Topics:Real Estate Home Warranty 101 Budget Smart Homeowner Tips Repair and Maintenance Home Warranty Companies Interior Design
You've finally found the perfect home for you and your family. Now all that's left is to put your house on the market. You're probably eager to get your old home off your hands as soon as possible. But with so many homes for sale, how can you expect to stand out from the crowd? Listing your home at a competitive price and having a quality real estate agent are great ways to make your home stand out from the rest. But what else can you do to make your home the best option in relation to the competition? If you're getting ready to sell your home, consider offering a home warranty. It can be a great tool to appeal to potential buyers and to set you apart from the competition. We've compiled the information below to help you decide if getting a home warranty is the right choice for you and your situation. What is a home warranty? A home warranty covers systems and appliances when they need repairs or replacement. When you get a home warranty, certain appliances in your home are covered for restoration or replacement. This is for those who don't have the funds to make expensive repairs to systems and appliances in the home. It's not uncommon for home warranty companies to offer customized home warranty coverage. You'll be able to choose which systems and appliances you want to be covered. This is a great opportunity to cover only older and/or costly systems. And if you choose to take certain appliances with you, such as a microwave or washer and dryer, you can omit it from your home warranty coverage. Will a home warranty affect my sale? Offering a home warranty can positively affect your sale. Home warranties are appealing to buyers, so it could help you sell your house faster. This is especially the case if the homes in your area stay on the market a little longer than you'd like. If anything, a home warranty can help motivate buyers to seal the deal. Harry Keifer, a co-founder of Achosa Home Warranty, LLC (“ACHOSA”) agrees that "a home warranty can often be a tipping point that assists both the buyer and seller to come to agreeable terms for the sale of a home as home warranties give buyers peace of mind. The history of a property and maintenance of its systems are not always available for a client, so the home warranty can protect against the high costs associated with unexpected home repairs." Carol Gee, an experienced home warranty customer tells us that when her sellers offered her and her husband a home warranty with the home, it made all the difference. "The sellers that we bought our lovely, older home from gave us the home warranty for one year and we continue to use a home warranty to this day. If I ever sell my home, I will definitely provide a home warranty." "As new, first-time homeowners (my husband and I are both retired military veterans) who had lived in military homes almost our entire 20 years in service, we were not aware of home warranties and their value. Warranties are really beneficial, especially when you have older appliances." Gee notes that even if you have newer appliances, a home warranty is still worth it. "Most folks think a home warranty isn't needed when their home and appliances are new. However, unless you have several thousand dollars to repair systems and appliances such as your AC, water heater, and oven (all the items I've used my home warranty for), a home warranty will save you a lot of money, even if you have newer appliances. Home warranties to me are much like health and car insurance. You hope you never have to use them but are happy when you do." How much do home warranties cost? If you're considering getting a home warranty for the house you're selling, there are a few things to keep in mind. Depending on the coverage you choose, a home warranty can cost anywhere from $300 to $700 a year. Typically, home warranties last for a year after the closing date on the new home. And depending on the company, service fees per repair can cost between $60 and $100. What are the benefits of offering a home warranty? It's an incentive for buyers Offering a home warranty can be a good incentive for potential buyers. New and experienced buyers alike appreciate the safety net that a home warranty provides. The last thing they'll want to do is get trapped with unexpected expenses on their new home. Especially if the home's appliances are a few years old, a home warranty can save them money. It gives buyers peace of mind Any home that might be considered hard-to-sell will greatly benefit from a home warranty. For example, if you're selling an older home, providing a warranty is a no-brainer. For buyers who are drawn to the visual charm of an older home but who balk at the thought of out-of-date or worn-down appliances, a warranty gives added peace-of-mind. More buyers will take interest in your sale If your home has been sitting on the market for a while, a home warranty can help drum up some interest. It could be the tipping point for potential buyers who weren't previously interested in your home or who are choosing between multiple options. Companies provide reliable technicians Robert Taylor, a home rehabber/flipper in the Sacramento region, tells us that buyers can have peace of mind "knowing a reputable repair person will be doing the repair. They won't need to spend time looking for a qualified person or wondering if the technicians are going to rip them off trying to sell something they don't need. The last thing you need when you have an appliance failure is a salesperson trying to sell you a brand new system when all you need is a thirty dollar part." It covers current building standards Taylor also explains that home warranties cover current building standards in your area, which could save you a great deal of money. "A premium home warranty plan is coverage for repairs that may involve additional costs to bring repairs up to current building standards. For instance, what if a previous homeowner's installation, repair or modification was not done according to local building codes? A premium home warranty plan will provide funds toward any expenses you may encounter in meeting current building standards. "In some cases, appliances that fail may also require upgrading other components. For example, in California, if you replace your HVAC unit, you'll be required to upgrade your ducting to be energy efficient (Title 24). If you buy only a budget home warranty [or no home warranty at all], you could end up paying several thousand dollars for the upgrades out of your own pocket." It saves buyers money Benjamin Ross, Realtor and Landlord, notes that, "Home warranties are very affordable and offer the new homeowner, who is still a stranger to his new house, a little peace of mind that everything will be okay. I would say from my experience that the most sought after benefit a home warranty has to offer is the ability for the homeowner to have the HVAC system repaired or replaced affordably." Repairs like this can be extremely costly, especially for a new homeowner. Knowing these types of repairs will be covered under a home warranty could put potential buyers at ease. Clara Nicolosi, Owner and Broker of RE/MAX in Hot Springs, Arkansas, agrees with Ross that home warranties are a great benefit, especially for new homeowners. "I am a big fan of Home Warranties, especially for first time home buyers. The advantage of having the home warranty is that many of the mechanical and electrical items in the home will be repaired at a much-reduced cost. The cost is typically a "trade fee" and this amount can vary by home warranty company, but it is typically around $75." That is a small price to pay for a repair or replacement of a big system or appliance that would otherwise cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. For a new homeowner, that could do wonders for your budget. "Having a heat pump go out in the winter and only paying a trade fee to get it repaired, or in some cases replaced, can make or break a new home buyer's budget. I would shop around and find the best home warranty company for your situation, and I am a big fan of having the name and phone number of a representative (a warm body)." Taylor knows that not all buyers will think they need a home warranty, but it's important to explain to buyers that the peace of mind and added protection is worth it. "Buyers may be tempted to avoid a home warranty to save on costs, but it's always a good idea to obtain one, even if your home is brand new. You should think of a home warranty like an insurance policy. You wouldn't think of buying a house without fire insurance. It's just as prudent to make sure you include a home warranty when you buy a home. "After purchasing a home, you may not have the financial ability to handle any significant repairs or equipment failures. Appliances, HVAC systems, and hot water heaters can all fail without notice, even when they look brand new. It's hard to predict if or when an appliance will fail, just like trying to predict if you'll have a house fire." When is a home warranty unnecessary? When your home will sell quickly without one As hard as it is to believe, there might be some situations in which offering a home warranty isn't necessary. If other homes in your area are selling quickly, then it's not worth spending your money on a home warranty. Buyers are clearly already looking for homes in your general area, so you probably don't have to worry about your house sitting on the market for too long. When the home you're selling is a foreclosure Ross also explains that a home warranty likely isn't necessary if it's a home that needs major repairs — a foreclosure, for example, that is being bought by investors looking to buy cheap and flip the home quickly would not be interested in a home warranty. "This is a good thing as many of these homes are not eligible for a full home warranty anyways. Other than that, I can see no reason why a buyer would not want a home warranty included in the sale of their new home." What are the downsides to a home warranty? There's no pre-existing condition coverage Warranty companies have a few specific requirements to keep in mind. Home warranties don't fix pre-existing conditions or appliances that are already broken. Also, your buyers must regularly check and maintain every system and appliance covered by the warranty. An appliance that breaks down due to a lack of maintenance probably isn't covered. The homeowners would have to arrange and pay for those repairs themselves. You can't receive coverage for damages incurred by a broken system or appliance A warranty covers any appliance or system that's broken, but it doesn't repair any damages that occur as a result of the broken appliance. For example, if a dishwasher malfunctions and overflows, the warranty fixes or replaces the dishwasher. But it doesn't repair water damage that occurs because of the broken dishwasher. Again, that'll be left to the homeowners to arrange and pay for those repairs on their own — or use their homeowner's insurance. They require hefty contracts Ross also tells us the downside to a home warranty is the hefty contract you have to sign. "Sometimes you need to be a lawyer to fully understand the home warranty contract. For the typical homeowner, there is a lot left to assumption. It takes a lot of effort to dig down and see what your home warranty is really all about. Also, home warranty companies will go to great measures to repair before they replace. You might have an outdated HVAC system that really should be replaced, but the home warranty company may be reluctant and opt to repair rather than replace it. Most home warranty companies will go to great lengths to band-aid it for as long as they can. This can be very frustrating for the homeowner." Certain companies may have slow repair times Nicolosi also notes another downside. "A downside is each home warranty company has its rules and response times, and sometimes these may not align with how fast we would like the repair completed." To make this as convenient as possible, Nicolosi suggests "Do your research and pick the home warranty that is right for you." Look at home warranty reviews and see which company has positive feedback from consumers and quick response times. This will ensure you are satisfied with your home warranty company because they are responsive and have a satisfied customer base. How can I find a good warranty? Do your research Before you take the plunge, do some research to ensure that you're buying the best warranty. When you get on the phone with a warranty company, there are a few questions you want to ask. With so many warranty companies out there, it's important to make sure you don't get scammed. You want to know what to look for in terms of reputable warranty companies. Read the fine print When you finally decide on a company, make sure to read the fine print. There might be some terms and conditions that cause some problems in the future. For example, keep an eye on how long the warranty contract lasts. If it's longer than a year, you may have reason to be suspicious. Keifer recommends "that you do your own initial research on the market and on real estate professionals in your area to get started. Clarity is important, so take the time to read the fine print and ask questions along the way. Partnering with a reputable real estate professional that has quality local market insights is the best way to ensure your success in promptly selling your home at a price that meets your expectations." What else should I consider when selling a home? Think about getting a home inspection Sure, a home warranty is a convenient service for new homeowners. But chances are, they'll prefer not having to use it at all. Get a pre-home inspection to make sure that all major appliances and systems are running smoothly. Getting a home inspection will cost extra, but it's well worth it. It'll also give you a good idea of what your net proceeds are. Repair appliances and make necessary upgrades If any of your appliances are a bit worn down, make any and all repairs necessary. Even consider making upgrades if an appliance or two are in bad shape. Any steps you can take that will make the move-in process easier for potential buyers are well worth it. Provide a warranty credit Ross also suggests giving the buyer a warranty credit. "Assuming you are selling a functional home, you should offer your prospective buyers a warranty credit. This tells them that you are comfortable with the home's operating systems. Is a home warranty worth it? That's the big question. Should a seller offer a home warranty? Offering a home warranty can increase prospective buyers' interest in your home. You can avoid a few major problems for your home buyers — and yourself — by making sure that you choose a trustworthy warranty company with an excellent reputation. Most buyers will appreciate a home warranty with their new home. If your home has been on the market for a while, it'll most likely help speed things along. Don't underestimate the power of free services. Post also contributed by Natalie Issa Natalie Issa is a content specialist for Credit.com. Her experience spans working with a variety of content, including blog posts and journalistic articles, as well as film and podcasts. She's applied her writing and editing expertise in the retail and digital industries at companies, such as Overstock.com and Deseret Digital Media, while applying her creativity to passion projects in her personal time.
