10 Unique Ways Homeowners Saved to Buy a House

Tired of rising rent prices? Looking for a place to really call home? The lack of quality affordable housing can make the dream of homeownership seem unreachable. It doesn't have to be this way! Take heart from these 10 hopeful stories, along with some practical tips and insights for making the dream a reality.

  1. Know Your Goals—In Detail

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    Know Your Goals—In Detail

    If a single, working waitress can buy a home, you can too. That’s Chelsea Hoffer’s message. She advises you to first know what you’re aiming for. Have everything planned out, from the city you want to live in to the amount of money you can save each week. If you keep clear, motivating goals in mind, you are more likely to stick to your plan.

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  2. Make a Plan and Stick to It

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    Make a Plan and Stick to It

    Kenny and Courtney Dalen bought their first home when they were each just 23 years old, thanks to strict savings guidelines and a DIY attitude to home repair. They determined how much they could spend on a home, and they stayed on target. “Stick to your guns! Don’t feel intimidated if people try to counter your offer.”

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  3. “Don’t Waste the Crumbs”

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    “Don’t Waste the Crumbs”

    Can you go from “an obscene amount of debt” to buying a house with cash? That’s what Tiffany, the blogger at Don’t Waste the Crumbs, accomplished. She encourages prospective homeowners to think holistically—and long-term. Achieving their goal took her family eight years of life readjustments, expense reduction, and, ultimately, relocation, but at the end of the road was their dream house, mortgage-free.

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  4. Harness the "Snowball Effect”

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    Harness the

    A number of savers, including Kenny and Courtney Dalen, achieved homeownership through the debt snowball method, a term coined by debt guru Dave Ramsey. With this approach, people pay off debt in order, from smallest to largest. Once that first debt is paid off, the money that would have gone to that debt goes toward the next smallest, and the process gain momentum. Once the slate is clear, all savings can go toward the purchase of a home.

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  5. Do the Side Hustle

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    Do the Side Hustle

    “Radical frugality” isn’t the only way to save for a house, says Desirae Odjick in an article for Vice. Over three years, this blogger took on extra writing assignments in addition to her full-time marketing job. She stashed her side-hustle earnings in a separate home savings account, which funded the down payment on her first home.

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  6. Find Allies with Connections

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    Find Allies with Connections

    You are not alone. At least, you don’t have to be. This was Abby Lawson’s experience as she saved up for a house. After she did the math and set up a priority list, she found “an incredible real estate agent” to help her navigate the market. Check out this article on the Forbes site, which lists five other professionals who can help you in the home-buying journey, and probably save you some money too. 

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  7. Seek Real Community

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    Seek Real Community

    Tina Gleisner’s blog, Home Tips for Women, is filled with excellent advice for homeowners of all genders. Her detailed articles cover topics of interest to prospective homeowners. Pay special attention to her advice on homeownership and community values, and why location really matters.

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  8. Don’t Be Influenced by Lenders

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    Don’t Be Influenced by Lenders

    Excited by the high number on your loan pre-approval? Don’t trust it, says blogger Millennial Boss. “In retrospect, we should have bought a house that was less than half that amount.” Be cautious of the lending industry, and know your own budget, which should include all the hidden and additional costs of homeownership. You can save a lot by buying a home within your means.

    Related: Watch Out for 12 Real Estate Tactics Designed to Make You Spend More

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  9. Comparison Shop (for Homes and Loans)

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    Comparison Shop (for Homes and Loans)

    The saving process can be long and intense, so it can be tempting to jump for the first home that meets your budget and general requirements. Valencia Higuera advises you to wait and shop around, not only for houses, but for banks and loan rates too. Keep your options open, and don’t feel pressured.

    Related: 10 Things Real People Regret About Buying a Home

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  10. Spend More Now, Save Later

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    Spend More Now, Save Later

    The less money you put into a down payment, the riskier your loan and the higher your mortgage rates may be. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends saving a solid 20 percent for your down payment. Get motivated and save big by joining the Down Payment Movement, founded by Benjamin Feldman and 14 other personal finance bloggers.

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  11. Make Your Real Estate Dreams a Reality

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    Make Your Real Estate Dreams a Reality

    With discipline and hard work, you can reach your savings goals for a new home.

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