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Nearly Half of Couples Chip In Equally for Home Down Payment, NerdWallet Finds

When it comes to purchasing a home, 41% of Americans who bought their current home with a partner* reported that both partners contributed equal amounts of money toward their down payment, according to a new NerdWallet survey.

NerdWallet commissioned an online survey, conducted in June 2016 by Harris Poll, of more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The poll delved into how homeowners sourced their down payments and what their common disagreements and fears were during the process.

Key takeaways

Among Americans who bought their current home with a partner:

  • 11% of women contributed all or more to the down payment than their partner.
  • 29% of adults in the Northeast contributed all or more of the down payment than their partners did, while only 17% of adults in the West contributed all or more than their partners.

Three in five homeowners are unsure how much they saved monthly toward a down payment for their current home

In general, homebuyers can expect to pay as little as 3.5% down for an FHA loan, or up to 20% of a home’s purchase price for a conventional loan, as a down payment, not to mention needing additional cash on hand for closing costs.

NerdWallet’s survey found that homeowners who recalled how much they saved for a down payment on their current home, individually saved an average of $1,078.50 monthly for that purpose. However, 60% of homeowners said that they weren’t sure how much money they individually saved on a monthly basis, which might suggest a lack of budgeting and planning.

Other savings trends

  • It took homeowners who needed to save an average of three years before purchasing their current home.
  • One in four homeowners saved money individually, on a monthly basis, to put toward the down payment of their current home.
  • 42% of millennial homeowners (ages 18-34) saved individually, on a monthly basis, for a down payment when they purchased their current home, while only 29% of Gen X homeowners (35-54) did the same.
  • More than half (52%) of millennial homeowners needed to save money before purchasing their current home.
  • Significantly more male homeowners needed to save up before buying a home (47%) compared with female homeowners (32%).

Tips for getting a mortgage you can afford

Finding the right house is just the first step. There are some practical ways to get a home loan that fits your needs — and your budget. Some tips include:

  1. Clean up your credit.
  2. Look for homes at the lower end of your budget.
  3. Shop around for the right lender.
  4. Consider the costs of owning a home.
  5. Focus on needs, not wants, in your home search.

Read additional survey results in the full story.

* “Partner/partners” refers to homeowners who purchased their current home with a partner or spouse.

Deborah Kearns is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website.