Are you looking to stage a house to make it look its best in order to sell? Do you need to sell fast to save for your next house? According to Professional Staging, a whopping 81 percent of buyers agree that home staging makes it easier to visualize the property for sale as their future home. Not to mention that after staging, a house will spend approximately 73 percent less time on the market. Home staging is a great way to ensure your house is appealing to buyers and will sell quickly. But that doesn’t mean you have to hire a professional home stager. Although it can seem overwhelming, you can still stage your house effectively on your own. We asked the experts for their best home staging advice. With these professional tips, you’ll know exactly how to guarantee buyers will see themselves in your home. Declutter An experienced Realtor, Barry Richards, emphasizes how important decluttering is for house staging. Whether it is too many bold or personal decorations hanging from the walls or too much furniture, having a simplified environment is going to make it easier on the buyer. Richards explains this is often the case because “bold colors and unique decorations in a home will stand in the way of buyers with different tastes.” You want to ensure your tastes and possessions aren’t going to make it difficult for the buyer to “take emotional possession of a home.” Buyers want that freedom to envision themselves in the home, and it is easier to do that with “neutral colors and lack of personal pictures and possessions.” Give the buyer room to imagine! Stick to the Basics Realtor Michael Kelczewski states that a house presentation shouldn’t be “busy.” He expands, “Staging supports the creative envisioning of a prospective buyer. The objective jogs home ownership imagination, so attempt to place objects or furniture accordingly. Common mistakes over-stage a home, creating a “busy” presentation. I suggest sticking to the basic furniture, keeping attention to the property.” Having a simple presentation will, as Kelczewski explained, allow buyers to imagine what they would do with the house if they chose to go through with the purchase. You don’t want to have such a “busy” presentation that the only thing a buyer can see is what you have done with the home. Identify the Most Important Rooms Professional home stager and Realtor, Robin Leigh advises potential sellers to realize that “the most impactful rooms to stage for maximum appeal and scalability are the main rooms of the house, the living and dining rooms, the master bedroom and bath, and the kitchen and nook areas.” Leigh also explains that “the kitchen can get away with a minimal amount of accessories and bar stools at the counter; it just shouldn't be left bare.” And most importantly, a seller should “stage the first rooms a buyer walks into. That is where they connect to the property.” First impressions go a long way with buyers. If they fall in love with the first rooms they see, it is more likely they are going to connect with the rest of the house. Remember the Exterior Evan Roberts, a Real Estate and Property Manager with Dependable Homebuyers, tells us to focus on the exterior and “curb appeal.” Roberts’ experience has shown that the exterior “appeal has a high impact on sales price, and staging the front of the house often costs the least.” He advises sellers to “spread new mulch in the garden, set up rocking chairs on the porch,” and add a ‘welcome home’ sign somewhere in the front yard to create “a welcoming start to a buyer's showing.” Roberts ends by telling sellers to consider setting up flower planters on either side of the front door. He also thinks it’s an added touch if the color of the flowers matches the front door because it “adds a lot of character to a home's curb appeal.” Real estate professional Tara Nelson agrees that the exterior of the home is just as important as the interior. She specifically advises sellers to make the porch inviting, clean up the yard, and make the outside of the house feel homey. Remove Personalized Wallpaper Professional property stylist Karen Gray-Plaisted explains a specific and common mistake among sellers is not removing personal wallpaper. Although it may be a cute addition to your home, it most likely isn’t going to resonate with potential buyers. Buyers want to personalize things such as the wallpaper by themselves. That might also be a roadblock in their decision process because it screams “extra work” for them if they do decide to buy the property. What we are seeing time and time again from the experts is that depersonalizing your home to an extent is an essential home staging tip. Don’t Forget the Fireplace (If Applicable) Jeff Miller, co-founder of the AE Home group real estate team in Maryland, advises home stagers to consider the fireplace. He says “everyone who tours your home sees [a room with a fireplace] as a gathering spot for all their friends and family. You need to make this room look inviting so that they can imagine making future memories in your home.” Miller explains his “go-to staging tool for the mantel is candles. You can buy a set of varying heights to add dimension for a low cost.” He also adds that finding a candle that matches the style and color of the room’s decor is a way to create “a consistent