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Chris Salese

Happy New Year!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. It’s somewhat entertaining to think about the number of times that you say, text, email or whatever the phrase “Happy New Year” or “HNY” as you close out the month of December and plow forward into January each year.

In my opinion, it’s really one of the top greeting phrases of all time because it’ll likely always generate a response.

For example, someone might simply repeat it back to you or perhaps say they wish this year will be better than last year or maybe they hope this year will be just as good as last year, etc. Again, so many variations.

Similar to a back-and-forth New Year’s greeting, there are also plenty of conversations surrounding down payments lately as well.

Typically a down payment is when you provide an initial upfront payment toward the purchase of a home.

However, because there’s a vast number of different ways to configure a down payment, there seems to be an equal number of myths floating around about them too.

Unfortunately, this ends up preventing many people from even considering buying a home, especially at certain price points.

Here are the top five myths and the truths behind them:

Myth 1: You must have a 20 percent down payment.

Answer: Not true.

According to recent analytics from SmartAsset, down payments have been between 5 percent and 10 percent, yet there are several government and non-government programs available for zero percent to 5 percent down if you qualify.

Myth 2: Your down payment has to be all of your own money.

Answer: Not true.

You have several options for down payment sources. Some of them include gifts from family and friends, grants from nonprofit agencies or public institutions, state down payment assistance programs, employer assistance programs or even proceeds from selling something you don’t need, like a motorcycle or TV!

Myth 3: All down payment assistance programs are only for first-time homebuyers.

Answer: Not true.

Although some home programs are just for first-timers, others are not.

The term “first-time home buyer” has several meanings, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which defines a first-time home buyer as someone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years.

Myth 4: Down payment programs are available only in big cities.

Answer: Not true.

Down payment and home buyer assistance programs are available in small and large communities throughout the country.

To find a down payment assistance program that suits you, you could begin by browsing through state housing agency websites for more information or contact your lender.

Myth 5: Down payments are always required.

Answer: Not true.

Some homes can be bought with no cash down! For instance, two popular 100 percent financing options you can look into are VA and U.S. Department of Agriculture loans.

In fact, there are even ways to stack multiple loans, grants and or assistance programs together to avoid a down payment.

No matter which way you decide to go, take your time and zero in on all of the details.

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Chris Salese can be reached at or 707 363-4439. He is a licensed California mortgage lender (LO NMLS #254469 — State Lic #CA-DBO 254469 — Corp Lic #4170013 Corp NMLS #3113) and equal housing lender.