Cash reserve requirement
It's very commonplace for lenders to require that would-be borrowers have a certain amount of money in savings or elsewhere in their assets, typically amounting to 6 months of mortgage payments, but 12 months is also common for people with loan applications that are weak in other areas. This money is in addition to the down payment. It gives the lender reassurance that even in the event the borrower loses their job or takes a pay cut, they'll still have a cushion to keep paying the mortgage till their financial situation improves.
Looking forward, what will you pay monthly?
Once you take care of all the one-time costs mentioned above, your monthly commitment will be the mortgage payment, homeowners insurance, and property tax.
You may wonder, if you already put three to four months worth of insurance and property tax into an escrow account, why must you continue paying it from the very first monthly mortgage payment? The answer is, because the lender wants to know you will always be able to pay those two bills on time, which they ensure by having you pay monthly into the escrow while they draw upon existing funds to pay the current payments.
One last expense just for HOA community residents
If you live in a planned development or a complex with an HOA, you will also have to pay monthly HOA dues. At first, these may be asked for in advance with other prepaid expenses. Over time though, you will get on the same payment schedule as others in the development.
How much in total to buy a house?
As you can see from this article, the savings you need to buy a house are considerably more than a down payment. The total amount needed can vary widely, depending on all the factors discussed here. However, by shoring up your credit profile and qualifying for a low down payment, you can minimize your largest one-time expense. And if you end up making a higher down payment, you may be able to save in other areas like prepaid taxes or cash reserves. With loan applications, like with so much else in life, the trick is to figure out where your strengths are and lean into them.