pallet.” Make the Bathroom a Priority Jessica Klingbaum, a real estate agent in New York City, draws our attention to how important the bathroom is to the selling of a house. You can’t, or more so you shouldn’t, go through the home staging process without making sure your bathroom looks pristine. Bathrooms can quickly and easily turn someone either on or off to the house, so it is important to take care of the grimy work. No one wants to buy a house with a less than spotless bathroom. “Re-caulk the tile, scrub the entire bathroom from top to bottom to make it sparkle and shine (as much as possible), reglaze your bathtub and/or tile, etc.” Anything you can do to make the bathroom more appealing is going to be worth it. Potential buyers will notice. Consider Introducing a Scent (Without Going Overboard) Klingbaum also adds that it is important for your house to have a good smell that puts the buyer at ease and creates a homey atmosphere. She recommends using essential oils to create an immediate gratification the second the potential buyer walks through the door. This would also be a helpful tip to implement throughout the rest of the house, not just in the front room. The bathroom, for example, would be another perfect place to have some kind of diffuser or candle to make the room smell pleasant and seem cleaner and fresher. However, make sure you don’t have so many smells that it becomes overwhelming. Stick with the same subtle fragrance, and place it sparingly throughout the rest of the house. Create a Calm Atmosphere George Roser, Broker and Real Estate Agent, tells us another way to create an inviting atmosphere is to play soft music. Roser explains that it “not only sets a relaxing mood, but it helps to drown out any unexpected noise that may appear outside.” This would help keep the potential buyer focused and unaffected by possible distractions. But as Roser suggested, make sure it’s soft music; you don’t want to make it seem like you’re trying too hard or make it difficult to hear. The art of subtlety goes into almost every home staging tip. Let Less Be More In the event that your home is already vacant, Realtor Bill Golden explains “staging can help, but it isn’t always necessary,” especially if the only way to fully stage the home is to poorly furnish it in a hurry. If you don’t have enough furniture and belongings to fill the home, consider using that to your advantage by focusing on other parts of the home, such as freshly painted walls or shiny wood floors. Allowing the home to be less “busy” will accentuate the other less obvious features of your home and create a more spacious area. This will also give buyers more of an opportunity to imagine their own furniture and belongs in the house. Lastly, just because your house is vacant doesn’t mean you can’t use the above tips to help stage your house just as effectively as a fully furnished house. We hope these tips give you an idea of what home staging tips are going to be the most successful in selling your home. Once you have sold the old house and are starting to prepare the new one, consider looking into the best home warranty companies to protect your systems and appliances. This will not only be useful to protect your home, but if you ever have to home stage again in the future, you won't have to worry about replacing anything because your systems and appliances will be covered.
Saving for a house can be a daunting task, but is one of adulthood's most exciting milestones. You're settling down into a new home, but you're also giving up a large sum of your money in the process. So, how do you prepare for such an important purchase? The obvious thing to do is to put aside money from your income and save it for a down payment. But how can you do this without breaking the bank and becoming completely overwhelmed? Identifying unique saving techniques that will work better than or in addition to your current saving methods can be stressful. Well, that’s where we come in. We’ve done the research for you and asked financial experts, homeowners, and real estate agents what they advise potential homeowners to do when saving for a house. Here are some ideas that can help you on your journey to home sweet home: Save Expected Monthly Mortgage for a Year Jimmy Thai bought his first home a year and a half after his college graduation, and from there he purchased additional rental properties every three years. As you can see, he definitely had success with his money-saving efforts. Thai suggests, “Put away your expected monthly mortgage payment for a year to see if this discipline impacts your spending and/or lifestyle. After a year, either you have 4% toward your down payment and know how to deal with a mortgage payment, or you learn that you are not ready for a mortgage obligation.”Although Thai’s advice may take a little longer to implement into your saving routine, it is definitely worth considering. This way, you not only know if you’re ready to handle a mortgage payment, you’ll also have the experience of paying one, so you won’t be ill-prepared when you do finally own a home. Cut Back on Costly Habits Desare Kohn-Laski, broker and owner of Skye Louis Realty, shared this tip: “We all know when trying to save