If you’re in the market for buying your first home, chances are you have some money saved but you might be worrying a bit about having enough for the down payment. This is especially true for millennials just a few years into the workforce who probably are just learning why their parents always told them to save some of their paycheck each week.
Sure, the prospect of saving enough might be difficult to digest when you’re eager to get house hunting, which is why sometimes it makes sense to explore some other means to get the money.
Below are some helpful hints to find the down payment you need.
Deep down you might be too proud to ask your parents for a handout, but that’s probably the easiest way for you to get the money you need. And many parents probably had a similar experience when they were first starting out and looking for money. Arrange a loan with interest (if your parents insist!) and be prepared to invite them over for next year’s Thanksgiving.
Keep in mind that if a family member provides the money, a lender will ask them to sign a form called a gift letter, attesting to the relationship. The lender may also require mom and dad to explain where they got the money and prove that they are financially able to make such a gift.
401k or IRA:
Chances are, you might have the money you need already, only it’s tied up in your company’s retirement plan. If you have a 401k or an IRA, first-time homebuyers are able to borrow as much as $10,000 for a down payment on a house without incurring a penalty. And if you’re self-employed, you can actually take out as much as $50,000 from your SEP retirement fund as long as you pay yourself back over five years at a low interest rate.
Many millennials looking for their first home are often newly married or planning a wedding in the near future. If this is the case, you can make donating to your down payment as part of your wedding registry. Numerous mortgage companies allow brides and grooms to set up a down payment registry and many guests will think it’s a great way to celebrate the joining of two people they love. Besides, who uses a toaster anymore anyway?
Do some research and look for down payment assistance and community redevelopment programs, which offer affordable housing opportunities to first-time homebuyers, low-income and moderate-income individuals and families who wish to achieve homeownership.
If you find that none of the above will work for your circumstances, there’s always the old fashioned “saving for a rainy day.” Try putting aside 10 percent of your paycheck each week and make your lunch instead of going out. Forget that vacation and walk or ride your bike instead of using the car. It may seem like a lot, but the sacrifice will be well worth it when you are in your very own home.