Patricia Soucy's Blog
Saving for a down payment on a home is a long process that requires discipline and organization. But we all know that with so many other things going on in our lives it can be hard to spend enough time focusing on your budget.
Fortunately, there are several tools available to soon-to-be homeowners who want to keep track of their spending and make sure they meet their down payment goals. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the best budgeting apps, websites, and other tools to help you keep yourself accountable so you can be living in your new home as soon as possible.
Why budget for a down payment?
If you’ve saved money in the past for a purchase without a budget you might be wondering why you should go through the effort of creating one now.
However, there are many reasons to have a budget, especially if you’re planning on making an investment as large as a home. Here are just a few:
Keeping an accurate budget will let you know almost exactly how much you can expect to save for a down payment
Budgeting helps you locate and cut out expenses that would be better used in your savings account
Budgeting will give you peace of mind along the road to saving for your down payment
Now that we’ve talked about the importance of making a budget, let’s talk about some of the best ways to get it done.
You Need a Budget, often shortened to YNAB, is one of the most useful tools for learning about and creating a budget. I don’t know about you, but I was never formally taught how to budget in school. But, it would have been a useful class to have!
YNAB combines budgeting tools with educational materials to help you save while you learn more about managing money. It can be easy to feel lost when it comes to learning about personal finance--that’s what makes YNAB so great.
Their basic precept is that you “give every dollar a job,” meaning there won’t be any money in any of your accounts or in your paycheck that doesn’t have a purpose. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on yourself every once in awhile, just that you’ll have planned ahead for moments so you can manage them.
You Need A Budget is available for Apple, Android, on Alexa and in your browser.
Saving with your spouse
Planning a budget yourself is complicated as it is. But planning together with a spouse can be even more confusing. However, there are ways to effectively make a family budget to save for a down payment.
First, you should both make sure you have individual budgets to make sure you know how much money from each of your incomes can go into savings. Opening a joint savings account and having a certain percentage of your paycheck direct deposited into that account is a good place to start.
From there, monitor your savings for a month to see if you need to alter this number, and try to stick to your monthly savings goal.
In an age where collaboration is on the rise, it’s not surprising that some are looking to find an alternative source of funding for their home or business purchase. Crowdfunding has been a successful way to fund various projects and business propositions, but it seems that some have found a way to make it work when purchasing property. The only question is, where’s the catch?
Banking Institutions & Lenders
It’s no secret that crowdfunding may cut into the banking industry’s bottom line. And yet, some people are highly successful when it comes to utilizing it to secure their properties. How do they do it? Diligence and strategy.
Each donation by patron, if the funds are to be used immediately, is considered a gift. These gifts require letters stating that the funds don’t have to be paid back and are, indeed, a gift.
If you only have a few people donating to your crowdfunding campaign, that should be apiece of cake. However, if you have multiple donors, you might want to start checking them off one-by-one as they give until you’ve secured letters from all of those willing to send them to you.
If you run into anyone who isn’t willing to write the letter, is unresponsive, or you simply have time to wait on your purchase, you can put the funds from your crowdfunding adventure into a different account, and leave them alone. After a few months, the funds will have aged and may no longer need a letter.
The success rate is still iffy on securing funding through crowdfunding sources, however. The biggest hurdle is whether your lender will approve this unconventional method of down-payment.
Most crowdfunding requests usually has a story or mission attached to them. Some ask for the money to help their parents out of the rent cycle because they’re retiring, while others might be looking to open a new type of coffee shop and need a little extra to get things up and running. No matter the reason, you’re selling your story, but will folks buy it?
If you choose to go the crowdfunding route, you have to remember that the people funding you need a reason to fund you. You’ll have to give them the perfect story and reasoning or you’re going to end up flat and without funding. Some find this task incredibly daunting, while others are silver-tongued pros. Either way you slice it, crowdfunding is about marketing and storytelling.
If you decide to go the crowdfunding route, be sure to do ample research, line your ducks up and ensure that you’re ready for the journey. If it seems like it’s a little too much but you still want to find an alternative method of funding, chat with your real estate agent. There’s a plethora of options available, and we’d love to help you find the right one.
It can be difficult to find the extra savings to put towards your first home as a renter. With rent and utility prices rising, most people’s paychecks are leaving them with less and less savings at the end of the month.
Buying your first home, however, can be a great long-term financial decision. It will help you build equity, and, eventually, you’ll be able to use that equity toward another home or toward retiring.
In today’s post, we’ll talk about some of the ways to save for a down payment while renting an apartment.
How much to save
In order to make the most of your first home purchase, you’ll want to save up as much of a down payment as possible. This will help you receive the lowest interest rate and reduce the amount you’ll pay toward interest.
If you can manage to save 20% of the loan, you’ll also be able to waive private mortgage insurance (PMI), that would otherwise set you back around $100 per month or more.
Smart ways to save while renting
If you’re ready to get serious about saving for your first down payment, let’s talk about the best way to approach your savings plan.
Pay off small debts
If you’ve had that lingering credit card debt that you’ve never quite paid off, now is the time. Take a look at your current debts. Pay off the smaller balances first and focus on debt with the highest interest rate.
