lot to consider. If you'd like me to help you work out the different options I'm definitely willing to do so.

Daniel Lehman
0 votes
Michele Hodge, Agent, La Mesa, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013
Wayne is correct. Another couple things to consider are closing costs, offer strength, and private mortgage insurance.

Of course the more you have down the better, but if you have a strong proactive agent, you can beat the competition.

I would love to help you take advantage of the great interest rates and great prices. Do you have a Realtor that is on your side to find you the perfect condo?

Please contact me with any questions. I am happy to help!

Michele Hodge
Keller Williams Realty
License # 01889404
0 votes
Sinead McAll…, Agent, Oceanside, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013
Hi Diane,
I would love to assist you in your home purchase. The market is super competitive right now, so the more you can put down the better. Loan programs range from no down payment (VA) to 3.5% for a FHA loan, to conventional loans that go from 5% up. I am very successful at assisting my buyers to get their offers accepted, so feel free to reach out to me directly and we can get it the process started for you ASAP.

Sinead McAllister-Clifford
Real Estate Broker/ Realtor®
Trulia's #1 Recommended Broker in Oceanside!

McAllister Homes Real Estate
Residential Sales & Property Management
License 01366009
858-205-5215 CELL
brokermcallister@gmail.com EMAIL
0 votes
Fay Yates Re…, , San Diego, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013
Hi Diane, You should talk to a lender and get yourself prequalified before starting your search to buy a property. Lenders have different loan programs that you may qualify for. I'll be happy to help you with your home search and recommend lenders for you to talk to. Feel free to contact me directly

Best regards,
Fay Yates
HomeSmart Realty West
0 votes
Wayne L. Bro…, , San Diego, CA
Fri Mar 8, 2013
It depends on which loan route that you intend to go.

If you are a Verteran, you can go in with as little as 0 down.

FHA requires 3.5 % down

Conventional, you will need at least 5% down.

If you need free advise, please do not hesitate to contact me through Trulia. There is no cost or obligation. Otherwise, contact someone that you feel comfortable with, and who is knowledgeable who will answer all of your questions.

Good Luck.

Wayne Brown
Security National Mortgage Company
NMLS # 343946
Company NMLS 3116
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more