By Maegan Carrasquillo, Staff Writer
Buying a home for the first time or getting back into homeownership after renting for a while can be challenging. Add in the current cost of living, sky-high home prices, and it can almost feel impossible. This is our business. We see it and hear it every day, and we totally understand where you’re coming from.
Regardless of where the market is headed, we’ll let you in on some things that can help you now. Over the course of this series, we’ll talk about tips to save money, fill you in on some different funding programs and opportunities, and discuss alternative ways to consider and get into homeownership.
It all starts with you according to Laura Roussel, CPA and EXIT’s VP of Regional Services, who says, “The most important thing to remember about saving, is to start sooner rather than later, even if you start small, because the compound effect of interest will help your savings grow.”
Here are some of Laura’s simple tips to get you started on building good credit and saving for a down payment, which will ultimately help you secure a better pre-approval:
- Create and use a budget where you tell every dollar where to go.
- Pay yourself first. Establish a fixed monthly amount or percentage of your income that you save before you pay other bills.
- Automate your savings. Many use online banking which makes it easy to setup an automatic monthly (or per pay period) transfer to your savings account.
- Prep for shopping by making a list to help avoid impulse buying or use online grocery pickup which can save you time.
- Use cash instead of credit cards. It’s more difficult to part with what you can see.
- Restrict online shopping. It is too easy to push a button to purchase.
- Delay purchases and give yourself a cooling off period between when an item catches your eye and when you actually make the purchase. Many times the urgency for that item is no longer there.
- When using credit cards, be sure to pay off the balance in full every month.
- If you already have credit card debt, pay more than the minimum monthly payment to get them paid off sooner. This gives you more spendable funds in the long run.
- For more serious debt, consolidation can help through a professional like a financial planner
- Check your credit cards and bank accounts for automatic subscription renewals and memberships. The things you are paying for that you don’t use might surprise you.
- Buy generic when and where you can and check out thrift shops instead of buying new all the time.
- Spend unexpected money wisely. Tax refunds or gifts can be used to pay off debts or put into savings instead of buying something you don’t need.
- Drink and dine out less. Pack food or make coffee at home and take it with you.
- Periodically check your phone plan for better deals and ditch expensive cable TV for cheaper alternatives.
- Declutter your home and garage and sell unwanted items.
- Try a staycation instead of an expensive vacation. Check out some local venues, parks, or tourist spots that cost little or nothing.
Be sure to check back for part two of our series where we dive deep into the many programs and opportunities available for funding assistance when buying a home.
This article is for informational purposes only. Not intended to replace or substitute any professional financial, real estate, investment, technology, or other advice. EXIT Realty Corp. International makes no representations or warranties and expressly disclaims any and all liability concerning any action by any person following the info offered or provided within this article. If you have specific concerns or questions, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist.