By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist, Regional Support Center
Although I work for a worldwide real estate industry leader, Coldwell Banker, sadly I am not a homeowner...yet. It’s not for lack of interest, but simply because I’ve been a bit of a wanderer. I’ve been renting since I moved out of my parents’ home after high school, which has been…we’ll just say a while. Now I’m ready to plant more permanent roots and the first step is saving for a down payment. So my New Year’s resolution is to buckle down and meet my goal of buying my first home!
Tips for saving for a down payment:
1) Open a separate ‘down payment’ savings account.
When your savings account is attached to your checking, it can be tempting to make that bank transfer for a little something extra. Try setting up a separate savings account that is not attached. Maybe even set up an automatic deposit into your account biweekly or monthly.
2) Bite the budget bullet.
You won’t believe how much money you’ve been wasting until you really keep track of expenses. Instead of buying coffee every morning, buy a travel mug and make your coffee – then set aside that coffee money. Pack your lunch and make ahead dinners to curb the impulse for take-out on a busy weeknight. Set aside any money you would have spent on these little things and see how they really add up!
3) Down payment assistance.
Do you qualify? Check out FHA.gov to see if you qualify for down payment assistance. If you are a Veteran, then additional programs may be open to you. Other possible sources are: the U.S. Department of Agriculture or state housing authorities. So make this your first step to see if you could qualify for assistance or a lower down payment.
4) You gotta shop around.
When is the last time you checked out insurance quotes? We all get comfortable with our automatic debits and sometimes forget we could almost always be paying less. Get competing quotes for insurance, phone, cable and other utilities, then deposit the savings in your account.
5) Pickup part-time or freelance work.
If you’re in a real hurry, this may be your ticket to a faster path to homeownership. You may be surprised how a few extra hours here and there will bolster your savings. If you have a skill that will allow freelance work, you can even do make your own hours.
6) Time for a garage sale.
You’re planning on moving anyway, so you may as well cash in by having a garage sale or selling items on eBay or Craigslist. Plus it will make moving easier (and cheaper!)
What advice do you have to save for a down payment?