If you’ve been renting and you feel like it’s time to purchase your own home, congratulations! The first step? Bulking up your savings for the down payment.

The down payment isn’t all you need to save for, though. You’ll need to account for closing costs (unless your lender allows you to ask the seller to pitch in for those) and an emergency reserve in case anything unexpected pops up.

The Big Question: How Much Do I Have to Save to Buy a Home?

In most cases, you’ll need to save between 5 and 20 percent of a home’s sale price as a down payment. That’s a pretty tall order—so there are programs available that allow some people to pay between 0 and 3.5 percent as a down payment. Those programs include VA loans and FHA loans. Some Pennsylvania-specific programs, including the Keystone Government Loan Program, HFA Preferred loans and others provide statewide and locality-based assistance.

Closing costs generally range between 2 percent and 5 percent of the home’s total cost.

Using a Home Buyer Program to Save on Your Down Payment

Most people find that it’s better to use a homebuyer program if they have a tough time saving up the money for a down payment. It also cuts the wait time.

Typical Requirements for Common Loans

  • Conventional financing minimum: 5 percent down
  • FHA financing minimum: 3.5 percent down
  • Home Path Financing minimum: 3 percent down
  • USDA financing minimum: No down payment required
  • VA financing minimum: N