Deposits and monthly repayments are what concern first-time buyers the most because both are seen as real-time cash outlays. With monthly repayments though, the ambiguity of flexible instalments allow for some freedom.
But that's not the case with deposits because, it’s either you have it or you don’t, and this along with the rising cost of ownership is why so many banks now offer up to 100% financing for home loans.
Still, is it a good idea to utilise the option and how much do you really expect to place down for your first home?
Let’s take a look at financing margins in today’s market:
What are the typical margins of financing available?
Most banks offer financing for up to 90% (Hong Leong Housing Loan/HSBC HomeSmart) of the purchase or valuation price, and this remains the standard.
If you have sufficient cash to put down, this option is beneficial due to its lower total interest costs applied. This, when compared to higher margins and full financing.
2. Higher Margins
For those with lesser funds to spare on the loan deposit, a higher margin or full financing would be preferable and is available.
It should be noted that financing options as such are generally made up of 90% of the home’s purchase or valuation price plus 5% for insurance and entry costs plus 2% of the legal fees for your loan (equals to 97%). This essentially means that the deposit can roughly remain at 10% of the purchase price, but as other costs are factored in, you take on a bigger loan amount with more substantial interest costs overall.
On the plus side, loans that offer full or higher financing could be the cheaper option in the short-term.
Under the ‘My First Home Scheme’, participating banks are offering 100% financing, which is good news for those without the funds needed for a down payment. The major gripe with the scheme is that approval rates aren’t very promising. Others claim that's not a feasible loan, since the maximum loanable amount may be too large for its capped salary range.
Note that for full and even higher margins of financing, a guarantor may be needed to support your application. Besides, banks could ask for added security in the form of a fixed deposit or other financial collaterals pledged.
How Zero Entry Cost Loans Affect Down Payment?
Zero-Entry Cost loans AREN'T necessarily meant to help you save money, rather it provides access for new buyers (usually) to get their foot indoor.
It essentially removes “barriers” to entry (stamp duties and legal fees for S&P and loan agreements as well as valuation), hence the name. Nonetheless, you’ll still need to come up with the deposit.
Depending on the type of loan and margin of financing, zero cost loans may be available. But, should you take advantage of it to indirectly help with your down payment commitment?
Whatever savings or outlets you may have to pay a deposit, expect for it to be somewhat diminished, without the help of a zero-entry cost loan. In other words, what you can afford is now limited, thus you will most likely need to look for homes with lower price tags. You don’t have to look at this as a negative because as you adjust to your circumstances, there are potential interests to be saved.
Conversely, with the help of a zero-entry cost loan, you're now freeing up the funds you do have, to focus on deposit payments. Therefore, you have the option to look for more expensive homes, or still go for the cheaper option with a greater down payment. Remember that the minimum deposit amount is just a recommendation – you can always put more down, reduce tenure and overall total interest costs or maintain tenure and lower monthly instalments.
How else can you obtain funds for a down payment?
Assume that you don’t qualify for 100% financing and even 95%, doesn’t quite cut it for you to make the deposit payment with the funds you currently have. Don’t fret, you may still have options:
If you have been working for some time, the accumulated sum in your EPF Account II may be used to help with deposit payments.
You can either withdraw all the money in the account or 10% of the home purchase price plus the difference between the loan and purchase price (whichever is lower).
READ MORE: Here are the Easy Steps to Purchase Property Using Your EPF Money!
Life Insurance Cash Withdrawal Option
Reducing the cash value on your life insurance policy to pay for a down payment is viable, yet serious consideration is necessary before you withdraw.
In fact, it should only be utilised, if you have minimal funds to make the deposit or still need aid for the additional costs of homeownership.
If I have the funds, should I deposit more or less of it into my loan?
The answer depends on your financial goals and current status. Have you just received a big bonus that you’d like to put to good use? Then you might opt to borrow less and save more money on total interest costs over the tenure of your loan.
If you're not willing to put more down for your home purchase, then it’s a good idea to use those funds to cultivate your finances.
All in all, the down payment amount depends on the final cost of your home purchase
However, the sale price is not really the final amount - you have to take stamp duties, legal fees for S&P and loan agreements, valuation etc. into your calculations. That said, there are “helpers” that exist in loan products that seemingly absorb various costs associated with your purchase, and so as a prudent buyer, you will need to look beyond the sales pitch.
Consider if these costs are really being absorbed, albeit with higher interest rates, or merely stretched out for you. Neither is a bad option but a thorough understanding of the trade-off for a lower deposit VS higher upfront fees will help you decide if the added long-term costs and conditions (longer lock-in period, etc.) are truly worth it.
You may compare and apply for the best home loan from Loanstreet’s Home Loan Comparison Tool.
- Former Banker Shared 10 Home Loan COMMANDMENTS That Newbies Should Follow
- Why Did Your Loan Got Rejected & What You Can Do About It?