Giselle’s personal tips on how to save for a down payment on your first home

Buying a home is a goal for most people. A home is an investment that you use for yourself to live in, but it’s also an investment that should work to build equity for you.

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Buying a home can come at any stage in life. Maybe it’s between getting married and having kids, or maybe it’s after establishing your career, or maybe it’s just plainly when the timing is right for you. Whatever your path in life, buying a home is something that can add great value. Learning the way to save for a down payment will teach you valuable financial skills that will stay with you throughout life.

The down payment is the first big stepping stone in buying a home and usually the hardest obstacle to get past. Here are some things I’ve picked up along the way:

1. Determine the amount you need. The first step in achieving the end goal is to know what amount you need to save. Start by determining how much you currently pay in rent (if you are renting) or determine how much you can afford on a monthly basis for a mortgage, property costs, and upkeep. If you are renting, it is a good idea to add about 10-15% on top of that. Once you have this number figured out, you can check out some of the online calculators to determine what you can afford. Realtor.ca has a great one.

It’s always a good idea to save money for a rainy day; however, saving for a down payment requires a plan and a path on how to get there.

2. Put together a few plans with the goal of putting money aside. When most people think about the amount needed to save for a down payment, it can seem pretty daunting. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you start to do a few things at once, the savings can start to really add up – and fast.

  • Start big! Putting away $20 or $50 at a time is going to make you feel like your goal is far away. If you have an extra $200 or $1000, I suggest you start off big (if you can). This will make you feel that you are really on your way.
  • Do it automatically. There are many ways that you can save the money before you get a chance to spend it. If your payroll is automatically deposited into your account, set up a plan with your bank to have money deducted and put into a savings account automatically, as soon as you are paid. Also look into opening up a high interest savings account – that will at least pay you more interest than a regular account if the money remains above a certain amount.
  • Set aside any extra money – in forms of bonuses or raises. If you receive any sort of extra money, it can be tempting to spend it on a vacation or a shopping spree. However, this will delay your home buying process. Every bit counts – save it!
  • Keep making car payments. If you are making car payments, keep going and plan to keep the car for a few years after you have paid it off. This can account for a large monthly savings.
  • Think about ways to earn extra money on the side. Maybe a part time job, or using a profitable skill that can earn you extra money from your regular job. It can be something like a craft, or providing a service to others.
  • Sell some stuff. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Kijiji. Selling on sites like Craigslist or Kijiji or Ebay can add some extra funds to your savings. Look around your house and see if there are things you don’t need or that you can get rid of.

3. Put the interest to work for you. Once you’ve saved up a good amount, start to make that money work for you. Interest can contribute additional amounts to your goal. Be wise with your money – and your risk tolerance. Stay away from high risk investments if you plan to use these savings within three to seven years.

Look into safer investments such as money market accounts, high interest savings and savings bonds.

4. You might be closer to your goal than you think. Though 20% down is ideal, it’s not the only way to get into the market. There are mortgage options out there that will allow you to qualify with as little as 5-10% down. Speak with your financial institution – but also take the time to speak with a mortgage broker. They may be able to provide you with a number of options that will help you obtain your goal. I have a few good references if you’re looking to speak with a mortgage broker.

No one said it was easy, but it is possible! You just have to find a way to make it work.

If you would like to chat about property values in different areas – or how I can put you in touch with connections that can help you reach your goal – send me an email or call me. Lets chat! I want to help you!