Congratulations! You’re in the market to make a home purchase, perhaps your first, and Gateway is ready to help you move in as soon as you can. This is one of the biggest steps a person can take, and it may very well be the most expensive one you undertake. So, while you consider the many decisions that go into finding and securing your new home, it’s important to prioritize one of the most important parts of the purchase: the down payment.
Conventional wisdom says you should put 20% of the purchase price down. (Though that’s not always true – more on that in a minute.) Depending on where and when you’re buying, that can add up to a lot of money. But don’t worry. With a tips and tricks, you can be well on your way to the home of your dreams.
Reduce your down payment with a variety of available programs. Are you a first-time homebuyer? Does saving 20% of the purchase price despite having good credit and a stable job seem, well, impossible? Many states offer down payment assistance (DPA) programs that offer grants, or 2nd loans that don’t need to be repaid. And Gateway can lead you to options that are available in your area. Here is some more info on DPAs.
There are also several other programs that offer down payments as low as 3%. Programs like Fannie Mae’s HomeReady, or Freddie Mac’s Home Possible, or an FHA loan, even Conventional Loans can hold a low down payment for some homebuyers.
Ask for a gift. No, really. Some loan programs allow for gifts of several thousand dollars that can be used to assist with down payment and even closing costs. And best of all, the gift doesn’t always have to come from a relative. If family members (or family friends) are willing and able to help you, their gift could be the thing you need to get over the homeowner finish line. It is always a good idea to check with a professional tax advisor on any impacts to you or the person providing the gift before you get too far down the path.
Get serious about saving. This may seem obvious, but you need a strategy and plan that exercises discipline in the months leading up to your down payment. Set up a high-interest savings account that you don’t touch until it’s time to make your down payment. Save 5% (or ideally 10%) of your take-home pay each paycheck in this account. Set up auto-withdrawal if that helps keep you on track. Other short-term savings strategies include certificates of deposit and money market accounts. No matter what savings vehicle you choose, have a plan and stick with it. The end result is your new home.
Use our How Much Can I Afford calculator. It is a great first step in building your down payment strategy.
Sell your stuff. Chances are good you have plenty of things you don’t actually need (or even want). Moving into a new home is an ideal time to shake off the clutter of your old place and start fresh, so why not make some cash in the process? Clean out your garage and attic, list them online, and get what cash you can. Put that cash straight into your savings account and let pieces of your old life help fund your new life.
Want to discuss some personal, down payment strategies? Contact one of our local, caring Gateway mortgage professionals at a Mortgage Center Near You. They would love to help you become a new homeowner.