Saving for That First House
“How do I possibly save for a house?” This was a great question I received at a recent event and one many millennials like myself have asked internally or out loud. It is a question that has brought feelings of hope, disappointment, excitement, and stress, and these feelings have been especially strong with those looking to buy their first house. Even if it is not yourself, you probably know someone who has been caught in a bidding war or the housing whirlwind that occurred over the last 2.5 years. As of this writing in September 2022, the housing market in terms of new home sales has cooled down from its record high levels it reached in 2020, 2021, and beginning of 2022. With the current slowing in homebuying and food and shelter costs rising, now is a good time to evaluate or even develop that home buying goal. The goal of buying that first house can be reached with developing a realistic goal, staying diligent towards reaching the goal, and exercising patience.
| SET A REALISTIC GOAL
Setting a realistic goal starts with grasping the factors of your personal financial situation and the general location of where to purchase that first home. The factors to consider here:
- Where does buying a home fit in the priority of your short-term financial goals? Short-term financial goals can include, but not limited to, building an emergency fund, buying a car, paying off debt.
- Household discretionary income. After paying all fixed and variable expenses and meeting long-term savings goals, how much discretionary income is available each month to save towards that future down payment.
- Housing market in general location of future home purchase. Housing is closely correlated to the costs of living in that specific city. The costs of living and purchase price of a house can be drastically different depending on where you want to live. For example, similar size houses in Seattle are going to be 4x-5x more than in Kansas City. This must be factored in when developing your goal and savings.
- Time horizon. In how many months or years are you wanting to buy the home? Combining the time horizon with the above factors rounds out a general idea of the buying power you will have for a down payment.
| STAY DILIGENT
Once the down payment goal number is in place, it’s time to execute your process. Staying diligent in putting aside the amount each month or each year towards the down payment is the formula. This important step may sound cliché, but it holds true. To keep you on track, one technique I use is set up systematic deposits that go into a separate account. Seeing that separate account balance grow reinforces progress. Discipline is required but the reward on the other end is the satisfaction of accomplishment. Finally, find ways to make your savings grow that fits in your time horizon and risk tolerance.
| EXERCISE PATIENCE
Exercising patience comes into play after you have completed the above steps and your down payment target number achieved. The patience I am emphasizing is in the home buying process. The down payment that you have worked hard to fund is arguably your largest tool in finding and acquiring the home. There is no need to rush the process and use the down payment towards a home that is not within your price range. Ways to exercise patience to ensure your down payment goes the furthest for you include:
- See multiple homes.
- Take time to understand the financing options lenders provide.
- Find the right realtor for you.
- Offer only on homes that meet your priority features list.
At Embark, we are here to cast a vision that allows anyone of any age to pursue their goals. Saving for a house included. If you are looking to create a goal funding plan, contact us today.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.