According to a new report from Zillow, the average homebuyer looking at Dallas-Fort Worth homes needs around two-thirds of their annual salary to make a 20 percent down payment. Is it worth it? Yes, offering a large down payment on a home saves money and shrinks your monthly mortgage payments.
Zillow reports the current median home value in DFW is $202,000. A down payment for that is $40,400 plus moving expenses and closing costs. According to Data USA, the median salary for DFW metro is $59,946. The down payment of $40,400 on a $202k home is right at two-thirds of the median salary.
While saving approximately $40k feels like a daunting task, you can take these steps to save up for a down payment.
- Determine how much you need to save for a down payment
A person with an annual income of $70k per year brings home roughly $5k per month after taking out all the usual taxes and fees. How much of that $5k goes toward monthly expenses? You need to consider bills for phone, water, electricity, cable, gym, and anything else you pay monthly.
The rule of thumb is that no more than 28 percent of your income should go toward a house payment. For someone bringing home $5k per month, the housing payment would be $1400 per month. If you save $42k for a down payment, you can afford a home up to $220k.
In this scenario, $42k is the amount to save for a down payment. Your situation won’t be identical to this one, but a mortgage lender can help you determine the amount and include interest. A Dallas-Fort Worth homes builder like Sandlin Homes may have resources to help you figure this out before or while shopping for a home.
- Figure out when you want to buy a home
Are you looking to buy now? Two years? Five? In the given scenario, a buyer has saved $15k to date. To buy a home in two years will require putting away $13.5k per year. Buying a home in two years means adding $1,125 to your savings account per month.
On the other hand, if the person waits five years to buy a home, then that number drops to $5,400 per year, or stashing away $450 per month.
- Review your current monthly budget
Now that you have a number in mind, you can play around with your monthly budget. Many online financing tools can help you outline where you spend your money. Enter all your expenses including grocery, activities, rental, car payments, internet, phone, and the like. You’ll see how much you have left over.
This will tell you how much more you need to put away for a down payment. Once you know this number, you can work on paring your expenses. When was the last time you shopped around for your internet or phone services? See if you can get a deal with your provider or switch.
- Set up an automated savings account
After you’ve found a way to make room to set aside money every month, automate the process of sending $X of your paycheck into a savings or money market account. That way you don’t risk being tempted or accidentally spending the money you want to save.
- Put away extra income
Receive a check for your birthday? Get a refund from the IRS? Hold a garage sale? Make a little money on a side job or freelance work? Put these in your savings account for your down payment. This speeds the process.
Things happen. Your car needs repairs. You encounter medical expenses. Try to have a separate fund for emergencies rather than dipping into your down payment account. You’d want to have an emergency fund set up now, long before you start saving for a home.
Yes, saving for a down payment takes work. But so does owning and maintaining a home. This exercise in saving for a house will prepare you for home ownership. You might be surprised at what kind of home you can afford. Home builders like Sandlin Homes have multiple locations where they build Dallas-Fort Worth homes. Explore builder websites for the cities and neighborhoods where they build as prices vary by location.