Saving for a Down Payment
We get a lot of questions about Down Payments, because loan requirements are always changing, programs that help with Down Payments come and go, and it's hard for the average homebuyer to keep up with it all! We always recommend starting your home search by having an in-depth conversation with a great lending professional...someone who will give you the straight scoop on the best strategies for paying for your new place - and it might not even involve a huge Down Payment!
But, just in case it does, here is a great list from Forbes of 10 ways to save for a Down Payment. We hope you find it useful, but of course if you have any questions, or want a recommendation for some of our preferred lenders, just let us know.
1. Prioritize It
"I think people need to get laser focused and remember their value system with every purchase. Every time they make a purchase, they need to realize that the foolish purchase is making their goals get pushed further and further away. They need to make their spending a reflection of their value system and put that down payment at the very top of their value list."
Lauren Greutman | Author of the book The Recovering Spender, Financial Counselor, and Founder of LaurenGreutman.com
2. Automate It
"Create a separate savings account and name it 'down payment.' Automate savings deposits from your paycheck or checking account into the account each month. Start with a small amount and increase the amount over time once you get comfortable with the process. Banks require a down payment for a reason; they want to know that you are financially responsible enough to live within your means. Prove it!"
Phillip Taylor, CPA | PTMoney.com, Founder of FinCon
3. Gamify It
"We had monthly challenges to raise money for our down payment. Keeping things friendly, relatively short, and competitive motivated us to build up our savings faster.One month was about recurring bills. We dug around and managed to slash our car insurance in half, get faster service with our internet (and shave some money!), and cut the cord while still catching our favorite shows."
Elle Martinez | CoupleMoney.com
4. Set Aside Unexpected Money
"Put any extra unexpected money into the down payment fund! I.e. Christmas money, birthday money, bonuses, tax returns. It will snowball before you know it."
Tiffany Alexy | TiffanyAlexy.com, Real Estate Broker & Investor
5. Build a Side Business
"The best way to save money is to supplement your income with a small business or side hustle. Most of us work 40-50 hour weeks, which means that there's plenty of time to make some extra money on the side. For example, you could sell on eBay or freelance. With the law of compounding interest, every little bit counts."
Steve Chou | Bumblebee Linens and MyWifeQuitHerJob.com
6. Budget for It
"The best way to save for your down payment is to build it into your budget. Start by determining what your monthly house payment will be, then subtract your current mortgage or rent from that number (tip: don't forget to add homeowner's insurance and taxes to your expected mortgage payment!). For example, if you expect to spend $2,000 per month on your mortgage and your rent is $1,200, you will save $800 per month. Not only will this help you save for your down payment, but it will solidify your future mortgage payment in your budget. This will help you make sure you can afford your mortgage once you buy your home."
Ryan Guina | CashMoneyLife.com
7. Increase Your Income
"When my husband and I were building up for our down payment, we did the following things:
- Looked for ways to increase income. In particular, I took on some overtime at my full-time job.
- Bumped up my rates for my freelance work. When I realized that I needed to get to $42k for our down payment, I started to increase the rates for my services since I couldn't create more time for a 'by the hour' service.
- Asked for repayment of loans that I made. When a friend or family members knows that not repaying you is literally taking you out of house and home, there's more urgency attached to repayment."
Kara Stevens | The Frugal Feminista
8. Live with a Roommate
"When I was saving for a down payment, I lived with roommates for a couple of years instead of getting a place of my own. I was just out of college so I didn't mind the discomfort since it was what I was used to anyway. It wasn't perfect, but allowed me to save $500 per month."
Pauline Paquin | ReachFinancialIndependence.com
9. Maximize Earnings on Your Stuff
"Perhaps you have a spare room that sits empty. You could earn income by renting that room out, on your terms, through a service like Airbnb. Got items sitting around the house that you don’t use and will never use? Sell those items on a site like eBay or take them to the consignment shop. Do you have a vehicle that is just sitting around in your driveway doing nothing? You can rent that vehicle out using a peer-to-peer car sharing service like GetAround."
Anna Sergunina, CFP | Money-Library.com, AdviceOnly.Net
10. Rent Cheaply to Save Up
"Rent for cheap and save up! My wife couldn't find a job when the real estate market tanked. We had just moved to Texas and thought we would be staying with my in-laws for 2-3 weeks. She never found a job, and we ended up paying $430/month for one year for a bedroom at the in-laws' house. We saved up 50% for the down payment on a new house."
Scott Alan Turner | Financial Rock Star Podcast, ScottAlantTurner.com