We have just finished reading the results of a survey of young people in the United States who want to buy homes but believe they cannot. Their justifications for feeling this way are puzzling, to say the least.
We reasoned that the current overheated market, which is characterized by quickly increasing prices, must be the primary reason why people believe they are unable to purchase a home. But that isn’t how things work at all.
As a result, we are going to dismantle the myths and challenge them today.
Misconception number one: To get a mortgage you must pay at least 10% for a down payment
This is shocking to us for a number of reasons, the primary one being that the misconception that all down payments must be 20% is the one that we hear the most. Nobody knows where these first-time young buyers got their 10% down payment, but they did it.
What’s the truth?
The amount of the initial deposit required can range anywhere from nothing to anything. Both the mortgage that is sponsored by the Veterans Administration and the mortgage that is offered through the Rural Development program of the USDA do not require a down payment. The latter comes with the stipulation that it is “for those who qualify.”
First, we’ll dispel the notion that you need a down payment, and then we’ll discuss another urban legend that could shock you.
The truth about down payments
Yes, you’ll find mortgages on the market that require 10% and even 20% down. You’ll also find loans that require zero down, such as some USDA products and the VA mortgage.
Then, there is the loan backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Federal Housing Administration, or FHA. Qualified borrowers may pay as little as 3.5%.
Finally, don’t overlook the many government programs designed to help lower-income Americans buy a home. Themortgagereports.com has compiled a state-by-state list of assistance programs.
Misconception 2: Current mortgage rates are too high
Currently, mortgage rates have hit a 22-month high, according to Brett Holzhauer at cnbc.com. Keep in mind, however, that we’re coming off of record-low mortgage rates.
“… the average 30-year mortgage rate hit a low of 2.65% in Jan. 2021,” Holzhauer reminds us. “Since then, the average mortgage rate has climbed to 3.56% as of Jan. 21” 2022.
Yet younger homebuyers assume they’re too high and many are prepared to wait until they go down again. This may not happen, if the Fed has its way, hinting at three rate hikes this year.
Now, for those with poor credit, yes, your mortgage rate will be higher than you may expect. The mortgage rate you will be offered is “… determined for the most part on two factors: credit score and equity/down payment,” notes Holzhauer.
If either or both of those factors are keeping you from jumping into homeownership right now, do yourself a favor and get to work fixing your credit problems and saving some money.
Pay special attention to your credit card debt. Pay it off until you’ve hit 30% of your credit limits, don’t take on new credit or close any accounts that appear on your credit reports, and use credit as little as possible.
If you’ve still decided to put your homebuying dreams on hold, check out these common-sense steps to getting ready to buy in the future, at forbes.com.