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Down Payment Saving Tips

Posted by Emma Parker on March 8, 2022
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One of the hardest hurdles to get over when buying a home is that darn down payment. Whether it’s not knowing how much to put down or save up, it can become an excuse to not buy a home. I think buyers, especially first time home buyers, have this preconceived idea that a down payment has to be 20%. That’s just not the case anymore! That’s why I’m putting this list together of helpful down payment saving tips for you! Whether you’re trying to save 3%, 5% or 10%, these ideas & tips should help you reach that goal.

Living with Friends & Family

I hope I haven’t lost you after that heading….

Hear me out; renting is EXPENSIVE and getting more expensive each year. Renting can be a great intermediary step between living at home & buying a home, but not if you can’t save money while doing so. If you’re not able to find a rental where you can save a solid chunk of money each month, it may be time to consider other options.

Think about it this way. Let’s say you’re paying $1,500 in monthly rent with utilities included, and putting away $300 per month in savings. If you want to buy a $400,000 house with 3% down, it will take you almost 4 years to save enough for that down payment. That may or may not be a reasonable timeline for you, and leaves you with little saved.

However, if you move in with your parents or a friend and pay $500 per month to help with groceries & utilities, you can put away that $300 plus the $1000 you would be paying towards rent! After 1 year you’ll be able to afford that 3% down on a $400,000 house & have almost $5,000 extra saved!

Even though this idea may seem unthinkable to you, the facts don’t lie. Living with your parents for 1 year could put you in a great position to buy, and it’s only temporary! This is a great, quick savings plan to get you closer to your goal of homeownership, faster!

Second Job

One of the less popular down payment saving tips is this right here! Let’s say you work a regular 9-5 weekday job, but are still having trouble saving for that down payment, & living with family is not an option. Maybe it’s time to get a second job?

Now, this doesn’t mean giving up all your spare time! This could look like you working one night a week at a brewery or restaurant, babysitting, doing odd jobs on the weekends. Maybe you’re crafty & can start selling your goods on Etsy or Facebook Marketplace. Maybe you’re into sports & can coach a local club team. It doesn’t have to take up much more of your time, and any income you make can be put directly into a savings account.

I know from experience that sometimes 2 jobs are needed! Morgan and I both worked 2 jobs before & after buying our first home. We both worked regular 40-hour/ week jobs, I coached a swim team at nights & on the weekends, and he worked at a brewery 2 nights per week. Every little bit helps, especially when you can put that little bit right into a savings account!

Investing

If you’re investment-savvy & know your way around the stock market, this may be an option for you! Whether you’re a high risk or low risk investor, there are different places to put your money that you can make a great ROI with.

High-yield savings accounts are great for those of us who don’t want to risk losing money. If you let your money sit in this type of account, it allows your money to work for you and make you some extra cash!

If you’re willing to roll the dice, investing some of your savings into more high-risk stocks can come up big if you’re smart about where you put your money! Obviously it’s important to have some investment background & not risk too much, especially when the goal is to purchase a home with this money!

Ask for A Gift or Personal Loan

This isn’t really a savings tip, but is another idea when figuring out where the money for your down payment is going to come from! Sometimes friends and family are more than willing to contribute some or all of your down payment as a form of a gift. This will need to be verified by your lender, but it’s 100% acceptable! Obviously this isn’t an option for everyone, but it’s always worth the conversation. It may seem awkward, but I’ve had clients talk with their parents & relatives with no idea what the outcome would be & realize that they’ve been saving to help them!

The other option if your family or friends are more hesitant, is to set up a loan with them. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy other than an agreement that they will loan you the money up front with the intention that you’ll pay them back over time. If this is something that may work with you family dynamic, it can save you a ton of stress & money, especially since family doesn’t typically charge interest!

**DISCLAIMER: As a disclaimer, always be careful when getting into financial agreements with your family & friends. No house is worth losing relationships over, especially those so close to you. If it feels safer, have an attorney draft up a quick agreement to make sure everyone is on the same page! That way each party is protected & knows the other’s intentions!**

Set Your Goal

Whether your goal is to move in the next year, or the next 3-5 years, set an attainable goal! Work with a financial advisor, Realtor and lender to get custom advice tailored to your current situation & goals! Buying a home is completely attainable for most, but sometimes there is some work to be done on the front-end.

Savings doesn’t always come easy & unexpected issues can come up! Having some method of consistent savings helps you move towards your goal of buying, and can be used as an emergency fund if needed. So there really is no harm in saving some of that hard earned money!

If you’re not sure where to start, or would like to develop a long-term buying plan – I’m your girl! Get in touch on my website to start working together!

-Emma

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