How to Plan for a Down Payment on a House

By Shelly Herron

3 minute read

Calculator and financial documents.
Planning for a down payment on a house is a crucial step in the home buying process. The down payment is a percentage of the purchase price that you pay upfront and is typically required by lenders to secure a mortgage. It can be a significant expense, but there are several strategies you can use to save for a down payment and make your dream of homeownership a reality.

Determine how much you need to save
The down payment required by lenders varies, but it typically ranges from 3% to 20% of the purchase price of the home. Consider the price range of the homes you're interested in buying and calculate how much you will need to save for a down payment.

Create a budget
Creating a budget can help you identify areas where you can cut back on expenses and save more money for your down payment. Start by tracking your spending for a few months to get an idea of where your money is going. Look for areas where you can cut back, such as dining out, entertainment, or subscription services. Redirect those funds towards your down payment savings.

Open a separate savings account
Open a separate savings account for your down payment and set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account. Having a separate account will make it easier to track your progress and avoid spending the money earmarked for your down payment.

Consider alternative sources of income
If you're having trouble saving enough money for your down payment, consider alternative sources of income. You can take on a side hustle, sell items you no longer need, or even look for a higher-paying job. Any additional income you earn can be put towards your down payment savings.

Look for down payment assistance programs
There are several down payment assistance programs available that can help you purchase a home. These programs can provide grants, loans, or other types of financial assistance to eligible homebuyers. Research the down payment assistance programs available in your area and see if you qualify.

Delay gratification
Finally, it's essential to delay gratification and avoid making large purchases or taking on additional debt while saving for your down payment. It may be tempting to take a vacation or buy a new car, but every dollar spent on non-essential expenses is a dollar that could have been put toward your down payment savings.

Planning for a down payment on a house requires a combination of budgeting, saving, and discipline. By using some of the tactics mentioned above, you can save for your down payment and achieve your goal of homeownership sooner than you might think! 

Photo of the article’s author, Shelly Herron

About the Author

Shelly Herron is a writer and editor, originally from the Midwest and now in sunny Austin, TX. She has over 10 years of editorial experience in real estate, travel, and fitness and holds a degree in marketing and journalism from Iowa State University. When not working, you'll find her doing crossword puzzles, baking, and snuggling with her dog.