How to Save for a Home in Hawaii

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

How to save for a home

HOW TO SAVE UP FOR A HOME
It’s common knowledge that Hawaii is an expensive place to live. In fact, real estate is one of the highest costs of living in the Aloha State. The median home price in Hawaii is $635,000, which ranks as the highest median in the United States.
 
Homeownership might seem like a faraway dream for many, but at ASB, our teammates want to help make that dream a reality. One of the easiest ways you can work towards your goal of buying a home is by saving money, immediately. Here are a few tips on how you can save up for your future home.

SAVE FOR A HOME IN A YEAR
Saving up can go a long way over the course of one year. Here are a few ways you can get closer to buying a home in just 12 months.

  1. Set Your Budget:
    It’s tempting to look at different homes and slowly increase your budget. However, if you want to buy a home within a year, you need to be realistic about your budget. Look at your current assets and estimate how much money you can realistically save in the next year. Even if you can get qualified for a huge loan, that doesn’t mean the monthly payment is realistic. Take a look at your current income and expenses to see how much of a monthly payment you can afford. Use this estimated down payment as a starting point in your home search. Many home loans require you to pay 20% of the purchase price as a down payment although there are some loan programs that require much less. Contact a loan officer to find out how much of a loan you can prequalify for, and approximately how much down payment you’ll need.
  2. Consider a Starter Home:
    A home purchase is a long-term investment, but it doesn’t have to be for life. Your dream home may only be $10,000 more than one that doesn’t have the exact countertops you want. If you’re feeling down that you can’t afford your dream home right away, consider a smaller starter home. Budget for a less expensive home now at a price you can comfortably manage. As the home increases in value and your equity grows, you may be able to sell it for a profit and move to a bigger home when you’re ready.
  3. Create a Savings Goal:
    Set savings goals for the next 12 months. Look at your monthly income and expenses to help determine how much money you have to work with. If you are married or have a partner, create a budget that combines your income and expenses. Consider setting monthly and quarterly savings goals to help you stay on track for the next year.
  4. Share Your Plans with As Many People as You Can:
    Telling lots of people about your plans to buy a house in a year is a great way to motivate yourself to keep saving. Let friends, family, and coworkers know about your savings goal. Find an accountability buddy – such as a good friend or family member to help you stay accountable by checking in each month. You can even make it a game by giving yourself a small reward when you reach your goal.
  5. Increase Your Income:
    If you have free time, consider looking for another source of income. Even if you’re limited on time, you can host a garage sale or sell your unused belongings online. This can help you earn extra cash for your down payment, and reduce your spending when you’re bored.
  6. Beware Hidden Costs and Save for Emergencies:
    Closing costs, such as loan origination fees or real estate agent fees, often cost several thousand dollars on top of your down payment. Once you make a home purchase, you’re responsible for the care and maintenance of the property. This might mean you need to make necessary repairs to wiring or plumbing, and you may need to invest in lawn care equipment or new furnishings.
  7. Prepare for the Unexpected:
    Set yourself up for success by creating a savings account as an emergency fund for home expenses. Build up this fund before you purchase the house so you have it ready to help cover costs from the day you move in. It will also help you to prepare for unexpected home issues in the future, like a burst pipe or broken washing machine.

 

TIPS ON SAVING WHILE RENTING:
Do you feel like your rent is too high, making it difficult to save for a down payment on a house? It’s a common feeling among renters, but there are a few ways you can save even while renting. Much like saving for a home in a year, you can use budgeting and saving strategies to help you increase your savings even if a lot of your budget goes to rent each month.

  1. Start with Your Debt:
    If you have high-interest debt like credit card balances, it’s best to focus on paying that off before saving for a home. Unpaid debt costs you money in the amount you owe plus the cost of interest and fees. Try paying off one debt at a time, starting from the smallest and working your way up from there. This is known as a debt snowball and allows you to celebrate your small victories of each debt. When a debt is paid off, you can put part of the debt’s payment towards your down payment savings.
  2. Consider a Roommate:
    Do you live alone and have an extra bedroom in your rental? Ask your landlord if you can add a roommate to your apartment. Dividing your rent in half, or more if you have space, can drastically reduce your monthly spending on rent.
  3. Cut Down Monthly Spending Elsewhere:
    Look for other areas to reduce your spending if you can’t cut the price of your rent. Get rid of cable and unused streaming services by using free streaming services or over-the-air channels. If your unit has a washing machine, use cold water instead of hot to reduce energy costs. Turn your air conditioning temperature up or down during the day (to match what would be the normal temperature of the room) while you’re at work or out to save on electricity.

 

Ready to start saving for a home? Make an appointment to get started with ASB today.