If you’re shopping for a home, then you know just how big of an obstacle the down payment can be.
With conventional loans requiring down payments typically in the 10-20% range, in a high-priced market like Southern California, just securing enough money to guarantee funding can seem insurmountable.
That’s why it’s crucial that you start saving for a down payment well in advance of your home search. Whether you’re starting to shop right now or you’re aiming for a new home in 2019, start implementing these saving techniques to build your down payment fund when preparing to buy a home.
Step 1: Figure Out How Much Home You Can Afford
You need to have some sort of savings goal, so do a few calculations based on your income to help you figure out what your budget will realistically be. There’s no reason to save for a $1 million property in Orange County if your income will only qualify you for half of that. Use a mortgage calculator to help you figure out just how much of a down payment you’ll be comfortable with.
Step 2: Make A Timeline
Are you planning on actively looking for a property at the end of this year? Then you’ll need an aggressive plan to hit your target on time. Make a budget listing how much you make, how much you spend, and how much you have left over to put towards your down payment savings. From there, you can see how increasing your savings contributions will help you reach your goal faster.
Step 3: Get Smarter About Your Accounts
Is your down payment fund sitting in a barely-interest-earning savings account? It’s time to consider different vehicles that will speed up your savings. Look for options at online banks, who sometimes offer high-yield savings accounts. You may want to consider a Certificate of Deposit (CD), which allows you to store your money for time-limited intervals, from weeks to years, with higher interest rates than traditional accounts.
Step 4: Find Easy Ways To Save Every Day
The fastest way to save money for a down payment is to approach it from all sides. Try these techniques to save money every day, while your accounts keep earning interest:
- Set up automatic transfers from your checking account
- Allocate a portion of your paycheck to your savings account with direct deposit
- Contribute any windfalls, from bonuses to tax refund checks, direct to your down payment fund
- Hold off on any big-ticket purchases like a new car