for a house that budgeting is essential. But what about the simple ways of saving that don’t require you to balance a checkbook every time you swipe a card? Think about that one daily or weekly purchase that probably has a less expensive option. For example, if your kryptonite is a Grande latte from Starbucks every morning, try kicking it old school for a while and making a cup of coffee at home before work. (Keurigs are lifesavers). Even if you don’t have a caffeine addiction, I’m sure there’s one weekly treat you give yourself, whether it’s eating out or Happy Hours after a stressful day at the office. Cut back on these small expenses and watch your bank grow.”Kohn-Laski’s advice is a simpler approach to saving money that could help you save money without breaking the bank. Habitual purchases such as getting a daily or weekly coffee can really add up. While cutting back and putting that money towards your house instead may seem small at first, like Kohn-Laski said, soon enough you will see your bank account start to grow. Try House Sitting Kelly Hayes-Raitt, a blogger and published author who discovered housesitting as an appealing way to save for a house, offered this unique advice: “I save money by not paying for accommodations. I house sit around the world where I live in other people's homes at no cost in exchange for caring for their pets while they go on vacation.” She adds: “Not only do I save money for my own home, but I ‘try out’ communities by house sitting. And, by living in a variety of apartments and condos, I learn what features are important to me that I'd like in my own home.”Hayes-Raitt’s advice, although unconventional, could be a great way to avoid paying certain living expenses and to “try out” communities and find out what you want in a home and neighborhood. Some people may not be able to house sit as often as she did, but if you have the time and the resources, this is certainly something to consider that could help you save money for your future house. Take Advantage of Partnering Options Keith Jenkins, an experienced real estate agent and investor, lent us some of his honest advice on how to save for a house without having to use your own money: “Really the best idea for saving for a house is not to! It is totally possible to purchase a house with none of your own money. Many people use ‘no money’ as an excuse as to why they cannot own a home. But if everyone waited until they had enough money... they probably would never ‘own’ a home. The best way to purchase property is with other people's money (OPM). Partnering on deals will help a new homeowner gain experience, and take most of the risk out of the deals.”Jenkins also gives us insight into his own experiences: “Personally I've even partnered on a deal and purchased a house with none of my own money and none of my own credit. To the truly serious, money is not an issue when it comes to becoming a real estate investor, or a first-time homeowner.”Jenkins's advice is especially something to consider when you don’t have a lot of your own money to put up but you are looking to purchase a home sooner rather than later. He reminds us there are other options even when you feel like there are none. Utilize Money-Saving Apps Chasen Nick, a Digital Marketing Strategist for RAMS Home Loans, one of Australia's largest lenders for first time home buyers, had a specific strategy when asked for his advice about saving money for a home: "My favorite way to save and manage my money is by utilizing an app called Qapital. The app gives you the ability to set up an automated savings account where you decide what triggers a deposit. It’s kind of like a game in which you make up a rule that allows you to round up your extra change each time you buy something with the card that’s connected to your Qapital account. So let’s say you create a rule that rounds your purchases up to the next $5 and you spend $7 on a purchase, then $3 will be placed into your savings account. Over the span of three months, I’ve managed to save almost $1,000 without even realizing the money was gone." Nick adds, “When you stay informed of how much money is in your account at all times, it allows you to budget differently.” Nick’s advice is a unique approach to saving money that is most likely different from what you are currently doing. It doesn’t require much money out of pocket, but it adds up with every purchase you make. Start Your Own Business Deborah Hanamura, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications for Paladino and Company, provides a more traditional route for money saving. Hanamura recently bought a house in the intense and competitive Seattle real estate market. She and her husband started from scratch when they began to save for the house and she says, “The way we saved wasn’t necessarily innovative or surprising. But essentially my husband started a side business that he could do on the weekends and evenings, and we saved every penny from it to produce a down payment in the span of about 18 months. Now that we’ve bought the house, he is continuing to do some work, but not nearly at the pace that he was when we were in saving mode.” Be Transparent about Your Goals Hanamura also explains, “I was also