Pursuing homeownership means understanding all upfront costs, including the down payment. But how much do you really need to put down?

The answer you may not have wanted: it depends.

Generally speaking, a 20% down payment on a house is standard. This number has historically proven that a person is financially responsible and serious about buying a home. However, with the rising cost of housing in recent years, more and more families simply can’t afford 20% and opt for a much lower rate.

The type of loan you apply for will help determine your down payment amount. For example, a FHA (Federal Housing Administration) mortgage requires about 3.5% down. However, these loans are more expensive because they also come with an insurance payment. If a buyer defaults on the loan or fails to repay, the FHA steps in and makes payments.

A conventional loan requires 5% down. The higher down payment means you can eventually forgo the PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) if certain requirements are met.

A Jumbo loan has a much higher down payment ranging from 10 – 30%. These are for families seeking higher-priced houses. However, these loans come with higher interest rates.

If you are a military veteran, it’s actually possible to achieve a 0% down payment on your next home. This is made possible through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. To see if you meet the requirements, contact your local veteran’s office for more information.

Don’t worry if all of these options seem out of reach. Individuals on a fixed income can take advantage of other programs offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While these are dependant on location and income, all are welcome to explore the down payments they require.

In all, it really is up to you to decide what you can afford. Of course, the higher the down payment, the lower your monthly loan payments will be. Discuss and compare options with your chosen lenders for more information.