House payments are comprised of: P. I. T. I.  (Principle, interest, taxes, insurance)

FHA loans typically require 3.5% down payment vs. conventional loans that generally require 5% down but sometimes 3% depending on your loan. The down side of FHA loans is that PMI (private mortgage insurance) is required for the full 30 years, unlike conventional, which is 5 years. Plus FHA underwriting can get dicey at times. Bottom line: Conventional loans are better.

If you have to go the FHA route, you may want to strongly consider doing a 5 year ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) then refinance in 2 years. *The only way to avoid paying PMI is to put down 20% which most first time buyers don't have)

Investors: Rental properties will always require 20% down payment minimum.

*If you're shopping for condos and town homes, pay attention to the HOA. (Home association fees) (Some can be very high!)

When calculating what your payment will be, PMI is typically around 1% of the loan. Conventional loan PMI is determined by your credit scores. Your mortgage lender will advise you on that exact amount. I'll supply names if you don't have a good lender. They're your ally, like us.

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