Selling or buying a home is a huge deal. It involves a lot of moving parts and the people in your life. One important aspect is having enough cash in the bank to see you through to closing. The thought of putting thousands of dollars into a down payment and other expenses needed for a home might bring out a lot of emotions: fear, dread, anxiety. Does any of that ring a bell? It’s not easy task, but it is totally achievable with the right mindset and strategy. Implement some of these tips into your budget, and you’re guaranteed to see a steady uptick in your savings—enough to finally get the home you’ve been dreaming of. Here are 5 ways to save for the down payment on a home.
1. Know where you stand
First things first, take a realistic look at your finances with your mortgage lender to determine what type of loan you qualify for and exactly how much money you’ll need to put down. Make sure to visit at least 2 lenders. Each institute offers different options and have different requirements. Meeting with a lender will give you a more accurate picture of the time frame you’ll have to hit your savings goals. Be sure to ask them how much cash you will also need before closing. This includes the cost of a home and radon inspection (about $700 in Northern Virginia) and the earnest money deposit (usually 1 percent of sales price). Write this figure down and work toward this goal each day.
2. Automate your savings (and don’t touch them)
By contributing to an automated savings account weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc., you are making the process of saving quite literally, a no brainer. When some of your money is instantly transferred into your savings account without having to remember to do it (or not do it) yourself, you’re much more likely to save and refrain from dipping into the account unnecessarily.
3. Expect the unexpected
Life happens, and during the process of saving you are bound to run into a few bumps in the road—that’s OK. As long as you are prepared to make up the difference along the line, there’s no reason to let these snags ruin your chances at your new house. Here’s a great guide on how much to save for your emergency fund.
4. Avoid unnecessary expenses
We don’t need to tell you that it’s the little expenses that stack up over time. Five dollars might not seem like a lot of money, but over the course of a week and a month, that adds up to a significant portion of your spending. Think critically about expenses like eating out, some grocery items, and entertainment costs you can realistically do without for the time being, and seriously consider phasing them out of your budget.
5. Reevaluate your credit and credit cards
If you have a credit card you use regularly with a significant interest rate, this could put a major stop to your savings. Try to pay off these cards as quickly and efficiently as possible. They can negatively impact your credit or ability to save long-term.
In time, taking these steps will pay off in the long run and get you where you need to be faster than you know. If you need more information or have questions, please reach out.