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View Poll Results: How did you save for your down payment on first home
Paid 20% down on small starter home, built equity for future down payments 35 33.65%
Inheritance or other "family" help 12 11.54%
Paid less than 20% down 41 39.42%
Other 16 15.38%
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How did you save for your down payment for your home?
Old 03-01-2008, 12:38 PM   #1
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How did you save for your down payment for your home?

I know the prevailing winds here are for you to pay the 20% down for your home. How did you do it?
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:41 PM   #2
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I saved by spending less money than I made.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:50 PM   #3
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Being from CA, I think I'm particulary interested in those who live in high cost areas where LBYM alone makes it tough...a first home/townhome/condo around here is about $400-500k for a 3-4 bedroom (if you have kids)...and just a year or two ago was closer to $600k-$700k for good school districts... Aside from my fantasies of relocating to CO, or renting forever, I'm curious to see what others have done.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:50 PM   #4
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i'm in a rural area slowly becoming residential.

saved enough for 10% down payment, FIL loaned us $10K at 6% interest to cover closing costs and move-in expenses. paid that personal loan off in 3 years.

a historical perspective to compare to today's climate - this was late 1984 and local credit union had 20 year fixed interest rates = 14.5% + 0.25% PMI, no prepayment penalty. best deal at the time.

that interest rate was painful. but refinanced 4 years later at 10% fixed and lived happily ever after. paid off the mortgage in 15 years flat (versus buy new car).

have no clue what new homebuyers are facing today. anyone out there looking at a homeowners loan?
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:52 PM   #5
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When I was young (and foolish?) and saving up for a first downpayment, I was unimpressed by the low rates in Money Market funds and saved up the downpayment in a separate account using a balanced equity income fund. As it happened, I found a house (and a lender) way earlier than expected and instead did a 90% loan with PMI. Luckily that also got my downpayment out of the market before anything bad happened to it. I saved the rest of the downpayment retroactively by putting it towards the principal until I could get the loan down enough that lender would drop PMI.

If I had to do it again, I'd use a Money Market fund in a separate account. Short term risk in stock market investments is too high for money I want to use for housing in a few years. I'm doing something like that now to save some funds to bridge between ER and first draw on retirement assets. I let them accumulate in an interest (barely) bearing checking account until there's enough to sweep into a Vanguard Money Market fund (prime money market).
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:56 PM   #6
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Oh, I also moved from my nice rented place into a really really cheap place while I saved. The year spent on the cheap both made it easier to save and strongly reinforced the desire to do so, so I could buy a place of my own.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:13 PM   #7
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I put ZERO down, and got 2 loans 80/20 to avoid PMI .... effective APR of 7.5 30 yr fixed, 19 yrs old, self employed, NO emp verification, showed $3k in bank , 1 point

And you wonder why the lenders are scramblin!!!!

I was able to re-fi with a big bank and it was stated as well, no verification.... 5.5% fixed 15 yr no points
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:38 PM   #8
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20K cash savings down in 1981 for a 81K house in Torrance, CA area 2 years after
college graduation. Traded up in 1987, put 32K down on 154K house in Long Beach, CA.
Still there (house now worth $400K, down from $525K peak)
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Old 03-01-2008, 02:38 PM   #9
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Bought a piece of crap old house in '78 with holes in the ceiling from where the (missing) oil stove chimmny went through, glass fuses, leaking wood shingle roof, primitive bathroom. That's what i could afford with the $5000 i had saved that made up 20% or so of the purchase price. Fixed things as i could afford to pay for them using my labor and salvaged/surplus/sale material. Months of time with no operational kitchen (bathroom water is much the same). Months of time with the only heat being a wood stove in the bathroom at the far end of the house. Seems like people today are entitled to much better things than i felt i was. Good for them if they can afford it!
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:00 PM   #10
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Had to vote "other". We rented for many years until we were over age 36. While renting, we invested our money in mutual funds. When we bought our house we put 20% down for a 3000+ sq ft 4 br 3.5 ba, 2 car garage home that is closer to a McMansion than a starter home. We had saved/invested so much, we could've paid cash, but decided not to. The mortgage payment is less than the rent of the apartment we used to live in.

To add: We've owned the same home for 13 years now. We still owe more than half the purchase price on the mortgage. Also the home value has not kept up with inflation, so if we sold, I'm sure we could say we lost money on the deal.
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:21 PM   #11
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I was 23 when I bought a condo in San Jose in 1989. I put about 7% down, and the mortgage rate was (eek) 11%.

