How much cash do I need to buy a $200,000 home?

It's great that you've saved $7,000 towards your home purchase, it's very difficult for most people to save enough cash for a down payment. You'll need more cash than just your down payment to purchase a home, but the good news is that you have some options for where that money can come.

FHA rules allow all of your down payment funds to come as a gift from a relative; so if you're lucky enough to have a family member with some extra cash to help with your home purchase, that's one option to increase your funds.

While the seller of the home you intend to buy can't help you with the down payment, you can negotiate with the sellers to pay some or all of your closing costs. If the sellers don't want to pay extra closing costs at your originally offered price and you can qualify for a larger loan amount such as $206,000 (3 percent closing costs would be $6,000), they may be willing to pay your closing costs at the settlement table because the sellers would be repaid with the larger home price.

A third option is to look for a loan program with a zero down or minimal down payment. If you're a veteran, for instance, you may be eligible for a VA loan with no down payment. Depending on where you're buying, a USDA Rural Development home loan could be a no-down-payment option for you. Some community or regional banks and credit unions offer low- or zero-down-payment loans for borrowers with good credit who meet specific requirements established by the lender.

One more possibility is to find a home buyer program established by your state or local government that provides some down payment assistance for buyers that meet income and other requirements.

In addition to the down payment funds, you will need closing cost funds (typically 2 or 3 percent of the home price) and cash for moving. You should be careful to have an emergency fund with at least three months of expenses, and you need to budget about 1 percent of the home price per year for home maintenance and repairs.

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