(This is Part 5 of a seven-part series. See Part 1: Mortgage shopping: what you should know before you begin; Part 2: Pros and cons of fixed, adjustable mortgages; Part 3: Three options available on most mortgages; Part 4: How long should you take to pay off your mortgage? Part 6: Understanding choices in mortgage insurance and Part 7: Navigating real estate loan locks, docs.) The down payment is the difference between the loan amount and the lower of sale price or appraised value. Many borrowers have no down payment decision to make because they have no money for one. Their challenge is qualifying for a loan without a down payment, for which they need excellent credit. Borrowers with money to spare face an investment decision that is similar to the decision about whether to pay points. In both cases, you pay money now and receive a return in the future. It is a good investment if the return is high relative to other investment options. However, you need more money to make an...
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