• Jennifer M. Lee, PhD

How Much Money Do I Need to Buy a Home?


Home buyers ask me all the time how much money they really need to purchase a home.

The answer is always: "That depends..."

  • Your home price (Affects down payment, due diligence & earnest money)

  • Down Payment (Loan type, personal preference)

  • Number/Type of Inspections (Impacted by age of the house)

  • Area of Purchase (Taxes/Insurance/HOA)

  • Loan (lending fees, choosing to pay down the interest rate, etc.)


What's My Down Payment Going to Be?

Again, it depends on your loan product. Unless you pay cash for a home, here are your options.

  • Conventional loan: As little as 3% down (for buyers with best qualifications, i.e. low debt, higher credit scores)

  • VA loan: As little as 0% down (for military veterans, VA funding fee required, but rolled into the loan)

  • FHA: As little as 3.5% down (this loan is for buyers with lower credit scores and a higher debt-to-income ratio)

  • USDA: As little as 0% down (only on eligible homes in specific, rural areas, can take as long as 60 days to close)


Here's a chart to explain when the money flows out (if you're buying an existing home, new construction is a bit different). Pay special attention to Due Diligence & Earnest Money.

(**NC has both Due Diligence and Earnest Money, SC only has Earnest Money, but the 1% anticipated amount is the same.)


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