If you’re ready to take the leap and purchase a home, you’ll have plenty to prepare for. However, often the biggest cause for concern in the home buying process is coming up with enough money for the down payment.
Saving for a down payment can seem overwhelming and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. These surprisingly simple tips will help you save enough for the home of your dreams.
Survey Your Finances
The first step in preparing for a down payment is to know how much you will need and how much you can reasonably expect to save. You will want to calculate your net income — what is left after taxes, insurance, etc. — and from that amount, you’ll need to decide how much you can put away and how much you need for everyday life. Of course, you’ll also want to factor in things like retirement savings. It is recommended to put at least 10% of your paycheck into a source of savings, so if you also want to save for a down payment, consider increasing that amount to 20%, or more if you can.
Check Your Credit
Your credit score will be a major factor in determining how much money you are able to borrow and the terms associated with the loan. Mortgage lenders will prioritize applicants with the best credit, as they have shown themselves to be fiscally responsible. For those with high credit scores, there are more options for lower down payments. With FHA loans, down payments can be as low as 3.5%, but you’ll need to have the credit score to qualify. It’s also a good idea to check your credit reports for any errors or misinformation that may be negatively affecting your score.
Put The Money Away
Try to keep your down payment money in a savings account, and then don’t touch it. It can be tempting to spend small amounts here and there if you have all of your daily banking funds tied in with your savings, so it is better to put the money away and forget about it. If possible, you may even be able to direct deposit a portion of your paycheck into a savings account, which will give you even less of an opportunity to accidentally overspend.
Downsize Where You Can
If you have a set time frame for when you want to make your purchase, consider all of the ways you can downsize expenses in the short term in order to boost savings. Watching your TV through streaming services far more than cable? Cancel the expensive cable bills — you can always enjoy it again when you are in your dream home. If public transportation is easily available, keep the car parked and hop on a bus or train — or even walk. You can see significant savings from gas money alone.
It’s also a good idea to see if you have things around the house that you can sell to make some extra income. This goes for things like furniture, electronics, clothing, and anything else that you don’t use but someone else might need.
If you’re ready to take that first step towards owning a home, it is a good time to start looking into options for loans so you can understand just how much you’ll need for the down payment. Answer a few questions here and a home lending expert will contact you to talk through your options.