There’s a common misconception that, as a homebuyer, you need to come up with 20% of the total sale price for your down payment. But is that really how much you have to save?

A survey by Lending Tree asks buyers what’s keeping them from purchasing a home. Over half of those surveyed say their biggest hurdle is the ability to afford a down payment.

That may be because those individuals assume a 20% down payment is necessary. While putting more money down if you’re able can benefit you as a buyer, putting 20% down isn’t always required. According to the latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005.

It may sound surprising, but today’s average down payment is only 13%. That number is even lower for first-time homebuyers, whose average down payment is only 7%.

The most damaging down payment myth—since it stops the homebuying process before it can start—is the belief that 20% is necessary.

– Freddie Mac

What Does This Mean for You?

If you’re thinking of buying a home, it’s important to know you don’t always have to put 20% down. And while saving for any down payment amount may feel like a challenge, keep in mind there are programs for qualified buyers that allow a down payment as low as 3.5%. There are also options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

To understand what’s available, do your homework. If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like Be sure to also work with a real estate advisor from the start to learn what you may qualify for in the homebuying process.

Bottom Line

Don’t let down payment myths keep you from hitting your homeownership goals. If you’re looking to buy a home, let’s review your options together.