First-time home buyers are often surprised by the total costs associated with buying a home. Some buyers don’t even realize that a lack of cash reserves can hurt their chances of getting a loan. But it happens all the time. In fact, a lack of up-front cash is one of the most common reasons for mortgage rejection. That’s why it’s important for future home buyers to start saving money early on. The more you can save, the better.
Why is this so important? Here are five good reasons to save up for your home-buying process:
1. Down Payment
When you buy a home, you’ll have to make a down payment of some kind. The days of “no money down” ended when our economy collapsed. Almost 100% of lenders today will require you to put some money down. The amount needed will vary, based on the type of loan you are using. With an FHA home loan, you can put as little as 3.5% down. With a conventional mortgage (one that’s not backed by the government), you’ll need to put even more money down. Many buyers aim for a 20% down payment, to avoid paying private mortgage insurance.
The bottom line is that you’ll have to put something down when buying a home. This can be a significant cost for most people. Consider that 3.5% of a $300,000 mortgage loan would be $10,500. Twenty percent on a loan of that size would be $60,000. Do you have that kind of cash in the bank right now, even on the low end? If not, you need to start saving.
2. Closing Costs
Closing costs are the various fees, taxes and other costs associated with buying a home. They include such things as attorney fees, property survey fees, title insurance, recording fees, home appraisal and more.
In California, closing costs average to about 3% of the homes purchase price.
In some cases, the seller may contribute money toward the buyer’s closing costs. This is often the case in a buyer’s market, when sellers are more motivated. But even in such cases, you’ll have to pay something toward your closing costs. This is another reason why it’s so important save money.
3. Cash Reserves
When you apply for a mortgage loan, the lender is going to request your bank account information. They will check again just a few days before your closing date. They want to know how much money you have in the bank, and whether or not you can afford your closing costs. They also want to make sure you have enough to cover your first couple of mortgage payments. This is referred to as “cash reserves.” The amount needed will vary based on lender and loan program. Just know that the lender is going to scrutinize your liquid assets.
4. Moving Expenses
Unless you’re buying a house that is fully furnished, you’ll have to move some furniture in. Maybe you’ll rent a U-haul and load it yourself. Maybe you’ll hire movers like demenagementadt to do it for you. Either way, it’s another expense during the home buying process. You might even need to buy furniture, if the house you’re buying is larger than your current residence. It’s another reason to start saving early.
5. Mathematical Errors
It’s always wise to establish a home-buying budget for yourself, before you start applying for loans. You would do this by comparing your monthly expenses to your net monthly income (after taxes). But we all make mistakes. If you overestimate your earnings, or underestimate your expenses, you could have trouble keeping up with your payments. To offset this risk in the short term, you should put some extra money aside.
Citation Note: The original version of this article was written by Brandon Cornett. Brandon is the publisher of the Home Buying Institute, which includes one of the largest libraries of mortgage advice for home buyers.