For many people, saving for a down payment is one of the most challenging parts of the home buying process. 

 

Many 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 mortgage payment will be.
  • If you have a 20% down, you won’t need Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).
  • A bigger down payment could help you qualify for a lower mortgage 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 program or government backed VA and FHA loans. Check out our loan comparison chart to review what’s available from PNC. Or contact one of our Loan Officers to see if you qualify for any specialized loans.