Down payment is the money that you put towards buying the home which the lender likes to see as your collateral in the home purchase. The higher amount you put in, the more confident the lender will be in approving and providing you with the mortgage loan.
Having a good credit score (670-850 FICO score) could help you secure a loan with 5% or 10% down payment. Checking the FICO score to determine your credit rating is generally free from your bank.
There are benefits of a larger down payment. If the down payment is greater than 20%, the lender will not require you to get private mortgage insurance (PMI) which protects the lender if you default on the mortgage. In addition, a larger down payment could get the loan amount under the jumbo loan classification. A jumbo loan has a higher interest rate than non-jumbo loans.
Another way to look at a down payment is that your bank account savings is converted to a different asset class (a house). This house is converted back to your bank savings when you sell your house. Real estate values have generally been increasing after the 2008 financial crisis, the down payment money to buy the house is considered low-risk as if it is sitting in your bank account.
One of the first steps toward home ownership is getting your down payment ready.