Buying a house is a huge commitment and the idea can be especially daunting for a first-time buyer. However, mortgage rates are low, so it’s possible to buy real estate and have monthly payments that are on par or less than what you’re paying in rent. The first step in buying a home is setting a budget and savings goal. These tips can help you save money for your dream home.
Take advantage of low to zero down mortgages
Saving money for the standard 20% down payment might be an uphill battle. Many first-time home buyers go with an FHA loan because they require only a small down payment and have less stringent credit requirements.
Consider a balance transfer credit card
If you’re carrying large balances on high-interest credit cards, you might want to consider transferring them to a balance transfer credit card. These cards typically offer lower interest rates during a promotional period. You might also get better terms than with your current credit cards, and you can consolidate your credit card debt to simplify your monthly payments.
Make use of your retirement plan
Orlando Miner, CCIM and CEO of Miner Capital Funding, recommends using your retirement 401(k) as part of your overall plan. “Retirement plans are a great way to grab money for your mortgage, and many plans have a penalty-free option just for mortgages.” But keep in mind, you can only borrow up to $50,000 or half the vested balance (whichever is less) in your 401(k) account. You will be required to pay back the loan with interest, and some 410(k)s require repayment within five years.
Automate your high-yield savings account
A high-yield savings account typically pays higher interest than a traditional savings account. You can reach your savings goal by setting up a high-yield savings account and making sure part of your paycheck automatically goes into that account, so you’re not tempted to spend it elsewhere. You might even consider opening (and automating) a separate savings account solely for the purpose of saving money for your new home.