Guess this house...   Okay, I'll tell you, but I'll only say it once: Beetle Juice.

Guess this house...   Okay, I'll tell you, but I'll only say it once: Beetle Juice.

So you are thinking about becoming home owner? In my experience, it isn't the monthly mortgage payment that's the biggest challenge. You're already paying that each month in rent. The big hurdle will be saving up your acorns for a downpayment. Typically downpayments range from 3.5% to 20%. If that seems like a large sum, here are some tips and common strategies to get you in your new house. 

  • Cut your debt load. Pay down the plastic, yesterday.

  • Tap your IRA. Let the IRS help. Tax laws allow you to use up to $10k in IRA funds as a downpayment so long as you've never owned a house. If you're married and both first time home buyers, you can both pull from your IRAs and potentially put down $20k.

  • Get a Gift. Great Aunt Agnes always preferred you. Make the most of that favoritism and ask for help with your downpayment. Tax laws allows gifts up to $14k per year without tax consequence to giver or recipient. BTW, a gift can come from ANYONE.

  • Ask for a raise. How long has it been since your last performance review?

  • Okay, so there's no Great Aunt Agnes, and your boss is a scrooge. There's always a second job. Consider a year of part time work dedicated to owning your first home. This option makes the most sense for those who are young and not fully established in their professional lives, but applies to all.