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Aim to spend 28% or less of your income on housing

Step 1: Determine how much you want to spend on a house.

The first step in how to save for a house is deciding how much house you want to buy. Gone are the days when a 20% down payment was the norm. But a down payment isn’t the only cash you’ll need when the time comes to close on a house. And there are long-term costs to consider, as well.

Immediate costs

When it’s time to close, here are things you’ll need money for:

  • Down payment (including earnest money)
  • Closing costs
  • Moving expenses
  • Inspections

 

Long-term costs

These costs can exist throughout your mortgage, and may change over time:

  • Homeowner’s insurance (possibly in an escrow account)
  • Property taxes (possibly in an escrow account)
  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI)
  • Utilities, repairs and maintenance

Looking for more information on affordable housing and mortgages?

If you’re interested in down payment assistance or grant programs for homebuyers with limited incomes, check out our access to homeownership resources. Learn about mortgages you might not have heard about, connect to mortgage loan officers and find answers to even more of your homebuying questions.

Step 2: Decide what your down payment should be.

In 2021 the median down payment amount for first-time homebuyers was just 6%.1 Less than you thought, right? As you plan for your own down payment, it could be worthwhile to look into payment assistance programs, or if your lender offers existing customer credits.

Is a lower down payment okay for you?

Generally, the more you put down, the lower your interest rate and monthly payment. What down payment amount are you comfortable with?

Calculate your ideal down payment amount.

Our down payment calculator can help you decide how much you want to save as you prepare for the mortgage process.

What is down payment assistance?

There are many forms of down payment assistance designed to help eligible homebuyers cover down payment costs.

Get closer to your new home.

Are you ready to start taking steps toward a new home? If your answer is yes, get an estimate of what you may be able to borrow in just a few minutes or connect with a mortgage loan officer about your mortgage options

Step 3: Find a place to keep your down payment as you save.

When you’re saving money for a down payment, it’s a good idea to keep the money somewhere that’s easy to access – like a savings account. A certificate of deposit (CD) may provide a higher rate of return, but pay attention to the required term lengths and how they may impact your homebuying schedule. Here are some accounts to get you started.

We're having trouble displaying money market account rates. It shouldn't last long, so please try again shortly.

Money Market Account

Enjoy greater interest-earning power, benefits similar to checking accounts and easy access to funds.

 

Earn up to X.XX% APY when you deposit at least $25,000 into a new Elite Money Market Account or an existing account that was opened within the last 30 days.2

CD Special

Promotional rates start at 4.55% APY for a 7-month term. Other rates and terms are available.3, 4, 5, 6, 7


A CD Special lets you earn more on your money than traditional savings accounts. Rates vary by term and location. Check yours before opening an account.

Standard Savings Account

Get fast, easy access to your money with a U.S. Bank Standard Savings account.


It’s a hassle-free way to save money. Open an account online in minutes with a minimum opening deposit of $25.

Step 4: Look for other ways to save money and cut back on spending.

Depending on your timeline, cutting back on vacations and eating out aren’t always the best ways to save for a house. Instead, make a plan and be strategic.

Article

Where you keep your money matters.

There are a few types of accounts to choose from when it comes to saving money for a down payment on a house. Standard savings accounts and CDs (certificates of deposit) are just two such options.

Article

How to pay down credit card debt

Along with saving for a down payment, having a good relationship with credit is important in buying a home and qualifying for the best interest rates. Here are some tips on paying down your credit card debt.

Article

How much house is affordable?

A standard rule for lenders is that your monthly housing payment should not take up more than 28% of your income. However, home affordability is about more than just how much you can borrow.

Looking for more information on affordable homebuying?

Connect with coaches and mortgage loan officers, learn about mortgages you might not have heard about, and find answers to even more of your homebuying questions.

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Disclosures

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.

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  1. From the “Tackling Home Financing and Down Payment Misconceptions”, published January 7, 2022 by the National Associations of REALTORS® Research Group.

  2. How to obtain the rate: This rate is valid on new accounts for clients who do not have an existing consumer money market account or for clients with an existing consumer money market account that has been open for less than 30 days. Get the Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as noted above by depositing at least $25,000 within 30 days of account opening. A minimum opening deposit of $100 is required to open. 

    How to maintain the rate: By depositing at least $25,000 within 30 days of account opening and maintaining a minimum daily balance of at least $25,000 each day thereafter. If the account balance falls below $25,000 the standard interest rate plan will be applied. All rates and APYs are determined at the bank's discretion, are subject to change after the account is opened, and can change at any time. Fees will reduce your eligible balance, and deposits are needed to cover these fees to maintain the daily balance for this rate offer.

    The following standard interest rate plan balance tiers and APYs are accurate as of today's date: Under $10,000: .01%; $10,000 to $24,999.99: .01%; $25,000 to $49,999.99: .25%; $50,000 to $99,999.99: .25%; $100,000 to $499,999.99: .25%; $500,000 and above: .25%.

    Interest Information: You must maintain the minimum daily balance needed for each tier in order to earn the Annual Percentage Yield (APY) disclosed. Interest will be compounded daily and credited to your account monthly. We use the daily balance method to calculate interest on all deposit accounts. This method applies a daily periodic rate to the principal in the account each day. Interest on your check deposit begins to accrue on the business day we receive credit for this account. If you close your account before interest is credited you will not receive the accrued interest. Fees could reduce earnings on the account. Other restrictions may apply.

  3. FDIC insured to the maximum allowed by law.

  4. $1,000 minimum opening deposit up to a maximum of $250,000. 

  5. Online application is not valid for single maturity CDs, business or retirement CDs, brokerage deposits, institutional investors, public funds or in conjunction with other promotional offers.

  6. Offer good for the initial term only. CD is automatically renewed for the same term. The rate is determined based on the published rate for the CD, excluding CD Specials, that is closest to but not exceeding the term of the CD. Advertised rate and APY are offered at the bank's discretion and may change daily.

  7. Annual Percentage Yield (APY) assumes principal and interest remain on deposit for the term of the certificate. All interest payments for the APY will be made at the end of the term or annually, whichever occurs first. Penalty will be imposed for early withdrawal. Fees could reduce earning on the account.

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