Smart Strategies to Save for a Down Payment on Your Dream Home

Dreaming of buying a home? One of the biggest challenges of the process is coming up with a down payment, a percentage of the home’s purchase price that you must pay at closing.

But don’t worry; with the right strategies, accumulating a cash down payment can become more achievable than you might think.

Let’s explore several simple and practical strategies to help you reach your goal of homeownership.

Set a savings goal

Start by determining how much you need for a down payment. Despite what many Americans assume, 20% down payments are not mandatory. In fact, the average down payment is 6%, according to the experts at Reliance State Bank. Several government-backed mortgage products require much less, depending on your circumstances.

Then, there are down payment assistance programs. Talk to a mortgage professional to understand the specific amount you should aim for.

Then, determine a realistic savings goal based on this amount and break it down into monthly or weekly savings targets. This way, you’ll have a clear roadmap to follow and stay motivated.

Then, make saving that money a no-brainer

Make saving easier by automating your savings process. One of the easiest ways is to dedicate a certain amount of each paycheck and automatically transfer it to your savings account.

This way, a portion of your income is saved before you even have a chance to spend it. Over time, your savings will grow without requiring constant effort or discipline.

Put together a budget

Developing a budget is key to managing your finances effectively. Track your income and expenses to determine what you’re spending on and which categories you can eliminate or reduce your spending.

Trim unnecessary expenses like eating out or subscription services. Consider cooking at home, packing lunches, or exploring free entertainment options. Redirect the money you save towards your down payment fund.

Check out these free budget templates:

Research down payment assistance

Look into down payment assistance programs. These programs, offered by government agencies or non-profit organizations, provide financial assistance to eligible homebuyers.

Depending on the program, they offer low- to no-interest loans, grants, or other assistance to help bridge the gap for your down payment. Consult with your lender for local sources and research, and contact local housing authorities or community organizations to explore these opportunities.

Check out for an informative breakdown of a number of down payment assistance programs.

Boost your income

Consider ways that you can make more money. Look for opportunities to earn extra money, such as freelancing, gig work, or a part-time job. Use the additional income solely for your down payment savings.

Every little bit counts and can bring you closer to reaching your goal faster. Here are some additional ways to pump up your savings account:

  1. Downsize or rent cheaper accommodations

If you’re currently renting a larger or more expensive place, downsizing to a smaller or more affordable accommodation can free up extra funds for your down payment. Look for other ways to reduce your housing costs, whether by finding a roommate, negotiating a lower rent, or exploring more affordable neighborhoods. Temporary sacrifices can lead to long-term gains.

  1. Tap into gift funds

Sometimes, family members may be willing to gift you funds toward your down payment. If you’re fortunate enough to have supportive relatives, discuss the possibility of receiving financial assistance as a gift. Remember that lenders may have specific requirements regarding gift funds, so understand and comply with any regulations.

  1. Save windfalls and bonuses

Whenever you receive unexpected windfalls like tax refunds, bonuses, or inheritances, resist the temptation to splurge and instead direct those funds toward your down payment savings. These unexpected financial boosts can provide a significant jumpstart to your savings goal.

Saving for a down payment requires discipline, but homeownership can become an attainable goal with these strategies. You may be surprised how quickly you’ve accumulated the money needed to purchase your dream home.

Remember, patience and perseverance are key.


3 Ways to buy a home with little cash out of pocket

Millions of would-be homeowners struggle under the misconception that they can’t buy a house without having a huge down payment to give the lender. In reality, there are several ways to realize the dream of homeownership with little cash out of your pocket.

1. No down payment loans

If you are a current or former member of the United States military or the spouse of a deceased member, you may qualify for what is one of the best loan programs in the country, offered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

The VA doesn’t grant the loan, a conventional lender will do that. Instead, the VA offers a guarantee making the lender far more likely to trust borrowers with less-than-perfect credit and no down payment.

If you qualify, you also won’t have private mortgage insurance (PMI) tacked onto the loan, saving you a significant chunk of money every month. There is a one-time VA funding fee (waived for some borrowers) that you’ll need to pay and that amount varies, according to certain conditions.

There is also no mortgage insurance requirement, which saves you money on your monthly payment.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has published an online guide to help you learn all there is to know about their home loan program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also provides home loan programs, one that is similar to the VA loan in that it offers a guaranty to the lender and another that is a direct loan from the USDA.

Both loans have no down payment requirement. The catch is that you must buy a home in an area that the USDA considers “rural” and the home must be “modest,” meaning it contains no extra bells and whistles.

Check all eligibility requirements online at

2. Low down payment loans

Most homebuyers are familiar with the home loan program offered by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA for short. Although conventional loans make up the bulk of mortgages nationwide, the FHA-backed mortgage is the most widely used loan program by first-time homebuyers.

Down payment requirements range from 3.5 percent to 10 percent, depending on how your finances look and the lender’s requirements. You will be required to purchase PMI and, unlike a conventional loan, you must continue paying the insurance premium for the life of the loan.

If your credit score is at least 620, you agree to take homeowner classes, completely document your assets, income and debt and you can pay for PMI, you may qualify for a Fannie Mae or Freddy Mac home loan. These have a 3 percent down payment requirement

3. Down payment assistance programs

Local, state and federal agencies offer an array of down payment assistance programs. Here’s a list of just a few:

Grants – Would-be homebuyers love grants and it’s easy to see why: unlike mortgage loans, grants don’t need to be repaid. Think of them as gifts with some requirements attached. You still need to meet the program’s eligibility requirements or fulfill certain conditions to receive them.

Low-Interest Loans – For many homebuyers, a low mortgage payment can significantly improve their monthly budget. Low-interest loans are exactly what they sound like home loans with lower-than-average interest rates that deliver the benefit of a low monthly payment.

Zero-Interest, Forgivable Loans – If you plan to live in your home for a while, a forgivable loan could be a great fit. After a set number of years–usually 5, but up to 20, lenders will forgive these loans entirely. But if you move out before the forgiveness period ends, you may need to pay back some or all of the loan. Visit Security National Mortgage Company’s website for details.

If you are interested in learning more about any of these programs, give us a call. Although we aren’t mortgage professionals, we are happy to refer you to several lenders who will gladly explain the terms of these home loan programs.