This will enable you to start making larger deposits toward your down payment savings sooner and can help you avoid needlessly paying interest on small loans and credit card debt.
Open a dedicated account or CD
The best way to make sure you contribute to your down payment savings plan is to open a savings account or take out a CD (certificate of deposit).
A savings account with a high-interest return is a good option for people who are worried that they may need to access their funds before they’re ready to buy a home.
If you’re comfortable with not being able to access your funds until a set date, then a CD could help you save more money.
Since CDs are a one-time payment, many people choose to combine both CDs and high-interest savings accounts to achieve their savings goals.
Regardless of which option you choose, be sure to shop around for the highest interest rate. Online banks tend to have higher rates than traditional banks and are also easy to sign up for.
Direct deposit a portion of your pay
Opening a bank account or CD won’t do you any good if you don’t commit to contributing to it. If you are paid via direct deposit, visit your HR office and ask them to reassign a portion of your weekly pay to your new account.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to better prepare for your down payment. Don’t wait! The sooner you start saving, the sooner you’ll be able to purchase your first home.
Saving enough funds for the down payment on your home can be an obstacle for everyone. With general living costs and accumulated debt (Student Loans!), many young couples and professionals don't believe they'll ever save enough to move from being renters to buyers. There are steps you can take to put aside the funds you need for your down payment, but you’ll need to consider your priorities and a serious commitment to your spending and saving strategy.
Take a look at the median house prices in the area you want to buy and set a realistic budget for the price of your new home based on your current income and means. If the average home price is around $275k, then with a standard loan you’ll need about $55,000 for your down payment.
First, open a separate savings account, or designate one of your accounts for the money you’ll put aside. If you can separate your funds from the checking and savings accounts you access on a regular basis, then you'll help yourself refrain from using your down payment savings for other purchases, maintenance, or emergencies that arise.
Second, analyze your spending habits and create a realistic budget based on your current income to help you make strategic spending cuts. There are many free apps, spreadsheet templates, and useful blogs to help you set up and manage your budget. Inquire with your local bank to learn if they offer financial advisory services or can set you up with a partner to help you review your budget—many credit unions provide these services free with membership. Check what your financial institution offers and take advantage of free wisdom!
- Review your memberships and subscriptions. Can you consolidate your streaming services, cancel NFL channels after football season, or join a more affordable gym?
- Instead of going out to eat or to the movies for date-night, set a limited budget for entertainment and take a few extra minutes to discover the many free activities your city has to offer. While making these significant changes, it is essential to allow yourself to continue to have fun times and relieve some of the pressure you're adding to your life—finding more affordable activities and restaurants can help you spread the fun money a little further and still put significant funds aside for your down payment.
- Curb your unnecessary purchases. For some, this is one of the most difficult changes to make. From little convenience store purchases to emotional retail shopping, you’ll have to monitor your habits to catch yourself before you make purchases you don’t need. If you need the energy drink every morning, take the time to stock up when they’re on sale. Find a coffee shop that offers deals or a punch card (at least!). And if you can’t cut all the retail shopping, try limiting yourself to resale stores or clearance outlets to curb spending.
There are many ways to save for your future home. Work with your real estate professional to determine what your loan and down payment requirements might be. Then, get started on your savings plan!
Buying a home is a big financial endeavor that takes planning and saving. Aside from a down payment, hopeful homeowners will also need to save for closing costs and moving expenses.
When it comes to the down payment amount you’ll need to save, many of us have often heard 20%, the magic number. However, there are a number of different types of mortgages that have different down payment requirements.
To complicate matters, mortgages vary somewhat between lenders and can change over time, with the ebb and flow of the housing market.
So, the best way to approach the process of saving for a down payment is to think about your needs in a home, and reach out to lenders to start comparing rates.
However, there are a few constants when it comes to down payments that are worth considering when shopping for a mortgage.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some characteristics of down payments, discuss where the 20% number comes from, and give you some tips on finding the best mortgage for you.
Do I need 20% saved for a down payment?
With the median home prices in America sitting around $200,000 and many areas averaging much higher, it may seem like 20% is an unattainable savings goal.
The good news is that many Americans hoping to buy their first home have several options that don’t involve savings $40,000 or more.
So, where does that number come from?
Most mortgage lenders will want to be sure that lending to would be a smart investment. In other words, they want to know that they’ll earn back the amount they lend you plus interest. They determine how risky it is to lend to you by considering a number of factors.
First and foremost is your credit score. Lenders want to see that you’re paying your bills on time and aren’t overwhelmed by debt. Second, they will ask you for verification of your income to determine how much you can realistically hope to pay each month. And, finally, they’ll consider the amount you’re putting down.
If you have less than 20% of the mortgage amount saved for your down payment, you’ll have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This is an extra fee must be paid in addition to your interest each month.
First-time buyers rarely put 20% or more down
Thanks to FHA loans guaranteed by the federal government, as well as other loan assistance programs like USDA loans and mortgages insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs, buying a home is usually within reach even if you don’t have several thousands saved.
On average, first-time buyers put closer to 6% down on their mortgage. However, they will have to pay PMI until they’ve paid off 20% of their home.
So, if you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, saving should be a priority. But, don’t worry too much if you don’t think you can save the full 20% in advance.