How To Save For A Home When All Your Money Is Going Toward Rent

Dated: December 3 2015

Views: 713

Renters everywhere are feeling the constraints of rising rents. Higher rents erode your ability to save the cash you need to buy a home. Your living situation becomes a Catch-22: the longer you rent, the bigger percentage of your discretionary income you may need to save to offset rent increases.

house-in-distance

Saving up to buy a home is no easy feat. You typically need at least a minimum of $20,000 to cover a down payment plus closing costs. That’s because you’ll need at least a 3.5% down payment to qualify for a mortgage and closing costs can be around $7,000 to $10,000 (about 2% to 3% of the purchase price). This goes without saying, but the higher the home price, the more funds you will need for the down payment.


Picture this scenario: you’re diligently putting away at least 15% of your gross monthly income to buy a home in the near future. If your income is $8,333 per month ($100,000 a year) either from you or a spouse or combined, you would be saving $15,000 per year (or $1,250 a month) to meet that 15% mark.


Savings tip: A 15% home savings rate is a figure you may want to aim for if you make at least $60,000 a year and are looking to buy a house within the next two years. In some markets, however, your savings rate may need to be higher to be consistent with the cost of living in that area.


As demand for housing remains strong, monthly rents are subject to change commensurate with what the market will bear. Let’s say your rent payment is $2,200 per month now, but rises to $2,500 due to housing market changes. You would need to find a way to recover the $300 increase if that money was formerly going into your savings fund. How do you do it?


How to keep rent increases from ruining your plan


Taking no action and using the money you would be saving for a home to cover the higher rent payment will lengthen your home-buying trajectory as your savings rate diminishes. With the rent now at $2,500 and your annual income still at $100,000, your savings rate, as a consequence of losing that $300, falls to 11.4% a year.

You may still get you a home, but will perhaps have to look for one in a lower price range or a different neighborhood. Alternately, you can lengthen your timeframe for making your purchase. You can also cut expenses to offset the rent increase. Here are a few ways to possibly do so:


  1. Cut an expense equal to the rent increase. Sounds obvious, but if you can find another spending area to cut back on (Daily Starbucks? A rarely used gym membership? Online shopping?) rather than diverting the home savings to cover your higher rent, you’ll be able to stay on track.

  2. Look for a new place with a lower rental obligation. The process might be difficult, but could be worth it for the greater good of buying a home in the near future.

  3. Move in with family to aggressively save for your new house. Going from $2,200 a month in rent to $0 can super-accelerate your home-buying timeline.

  4. Get a roommate to help pay the rent and offset the increase.

  5. Lock in your rental amount with a lease, keeping in mind that a lease binds you to the property. This contract, however, might not be such a bad thing if the term of the lease is consistent with your savings and home-buying plan.

  6. Consider buying a home sooner, if you’re financially able to do so. Many 401(k) and retirement fund accounts allow for special privilege borrowing provisions to buy a primary residence. If you have a slush fund in your 401(k), this could be a good option and the money comes out of your paycheck pre-tax.


Source

Blog author image

Mark Ross

For Mark Ross, founder of Ross NW Real Estate and professional real estate broker, real estate has always been the career of choice. During his 25+ years in the industry, Mark has gained experience in....

Latest Blog Posts

6 Home Upgrades Buyers Want In The COVID19 Era

If you imagined 2020 was the year you would finally list your house for sale, you may have hit the brakes on those plans when the coronavirus pandemic arrived.But now, we’re more than six months

Read More

Builder Confidence Breaks Previous 35 Year Record High

The National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose two points to 85 in October – the highest score the series has ever recorded since its inception 35 years ago

Read More

7 Simple Renovations To Coronavirus Proof Your Home

As much as we all wish we could go back to a time when social distancing was a foreign concept and masks were just something you wore with a Halloween costume, it’s clear by now that COVID-19’

Read More

The Forbearance Crash Bros Spoke Too Soon

The health and economic crisis has made 2020 a horrific year for many Americans. Added to all that misery we had terrible fires in the West and hurricanes in the East.  From my perspective,

Read More