The amount of money a buyer pays at closing to fund a home purchase usually expressed as a percentage of the total home price. With FHA loans, buyers are required to pay at least a 3.5% down payment. With conventional loans, they should pay at least 20% of the home's price. Mortgage insurance is required for borrowers with a down payment of less than 20%. Down payments are paid via cashier's check or wire transfer and must be paid at closing.