very transparent with people about my goals. I did not travel for weddings, holidays, etc. because it certainly didn’t make sense for him to work that hard only to spend it on airline tickets. And while we did things, like I would challenge myself not to buy any clothes for six months, and I brought my lunch to work every day, we did still remember to enjoy ourselves and take the occasional weekend getaway.” Consider Working with a Financial Planner Hanamura continues, “We also worked with a financial planner, and we established some smart guidelines about how to divide our contributions to our retirement plans so that our future financial security wouldn’t be compromised by our downpayment goals. In the end we were able to handle the down payment, closing costs, appraisal gap, and moving expenses without touching our safety net of savings.” Keep Your Eyes on the Prize Hanamura ended by saying buying a house became a reality in less than two years because she and her husband kept their eyes on the prize without becoming distracted by unnecessary expenses. Regardless of what money saving methods you are using now or decide to use, Hanamura’s experience shows us that whatever you do to save money, commitment is key. Pay off Credit Card and Other Debt First John Reinmuth, a Certified Financial Planner, suggested the first step to saving money for a house should be to “pay off any credit card or consumer debt first.” Reinmuth identifies two benefits to having a zero balance: "It improves the buyer's credit score. It reduces the percent of the buyer's income already allocated to debt servicing. Both the credit score and the total of current debt factor into the lender's willingness to underwrite a loan. The improved credit score and eliminated debt increase the likelihood of qualifying for a mortgage with less than a 20% down payment. This, in turn, reduces the money needed for the down payment. Thus, they have the same effect as increases the saving for a house down payment. While paying off these debts, the potential home buyer should avoid making credit card purchases until any continuing balances have been paid off." If you’re uncertain about how to pay off your credit card debt effectively, consider an automated debt management app such as Tally. According to personal finance expert Bethy Hardeman, “Tally helps people overcome their credit card debt by determining the smartest and fastest way to pay it down, then actually takes action for them based on this information. Tally is able to save people money in two ways - by giving them a lower interest rate and by helping them manage their payments, guaranteeing they will never pay a late fee again.” Ask Loved Ones to Match Your Savings Reinmuth has another, more creative tip for putting aside a down payment: "Ask parents to match your increased savings: Dollar for dollar, 50 cents per dollar, or some other ratio. A gift facilitates a mortgage down payment much better than a personal loan. The lender will ask for a written statement regarding whether parental participation is a gift or loan, and will add any loan amount to other debt servicing. My wife and I matched savings for my son and daughter-in-law to purchase their first house in 2000. This encouraged them to look for as many ways as possible to save, as each $1 they saved in effect became $2. At the time of our gift, we had already determined that our savings and pensions were sufficient for retirement." Reinmuth understands that “with escalating house values, saving for a down payment can feel like reaching for a target that keeps moving farther away.” And he is right. But if you find a way to save money that works for you and gets you into your dream home, that target can be something you hit with a bullseye. It just takes patience. Start a Side Hustle Jennifer Beeston, the Vice President of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate Mortgage, is also a financial vlogger, and she educates people on money and mortgage matters. Beeston advises this when saving for a house: "A great way for buyers to save for a home is by doing ‘side hustles.’ They stash all their ‘side hustle’ income for their down payment. A few potential side hustles are working for Uber part time, or signing up with Fiverr.com and charging for one of your skills. Local side hustle examples would be dog walking, part-time personal assistant for a busy family, meal delivery, etc. The amount of ways I have seen people make money with a few extra hours every week is astounding. If you have the will and any skill, you can make extra money." Beeston’s advice is similar to Hanamura’s in that you have to step outside of your comfort zone and take on extra jobs that may be stressful in the moment, but ultimately will make it easier for you to save money and buy the house you want. Whichever strategy you decide to go with as your money-saving method, our advice is to plan, stay committed, and don’t give up. You’ll hit that bullseye eventually, and we hope these tips get you a little closer to your target. Once you’re settled in your dream house, come back and check out the best home warranty companies so you can get the necessary protection for your home's systems and appliances.