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5 common down payment misconceptions

What you don't know could be holding you back

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Before you let the cost of a down payment get in the way of your homeownership dream, make sure you fully understand the options available to you.

According to Down Payment Resource, consumers are motivated to buy, but the down payment continues to be a primary obstacle.

“Most homebuyers don’t know to look for or ask about homeownership programs that could help them both in the short and long term. The requirements and benefits of programs vary greatly and may help buyers save on their down payment and closing costs, gain a lower interest rate or enjoy a healthy tax credit for the life of their loan,” said Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource.

To help sort through the confusion, Down Payment Resource compiled this list of five misconceptions homebuyers have about down payments.

Myth 1: Programs are only for first-time homebuyers.

While first-time homebuyer programs may be common, it’s important to note that the definition of a first-time homebuyer is someone who has not owned a home in three years. In addition, the index finds that 37% of programs do not have a first-time homebuyer requirement.

Myth 2: Homeownership programs make financing more difficult.

There are now more than 2,400 programs available across the country and 85% have funds available for homebuyers. It’s important for new buyers to seek homeownership education. It’s often a requirement for down payment programs and it gives buyers confidence with the home buying process, financing options, including down payment programs, and budgeting.

Myth 3: You need to put 20% down.

Today, a 20% down payment is not required and depending on the buyer’s situation, it may not be optimal. Homeownership programs allow buyers to save on the down payment and retain savings for home maintenance and improvements. Today’s programs include grants, first mortgages with below-market interest rates and annual tax credits.

Myth 4: Programs aren’t available in my area.

There are programs available in every community across the country – rural and urban. It’s important for buyers to search for programs early in their home-buying journey because it may help determine the most affordable part of town or price point.

Myth 5: It’s too expensive to buy in my market. 

More than 14% of programs are designed for individuals providing an important community service, including educators, protectors, healthcare workers, veterans and other special circumstances. Especially helpful in high-cost markets, these programs help workers live in the communities they serve.

For more help, here is a list of the top 10 most affordable housing markets for low down payments. 

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