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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%
Voters: 104. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-02-2008, 01:58 PM   #41
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I lived in the city and my parents lived 40 miles away in a more affordable town. I saved and saved and bought a house near my parents since I traveled to see them every few weeks anyway. Paid 20% down. Rented the house out and kept my room in a shared house. Saved some more. Put 20% down on a second house for myself, again, in my parents' town.

Sold house #1 for tidy profit last year. Will take that and plan to put 20% or more down on a house I want -- back in the city -- in the next couple of years as prices deflate / flatten. Debating whether to sell house #2 at that time or rent it out and wait 5-10 years for a decent market.

This was a convoluted way to go about affording a house in a high-rent area, but as a single-income, high-tech (read "high-risk") worker, it allowed me to take on a reasonable debt, spread my risk, and sleep at night.

Keeping my job through the tech bubble was sheer dumb luck -- it could easily have gone the other way, and I built the worst-case scenario into my plans.
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:52 PM   #42
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Two years of renting up & down I-95 between Ballston Spa & Orlando.

VA loan in my first submarine homeport (Charleston, SC) on a 2BR 2BA condo in 1984. (Anyone know if Mt. Pleasant's Village Creek condos are still a decent place to live?) Paid about $50K, held it for three years, lost money.

Saved lots of sub pay and couldn't spend it during sea duty. When I was out on 90-day patrols I used to have a realtor (submarine spouse) rent my (furnished) place out to other junior officers during their househunting trips.

Used every nickel we newlyweds had for the down payment on a 2BR 2.5BA condo ("The Glen") in Pacific Grove, CA in 1987. Bought at $185K with about 15% down and paid PMI on a variable-rate loan for over two years. Sold for $215K and used every penny of our profits to buy a 4BR 2BA Oahu fixer-upper which we rent out today.

We put a lot of sweat equity into our homes but the market timing and military housing allowances sure helped.

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Author of the book written on "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement."

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Old 03-02-2008, 04:36 PM   #43
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I rented until I was 34 and the young wife and I had been married for 9 years. Our down payment came from savings over that time. For the first 8 years we owned the house, we rented out an attached in-law apartment to help us make the mortgage payments. (The apartment has since been incorporated into the house).

The 150 year old house has required substantial work over the years, as it was originally purchased, in a sadly neglected state, by a flipper who put in minimal, cheaply done cosmetic stuff (like cheap wall to wall carpet instead of refinishing the hardwood floors, cheap vinyl wallpaper over cracked plaster walls and acoustic ceiling tile over cracked plaster ceilings. But that's what made it cheap enough to buy in the first place.

We have refinanced 3 times to take advantage of lower rates and to bring in the term. We never took any money out. Today, we have at least 85% equity in the house and the only reason we don't pay off the mortgage is that it is only 5% money and I'd rather invest in something else.
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:34 PM   #44
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Decided we wanted a house... saved 5% over a year. Bought in 2001 after the slump. Builder did $15k in concessions... used that to put another 5% on the house and cover closing costs. Paid extra as fast as possible to eliminate PMI.

So, 10% down.

In retrospect, I wish we had stayed out of the market.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:20 AM   #45
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We put 10% down, borrowing most of it from our RRSPs under the RRSP Home Buyer's Plan (HBP).
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:41 AM   #46
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Saved up cash for the downpayment in the bank, setting aside the cash at a rate equal to an estimate of what the mortgage payments would be, in order to get a feel in advance for how manageable the mortgage really would be.
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:04 PM   #47
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This is incredibly helpful - thanks for sharing...I don't feel totally out of it...seems at least 10% will be doable in about 3 years or so and if the prices keep falling/level out we're in even better shape...
If i think of something clever to say, i'll put it here...
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:41 PM   #48
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lived with parents after getting out of the army and saved some money

wanted to move out at one time and had my mom yell at me and call me stupid for wanting to waste money on rent rather than save for a place of my own
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:47 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post
lived with parents after getting out of the army and saved some money

wanted to move out at one time and had my mom yell at me and call me stupid for wanting to waste money on rent rather than save for a place of my own
Mothers do know best.
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:10 PM   #50
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We saved up about 30% for a down payment on the first house. But we're pretty conservative / frugal / cheap. Especially my wife, about some things.

Vacations, on the other hand -- just bought $3000 worth of air tickets for our trip to Tibet!
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:57 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by bright eyed View Post
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.
My story will be too old for this new timeframe though. DH and I were just engaged. He had $8K saved and I had $12K saved, but we needed more. We're in the SF Bay Area. We asked our parent to give us $30K, making our down payment $80K for our $250K townhouse back in 2000. Interest rate was 10.65%, and our mortgage was $1560/month, which was the most we could (barely) afford since we made about $3,400 total before taxes. In 1999, we refinanced and took out some of the equity, $160K, and bought our current house for $400K. I have no clue how people can do this now. 20% of $700 is $140K! We would never dare to ask for that type of help, nor would they have had the money!
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Old 03-03-2008, 10:57 PM   #52
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i never figured out how to get that high paying job as a college dropout but worked my butt off for family construction and saved enough for a 10% downpayment on a house. then a construction accident set me back a few years right while i started house hunting. workman's comp idiot was convinced i was in cahoots with my parents who owned the company and so they did their very best to screw me. cost me about $20k of my own money for bills, living expenses while laid up & retraining.

on recovery, i had the genius idea of going into publishing so i got a degree and landed myself a $6/hour job at a local newspaper. a few years and jobs later i'd finally saved up enough money to house hunt once more. but i was even dumber then than now about finance and so only saved in a savings account. i had enough for a little florida cracker house in a little florida crack town so i worked on the house and worked on the town and seems all that effort paid off pretty well.

and then i inherited anyway. damn, i could have been a beach bum that entire time.
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"life should begin with age and its privileges and accumulations, and end with youth and its capacity to splendidly enjoy such advantages."~~mark twain - letter to edward kimmitt 1901
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:38 PM   #53
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We had a VA loan and did not put any money down. We were not that good at saving money at that time, but we were good at making our payments. We have bought 3 homes and all 3 were VA loans with 0 down. We paid $70,000.00 for the home that we are living in now and paid it off within 10 years.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:50 PM   #54
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I had to vote other.
We put 20% down on a house that we grew into (4 bed, 2.5 bath).

How we saved:
1) Only bought what we needed for 1 year prior to our engagement, then subsequent wedding, then pregnant, then house (literally all within 1.5 years).
2) Wife's paycheck went straight into the money market account (it was paying 7%-8% back then).
We saved all of her take-home pay, plus part of mine to make sure we put down 20% when we settled on the house.
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