Can You Buy a Home With No Down Payment?

Many people meet some aspects of the lending criteria, but lack the cash for down payment. How can you buy a house without giving 20% of the asking price upfront?

Can You Buy a Home With No Down Payment?

One of the most important financial investments you’ll ever make is the purchase of a home. There will be long-term impact on your credit and finances, so the decision has to be a sound one. Add to this the fact that most traditional mortgages require a 20% down payment, and the situation can bring anyone anxiety. Many people meet some aspects of the lending criteria, but lack the down payment. Are there any options to get into a house without shelling out 20% of the asking price up front? Read on to find out. 

03.16 Down Payment Couple with a dog

VA Loan

Obtaining a VA loan is one of the most popular ways for potential homeowners to purchase a home without a down payment. Qualified veterans and service members on active-duty as well as some members of the National Guard and Reserves may qualify to obtain a mortgage with no down payment. These loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and charge the borrower a funding fee. Those in the military or veterans buying a home for the first time with no down payment pay a funding fee of 2.15%; the fee goes up to 2.4% for qualifiers in the National Guard or Reserves.

Navy Federal Loan

Another military related organization, the Navy Federal Credit Union, will provide 100% financing to qualified members. Potential borrowers include members of the military, certain civilian military and Department of Defense employees and their family members. The 1.75% funding fee for Navy Federal is lower than the fees charged by the VA.


The Department of Agriculture, another government organization, offers loans for potential home buyers hoping to avoid a down payment. Despite what it may seem, this program is not only for rural properties and farms. See where the closest loan approval office is on the USDA website. USDA loan requirements are for first-time home-buyers only and include some household income restrictions and decent borrower credit.

03.16 Down Payment Farm House Exterior

Credit Union Loan

Some credit unions offer no down payment financing to those who meet other loan criteria. Potential home owners should check with their individual credit union for no- or low-down payment financing options. 

FHA Loan

The Federal Housing Administration has offered home loans for those with less-than-perfect credit since 1934. Although they don’t make loans with no down payment, they require only a 3.5% down payment, which is more manageable for first-time home buyers and those with credit issues compared to the usual 20%.

Consider the Alternative

Before you go with one of the above options, consider this: there are benefits to putting down as much money as possible up-front when obtaining a home loan. Your monthly mortgage payment will be lower, and if you take out mortgage insurance, the more money you put down up front, the sooner your mortgage insurance payments will terminate.

One thing to keep in mind while seeking a no-money-down loan to buy a house is private mortgage insurance. When the down payment is less than the standard 20% of a home’s purchase price, private mortgage insurance kicks in to protect the lender in the event of default. Once a certain re-payment level has been reached, it will likely terminate, but this insurance can significantly increase monthly mortgage payments in the meantime. If you’re heading down the no-down-payment route, ensure whether the private mortgage insurance payments are factored into your monthly payments.

There are many paths to home ownership, and some don’t require a down payment. These are especially attractive to first-time home buyers and those with poor credit. As you research these options, be sure to secure the best loan rate for your situation, factoring in private mortgage insurance if it applies to your purchase. Be sure to establish a good working relationship with your real estate agent and representatives from lending institutions who will guide you toward sound financial decisions as you navigate the process of buying a new home.


Find more resources about buying your first home on our Blue Matter Blog or search for your first home on

Sam is the Content and Multimedia Specialist for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Weehawken, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

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  1. Peter Reid
    June 10, 2017

    need to move ASAP cant afford money down. Help!!!

    • Inetha Cherry
      June 14, 2017

      Hi where are you located?

  2. Althea Perkins
    July 24, 2017

    I’m looking to buy a home in the Nettleton, Amory Mississippi area.

  3. Jeremy Thompson
    October 26, 2017

    It’s interesting to learn that most traditional mortgages have a 20% down payment. More interesting than that is, most people lack the downpayment even if they meet the aspect of the lending criteria. I’d be sure to remember your tips, especially since my wife and I are looking for a new home. Thanks for the interestingly helpful read on buying a home with no down payment!

  4. Greg Ross
    February 2, 2018

    Since everyone’s situation is different and change in the market is a constant, I highly recommend using a licensed professional. This advice is especially true for first-time buyers and those who haven’t recently participated in a real estate transaction. Whether you choose an attorney or a Realtor as your licensed professional, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll want someone who is up to speed on your local market. A good Realtor has connections with local lenders who can walk you through the intricacies of obtaining pre-approval and eventually a mortgage. Happy house and mortgage hunting!



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