Buying a home has seldom been this easy, especially if you have a solid credit rating

Aren’t hampered by student loans or other debt.

The loan process is more streamlined than ever – thanks to online apps – though promises of instant approval are still unrealistic.

And while there’s still plenty of paperwork, the journey is smoother than ever.

“In terms of the ease of applying, everyone has an online app,” said Tony Byrne, a Spokane mortgage broker with Heritage Home Loans.

“The options out there are incredible,” he said.

Even better news: A 20 percent down payment isn’t a requirement, Byrne said.

“Everybody says you have to put 20 percent, but that’s not the case – there are all sorts of options,” said Byrne, who noted the average down payment these days is about 7 percent.

FHA-backed mortgages require only 3.5% down, conventional mortgages ask for only 3% – “and many are zero down,” Byrne said.

“At the end of the day, we’re fine with whatever they put down,” he said.

Prospective buyers have several financing options.

Conventional loans are the most common and can be used to buy several different property types, including a second home or rental property.

Generally, they require no additional monthly mortgage insurance payment with a down payment of at least 20 percent.

On the other hand, buyers generally must have higher credit scores, lower debt-to-income ratios and larger down payments. Continue reading