How Much Should I
by Diane St
There are always
those who feel more comfortable putting 10% or 20% down for the security of
knowing they have some equity in their home. I'd rather see a nice pot of money
worth perhaps 10%-15% more at the end of 7-10 years.
* * *
Want to buy a house but don't know how much to put down and how much to
mortgage? This usually isn't a problem for most of us who are wondering if we
will have enough to even cover closing costs. You might have enough if you can
get Aunt Bea to give you a 'gift' for the down payment...or better yet your
parents if they are just dying to finally stop tripping over your sneakers in
the living room!
For those who ask me how much they should put down when they do actually have
an option, I say as little as possible? "What?", they say. Yes, I
suggest even borrowing 100% if possible. I only suggest this if you plan on
staying in the home for a while so that when it comes time to sell, you don't
have to owe money at the settlement table.
You can still avoid PMI financing by getting a first mortgage for 80% of the
sales price, and a second mortgage for the remaining 20%. The rate on the second
mortgage will undoubtedly be higher than the first mortgage and the term won't
be 30 years, but you do avoid the PMI. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
There are 3 reasons why I recommend 100% financing when buying a home.
1. Potential Investment Earnings
If you can keep the money you would otherwise use as a downpayment, in mutual
funds or other investments that yield anaverage rate of return higher than that
you are paying on your mortgages, you are coming out ahead. For example, many
mutual funds (if kept long term) can have a rate of return of 10-15% or more
over a 10 year span. If you are paying a combined average of 7.50% on your
mortgages, you are still coming out ahead by approximately 2.50% or more. This
can really add up over time. You have to think long term though, not short term
as we all know how practically every fund value went way down within the last
year. I am not a financial planner, but you can contact one or check out mutual
funds yourself to see what investments may be best for you.
2. Tax Advantages
We are always looking for ways to pay Uncle Sam less and keep more in our
pockets aren't we? When you have mortgage interest on a first and second
mortgage you can use all themortgage interest, up to 100% of the value of the
home, in your Itemized Deductions on Schedule A of the Federal TaxReturn. There
is a limitation on the second mortgage interest. It is deductible up to a
mortgage of $100,000. (Most of us don't have to worry about this maximum
3. Other Expenses
When you borrow 100% of the sales price of a home, it frees up any money you do
have left to be used for other things. After all, when you buy a home there are
lots of other expenses. You may not be able to just stick the money you didn't
use for a down payment into a mutual funds because you may want new furniture or
just need furniture period. (Maybe it is time to move up from the milk crates
and assembled cardboard dressers.) It is much better to use this money for major
purchases than to rack up more debt buying things using your credit cards.
Of course you still need to qualify for the home you want to buy and there is a
chance you may need a down payment in order to do so. Another thing to keep in
mind is the overall mortgage payments will be higher when you borrow the whole
amount. Make sure you won't feel strapped or you may end up using that money you
didn't use as a down payment to make mortgage payments.
There are always those who feel more comfortable putting 10% or 20% down for the
security of knowing they have some equity in their home. I'd rather see a nice
pot of money worth perhaps 10%-15% more at the end of 7-10 years. And by that
time there will be some equity built up from just having home values increase
over the years. Hey maybe, I can have my cake and eat it too!
Copyright 2001 by Diane