Key Ways to save for your down payment.

By Lydia Huard, San Diego Market Manager, Wells Fargo Home Lending

If you dream of owning your own home but don’t think you have enough money for a down payment, take another look. You could already have enough, or you might be closer than you think.

In Wells Fargo’s recent “How America Views Homeownership” survey, 23 percent of people who do not currently own a home say one reason is that it is difficult to save enough money for a down payment. But many consumers overestimate how much they need. Four out of 10 respondents believe a 20-percent down payment is required.

In reality, you may have other options. Some financing programs allow qualified homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent. A home mortgage consultant can help determine what you may qualify for. They will also help you understand how much you need for a down payment and other upfront costs of buying a home, and for ongoing expenses such as insurance, homeowners’ association fees and unexpected repairs. Here are some savings tips to consider:

1. Pay down credit card and loan debt so you save money on interest. This may also boost your credit score and lower your debt-to-income ratio, which helps when applying for a mortgage. To tackle this, start with the account with the highest interest rate, pay more than the minimum, make payments every two weeks instead of monthly, and consider setting up automatic payments.

2. Track your spending habits and evaluate what you can cut. Many helpful budgeting apps are available. Small changes can add up to big savings – for example, bring your own coffee or lunch more often, carpool when possible, get your hair cut less frequently, or cook and watch movies at home more than going out.

3. If you get a raise, bonus or tax refund, stash it away for your future home purchase instead of spending it now.

For more information about buying a home, visit