Home Buying Timeline: How Long Does it Take to Save Up a Down Payment?

A family holding a piggy bank.

Time and again, we hear from potential buyers that one of the most challenging parts of buying a home is saving up for the down payment.

Many people believe that they need a 20% down payment in order to buy a home, but that’s not really true. While 20% is a standard, it is by no means the only option for putting down a deposit on a home.

In fact, there are a wide variety of mortgage loans out there that may only require as little as a 3% down payment. If you’re still saving up for your home’s down payment, here are a few things to keep in mind about your buying timeline.

How Long Does it Take to Save up a 20% Down Payment?

This depends largely on your financial circumstances. How much you make in a year, your current debt and monthly expenses, and your saving patterns will largely dictate how much (and how quickly) you’ll be able to save.

Many financial advisors suggest saving around 20% of your monthly income throughout the year, and this is certainly a great place to start! However, if you want to buy a home as soon as possible, you may have to be a more aggressive saver.

It also depends on what state you live in. In fact, the number of years it takes a median-income earner to save up for a 20% down payment differs largely by state.

How Long Does it Take Buyers in North Carolina?

Two adults pointing at a tablet lying flat on a table.

In North Carolina, it generally takes someone around two years to save up enough money for a down payment. In other states, depending on median housing prices, this may be as high as 30 years, or as low as a little over one.

But that’s just for the 20% down payment option. If you’re eligible for a 3% down payment program, it may only take you about half a year to save up for a down payment.

All in all, it depends largely on your financial situation!

How Much Should I Spend on Housing in a Month?

The age-old rule for handling your income is the 50/30/20 rule. Half of your monthly income should go to necessities like housing, healthcare, and food. 30% should go towards discretionary spending, and 20% should go to savings.

Experts in real estate agree that of that 50%, no more than 30% of your income should go towards your housing expenses.

How Do I Navigate the Financial Side of Buying a Home?

We can help with that. Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have years of experience helping home buyers from a wide variety of backgrounds find success in the greater Raleigh real estate market. Not only can we walk you through your many options as a buyer, but we can also connect you with professional lenders in the area.

Have a question about buying a home in Raleigh? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call or browse our free resources today.

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