I refi'd twice -- all the way down to 6.5% -- before selling it in 1997 to buy a single family residence nearby. I used personal savings, equity in the condo and a $10,000 gift from dear old Mom and Dad in order to get 10% down on a $239,000 property.
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:28 PM   #12
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Married at 21 and mutually decided to delay starting our family until we had our own house. Shared the goal of having enough down payment so that the monthly mortgage payment would be affordable on my salary only and DW could stop work and we could start our family. We both worked and we lived very frugally (one bedroom 2nd floor flat on the northwest side, all donated furniture from friends and relatives, etc.) and purchased our first home after two years. $12k down on a $34.5k home.

That first home was tiny but located on a one acre lot in a swanky Chicago suburb and was surrounded by upscale homes. We sold it for $48k four years later and moved into a new, modest, but custom built to our specs house on a smaller lot. Rolled all profits from the first house into the second retaining a very affordable mortgage payment ref my salary.

Still living in that second house today, 31 years later. Many folks have explained to us that we shouldn't have worried about the affordability of our mortgages and that putting down a lot of money was a financial mistake. But, heck, we felt comfortable, lived life as we wanted never having the pressure of a large monthly payment and enjoy a secure, if somewhat modest, retirement today.

Edited to add: BTW, our housing style is congruent with the rest of our financial history. No big investment wins. No big inheritance. Only a few years of higher than average salary. Slow and steady conservative living. When friends ask how I managed to get to FIRE by 58, they're asleep within seconds of listening to the boring story! (Note: our financial life has been pretty boring. Overall, we've had more than our share of excitement/adventures/fretting and worrying/joy and celebration in our lives.)
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:49 PM   #13
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Did 10% with PMI brought in 3 boarders to help defray the huge payment on the $24,000 mortgage (1980's) and relied on a microwave for cooking for the first six months before I liked our cash position enough to splurge on a used stove.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:04 PM   #14
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In the fall of 1976 DH and I moved into the basement of his parents house so that we could quickly save for the required 20% down for a house. By March of '77 we had $8000 saved and bought $40,000 bungalow. Our payment was $322 a month which at the time was 25% of our combined salarys.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:06 PM   #15
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My pay went up drastically, and instead of spending it I continued to LBYM. As a result I accumulated $60K within a couple of years. It was early 2002, and I was still a little too timid about the market to invest it. So there it sat. When I decided in the summer of 2002 to buy a house, why, there was my down payment!

Actually I only had to use $32K for my 20% down payment. After paying closing costs, moving expenses, buying furniture, and so on, I still had quite a bit left. When I sent some in as a lump sum payment, I was astounded at how much it shortened the length of my mortgage. But that is another story.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:21 PM   #16
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We married young, lived in a tiny, but cheap apartment for 7 years and saved up for a down payment. Like "youbet" we wanted to have a house before we had kids and we wanted to be able to afford it on just my husband's income.

In 1983 we had saved $11,000 and my dad had generously offered that he would match what we had saved. But he had no idea that his LBYM attitude had rubbed off on me so well and he never thought we'd have as much as we had! So he was able to give us $8000.

We went house shopping and found a 4 bedroom, 2 bath 28 year old house for $60,000. We put down $15,000 and financed $45,000 at 12 3/8%. We had enough left for closing costs and moving and start-up costs. Our old refrigerator did not tolerate the move well and our first surprise about living in a house came when we had to go shopping for a new refrigerator before even unpacking.

We are still in the same house and it's paid off. We refinanced a couple of times, when the rates dropped from the highs in the 1980's.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:30 PM   #17
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I did a no income verification loan 100% financed hehe. Doubt you can do that anymore.

BUT, a starter house where I live is 50-100k.

I have a 3 bedroom 3 bath 4 car garage house now that cost me 130k or so.

I can see where being in California would be very tough.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:47 PM   #18
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Our first home was back in 1977. We paid 5% down, but the mortgage was only 1.5 x our annual income so never had any worries. We married while in college, were aged 22, had graduated 3 months earlier, and both earned the same money as EE engineers. House prices were rising fast back then in that area and we were living in the red light area of the city and couldn't wait to get out of there.

We actually sold it 18 months later when we changed jobs and moved out of the area for 40% more than we paid for it.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:50 PM   #19
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Almost 30 years ago: only had 10% cash, both had good jobs, got FHA backed load (9.25%).
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Old 03-01-2008, 05:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
purchased our first home after two years. $12k down on a $34.5k home.

That first home was tiny but located on a one acre lot in a swanky Chicago suburb and was surrounded by upscale homes. We sold it for $48k four years later
Wow, 8.6% annual compounded appreciation and a 113% return on your down payment. Has that continued to be typical for Chicago?
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