7 Ways to Save Money When Buying a House



save money buying a house

So you’re buying a new home and want to get the best deal possible.

Besides getting a good deal on the house, many other things can save you money.

In this article, we will explore the different ways to save money when buying a house.

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1. Use an Experienced Local Real Estate Agent

A good Realtor will save you a lot of time, money, and heartbreak. Their experience in the home buying process and real estate contract expertise is vital for getting the best deal on a home and ensuring the process goes smoothly.

While some first-time buyers may try to save some money by not using an agent, this will hurt more than help. In fact, you, as the buyer, do not pay the commission to the Realtor; the seller does. A Buyers agent commission is figured into the contract. Sellers expect any buyers to have their own agent.

A real estate agent will negotiate various things in the contract to protect you and save you money you may never even heard of. You can get referrals to good local agents from friends and family or use sites like Trulia and Zillow.

2. Get Loan Quotes from Multiple Lenders

Interest rates will vary from lender to lender, so it’s recommended you get loan quotes from at least 3-4 different mortgage companies. Lenders charge various other fees for processing a mortgage, loan origination fee, loan application fees, etc. In the loan estimate, you will be able to see the fees charged clearly.

Not only can you use these loan quotes to help you negotiate lower fees and rates. But they give you a chance to speak with different loan officers to see who you’re the most comfortable with.

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3. Have 20% Saved for the Down Payment

Unless you’re coming to the table with a 20% down payment, you’re going to be stuck paying for mortgage insurance. Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is insurance on the mortgage loan itself. If a borrower defaults on the loan, the lender is reimbursed for the funds lost.

FHA loans will require mortgage insurance regardless of the amount of your down payment. One of the drawbacks of FHA loans is that mortgage insurance is usually required for the life of the loan. Many people refinance out of an FHA loan into a conventional one once their LTV ratio is below 78%.

4. Increase Your Credit Score

The higher your credit score, the cheaper your loan will be. Lender fees and interest rates are tied directly to your credit rating. You can do a few simple things to improve your credit score quickly before applying for a mortgage loan.

Pay Down Your Credit Card Balances

The balance on your credit cards vs. the credit limit is called your credit utilization ratio. This ratio accounts for 30% of your overall FICO score, only your payment history (35%) has a higher impact on your credit rating.

It’s recommended to keep your balances below 15% of your credit limits to maximize your credit score.

Don’t Apply for New Loans or Credit

New accounts and hard inquiries make up 10% of your credit score. When you open a new account, your credit score will take an initial drop for a couple of months. When you know you’re going to be applying for a mortgage soon, it’s best to hold off on buying that new car or credit card.

5. Find a House that Needs some Work

You are probably looking for a home that will sweep you off your feet and doesn’t need any work. The problem is, so is everybody else. Homes with lots of upgrades and custom features will cost much more than a home that needs some love.

Finding that diamond in the rough can be a great way to save a bunch of money. Adding custom fixtures and lighting is relatively easy to do. Painting walls and adding your own personal touch can be very rewarding while saving you cash.

6. Get the Right Type of Mortgage Loan

Depending on your situation, some loan programs are better than others. For instance, Veterans can qualify for a VA loan and not have to put any money down or pay mortgage insurance.

If you’re not buying a home inside a major metropolitan area, you may qualify for a USDA loan. The Department of Agriculture created USDA home loans to help low-to-median income buyers become homeowners in rural parts of the country.

Not only do these mortgage loans not require a down payment, but mortgage insurance on USDA loans is much lower than other types of loans at just 0.35% of the loan amount. This could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars annually.

7. Purchase a Home in Winter

The time of the year can also dictate the housing market. Spring and Summer’s months often demand the highest prices because most consumers are in the market to purchase. Waiting to buy a home in the winter months can save you as much as $20,000, according to NerdWallet.