FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). They come with more flexible eligibility guidelines, including a lower down payment requirement. If you’re considering an FHA loan, here’s what you need to know about the down payment requirement and other costs.

What is the minimum FHA loan down payment?

The minimum FHA loan down payment is either 3.5 percent or 10 percent of the home’s purchase price, depending on your credit score:

Credit score FHA down payment requirement
580+ 3.5%
500-579 10%

For a $300,000 home purchase, that’s $10,500 down at the low end and $30,000 at the top.

Of course, your down payment also depends on the price of the home you buy. Note you can only borrow so much with an FHA loan: $472,030 for a single-family home in most housing markets.

How to save for an FHA loan down payment

To save up for a down payment on an FHA loan, begin by setting a goal. Consider:

  • What is your homebuying budget? How much house can you afford?
  • When do you plan to purchase?
  • What is your savings strategy?
  • Do you already have some savings to work with?
  • Will family members or friends contribute to your down payment?

You can boost your savings by cutting some expenses or using a money-saving app, but you don’t have to save the entire 3.5 percent (or 10 percent) on your own. With an FHA loan, you’re allowed to put gifted funds toward the down payment. Here’s how:

FHA loan down payment gifts and rules

For an FHA loan, a down payment gift can come from friends, family members, labor unions, employers and nonprofit organizations, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which oversees the FHA. You can’t use gifted funds from:

  • The home builder
  • The home’s seller
  • Your real estate agent or broker
  • Anyone else with a vested interest in selling the home

FHA loan down payment assistance

Along with gifted funds, you can also apply down payment assistance to your FHA loan. There are many assistance programs out there, including through state housing finance agencies (HFAs, which package assistance with a lower-cost first-time homebuyer loan. Find your state’s HFA here.

Additional cost considerations for FHA loans

The down payment may be the biggest chunk of change on your mind when trying to buy a home, but there are other costs you’ll need to consider as you develop a budget, including:

Mortgage insurance requirement for FHA loans

One catch to FHA loans: You’re required to pay mortgage insurance premiums, or MIP, if you put less than 20 percent down (and most, if not all, FHA borrowers do). This additional payment is the tradeoff for the lower down payment; it compensates the lender for taking on more risk. You’ll pay one premium when you close your FHA loan, then annual premiums. Here’s more on how much that costs.

FHA loan closing costs

As with any other type of mortgage, you’ll also need to figure in the closing costs. Typically, they’re between 2 percent and 6 percent of the home’s purchase price. Check out our guide to FHA closing costs to get an idea of what to expect.

Other low-down payment mortgages

Aside from FHA loans, there are other types of mortgages that have either a low or no down payment requirement. These include:

Bottom line on FHA down payments

FHA loans make homeownership more widely available to borrowers thanks to lower down payment and credit score requirements. While that flexibility comes with the price of paying mortgage insurance, that extra cost can be well worth it to stop renting sooner than later. Start comparing rates today to see how much you can afford with an FHA loan.