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How Much of a Down Payment Do I Need to Buy a Home?

A Quick Overview

How much of a down payment do you need in order to buy a home? It's a common question among first-time home buyers, and there are a few factors that can impact the answer.

The minimum down payment in B.C. is 5%, but the standard amount is 20%. The minimum requirement is for purchases up to $500,000; for purchases between $500,000 and $999,999, the minimum is 5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on the balance; and for purchases of $1 million or more, the minimum is 20%.

Your down payment can be affected by a number of factors, including how much you make. If you're self-employed, for example, you may have a harder time qualifying for a mortgage than someone who has a regular job. In order to get a mortgage as a self-employed person you need to prove at least 2 years of taxable income. Or in other words you need to have made and reported self-employed income for the two previous calendar years. In addition to that, banks will not always give you the amount you need if your income or assets aren’t high enough. In these cases it’s common to seek out a B-grade lender, but keep in mind that these lenders typically charge a higher rate.

The maximum down payment you want to put down is also something to consider. If you're putting down less than 20%, you'll likely have to pay for mortgage insurance. This protects the lender in case you can't make your payments and they have to foreclose on the property.

So how much should you aim for?

A good rule of thumb is to try to put down at least 10%. This will help you avoid paying a higher rate for mortgage insurance, and it will give you some equity in your home from the start. If you can't swing 10%, try to at least put down the minimum 5% on your own. Failing this, you could also consider getting financial help from family, or going in on a property with friends or family.

Remember, the more you can put down, the lower your monthly payments will be. So if you're able to save up a larger down payment, it can really pay off in the long run.


I am a Victoria based local realtor with eXp Kiteke. My commitment to honesty, integrity, loyalty and hard work have been important pillars for me because they drive a high standard of excellent service for my clients. Helping you realize your dream is my goal!

I service Vancouver Island, but my focus is on: Victoria, Sooke, Saanich, Malahat, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill, Duncan, and the rest of the Cowichan Valley.



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