Preparing Your Finances & Getting Pre-Approved


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Saving for a Down Payment

Find out how much to save and get tips for reaching your goal.

For many people, saving for a down payment is one of the many barriers to buying a home. Some loans require a down payment of 5% to 20% of the price of the home—which can be a big chunk of change.

But having a sizeable down payment does have benefits:

  • The more you put down, the lower your monthly payment will be
  • If you have 20% down, you won’t need Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
  • A bigger down payment can help you qualify for a lower rate

Set a down payment savings goal.

Before you know how much you need to save, think realistically about how much you’ll be spending on your home purchase. If you don’t have a price range in mind, get pre-approved or use our affordability calculator to determine a reasonable range. Once you’ve got your number, set your sights on saving 5% to 20% of that amount.  

Put time on your side.

If you’re not looking to buy immediately, you can break your savings goal down into more manageable monthly amounts. If you need to save $10,000 and want to buy in about a year, you’ll need to save about $840 a month.


If you don’t have a large down payment, you still have options.

Cut out and cut back.

Finding extra money to put toward a down payment isn’t easy, but if you take a careful look at your budget, you will likely find things to cut out or cut back on. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Put a temporary hold on non-essentials like new clothes, eating out, gym memberships and vacations
  • See if you can switch to less expensive cable, internet and cell phone plans
  • Set up an automatic transfer to savings account dedicated to your down payment

Alternative down payment options.

Many people borrow from family and friends to help finance a down payment. But depending on how much you borrow, this may be a factor in which loans you qualify for. A PNC Mortgage loan officer can provide more details on other down payment options, such as gifts from family, loans from friends, or borrowing from a retirement fund to pay for a down payment without the usual penalties. If you’re considering any of these options, we recommend consulting with a financial advisor to discuss the pros and cons.

Consider lower down payment options.

If saving 5% to 20% just isn’t realistic, don’t be discouraged. You may qualify for a no or low down payment mortgage options, such as Fannie Mae's 3% down payment program or government backed VA and FHA loans. Check out the different loans PNC has to offer. to review what’s available from PNC. Or contact one of our Loan Officers to see if you qualify for any specialized loans.

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Want a more complete picture of your home loan?

Explore the Understanding Home Lending Center to learn the mortgage process, find the right loan or line of credit for you, and explore options to lower your payments. 

Learn More »

Pre-Approval 101

When you’re starting to get serious about house hunting, getting pre-approved by a mortgage lender can be a smart move.

Digital Pre-Approval

A pre-approval is a written commitment from a lender that you qualify for up to a specific loan amount based on your income and credit information. 

The lender will also analyze your credit report (for you and any co-applicant) to determine if you qualify and what rate you may be offered. Having an average or better credit score will work in your favor. Learn more about some financial basics before you buy.

  • Shop for a home with confidence, knowing that you have a firm lending commitment.
  • Show sellers and agents that you're a serious buyer.
  • Streamline your home search by looking at homes in your price range.
  • Budget around your estimated monthly payments.


Important Legal Disclosures & Information

Borrower must satisfy pre-approval conditions outlined in commitment letter. Final loan approval and amount are subject to verification of loan data, property appraisal and underwriting conditions. 

Pre-Qualification is not a commitment to lend, a condition of loan approval or an application for credit.

Final loan approval and amount are subject to verification of loan data, property appraisal and underwriting conditions.

PNC, PNC HomeHQ, PNC Home Insight and Home Insight are registered service marks of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. ("PNC"). PNC has a pending patent application directed at various features and functions of Home Insight® and Home Insight® Planner. All loans are provided by PNC Bank, National Association, a subsidiary of PNC, and are subject to credit approval and property appraisal.

Equal Housing Lender ©2023 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

PNC Bank, National Association.

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