- Minimum Down Payment: 5%
- Mortgage Insurance: Yes; for loans made over 80% loan-to-value (Read More)
- More Information: (Read More)
Lenders are in the risk minimization game. The safer the borrower, the better terms the lender offers (read: a lower interest rate).
The 20% down payment means that the lender’s total investment covers 80% of the purchase price. For the hypothetical $400,000 home, this “loan-to-value” (LTV) of 80% requires a $320,000 investment from the lender, and an $80,000 down payment for the borrower.
The borrower may request higher loan-to-value coverage from the lender to reduce his/her initial down payment. A LTV of 90% on a $400,000 loan, for example, would require $40,000 down.
However, the lender is taking on more risk by covering a larger percentage of the loan. Borrowers with less equity are statistically more likely to default on the loan repayment. To compensate for the risk, the lender requires mortgage insurance, which is added on top of the interest rate to increase the monthly payments.
So in exchange for providing less money up front, the borrower must pay the lender more money over the life of the loan. The tradeoff might be determined beneficial for the borrower with less ready cash.
When the borrower reaches 20% equity, he/she may refinance out of the loan and eliminate the mortgage insurance payment to reduce their monthly payment.