Holly McNeely

NMLS# 1235847

Loan Officer

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3 sources of down payment funds that aren't your savings
By Academy Mortgage Corp.

Thousands of Americans make the move to homeownership every month. But buying a home isn't always simple. In fact, it can often become confusing and stressful.

What is making the buying journey difficult for consumers?

For many, saving up for the down payment is the most challenging hurdle to overcome, as cited by 13 percent of people who participated in a survey by the National Association of Realtors.

And, though it's become more widely known that the "standard" 20 percent down payment isn't always necessary, many still struggle to save up.

But, did you know there are more ways to come up with the funds for a down payment than simply through savings?

Here are some perfectly sound yet commonly overlooked means to funding your home purchase:

1. Explore a zero-down mortgage program

For the average conventional mortgage, borrowers who put less than 20 percent down are charged an added fee called Private Mortgage Insurance. However, the conforming mortgage isn't the only financing path consumers can take.

Several programs that are backed by the government allow qualifying borrowers to take out a mortgage without making any down payment at all.

VA loans are for active-duty service members, veterans and spouses of those who fit these two distinctions. Eligibility rules are based on date and duration of service, and not everyone qualifies. However, it's worth checking out; no down payment is required, and neither is paying PMI.

USDA loans are granted to buyers looking in a qualifying area - often rural or suburban locations - and under a certain income limit. The actual limit varies state by state, county by county. Like VA loans, there's no required down payment or PMI.

FHA loans aren't zero-down mortgages, but the down payment can be very low if your credit score is above a certain threshold. If your score is higher than 580, you're only required to put down 3.5%.

2. Save gift money for a home

If you've recently gotten married or had a baby, you perhaps received financial gifts from family and friends. Though commonly believed to be off-limits for home purchases, this cash is actually perfectly fine to help fund your down payment.

Though considered a wedding-planning faux pas for many years, stating your preference for a cash gift is becoming more widely accepted today, according to The Knot. You'll still want to set up a traditional registry for those guests who really would rather pick out a gift and you should steer away from naming specific amounts, but it's unlikely that many of your guests will truly be offended at your request.

3. Sell something

More than one-third of respondents to NAR's survey for its 2016 profile of home buyers and sellers said their down payment came from the sale of a primary residence. If you're already a homeowner, it's pretty common to use the proceeds from selling the home as a down payment on your next purchase.

But what about those first-time buyers who don't have a house to sell yet?

Take a look at your other assets, Money Talks News suggested.

Do you have an extra car? What about a motorcycle? Too many flat-screen TVs, or simply an attic full of stuff? Maybe one of these items isn't worth much, but a whole attic-full might be.

Is a lack of savings keeping you from realizing your dreams of homeownership? Don't let your goals become delayed because of a shortage of cash. There are plenty of options to obtain the funds for down payment.

To learn more about how to become a homeowner this year, reach out to Academy Mortgage.

Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2015 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.

NMLS# 1235847

State Lic: TX: 1235847;

Corp Lic: TX: 3113;

Figure: 7 TAC §81.200(c) CONSUMERS WISHING TO FILE A COMPLAINT AGAINST A MORTGAGE BANKER OR A LICENSED MORTGAGE BANKER RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATOR SHOULD COMPLETE AND SEND A COMPLAINT FORM TO THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE LENDING, 2601 NORTH LAMAR, SUITE 201, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78705. COMPLAINT FORMS AND INSTRUCTIONS MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DEPARTMENT'S WEBSITE AT WWW.SML.TEXAS.GOV. A TOLL-FREE CONSUMER HOTLINE IS AVAILABLE AT 1-877-276-5550. THE DEPARTMENT MAINTAINS A RECOVERY FUND TO MAKE PAYMENTS OF CERTAIN ACTUAL OUT OF POCKET DAMAGES SUSTAINED BY BORROWERS CAUSED BY ACTS OF LICENSED MORTGAGE BANKER RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATORS. A WRITTEN APPLICATION FOR REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE RECOVERY FUND MUST BE FILED WITH AND INVESTIGATED BY THE DEPARTMENT PRIOR TO THE PAYMENT OF A CLAIM. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE RECOVERY FUND, PLEASE CONSULT THE DEPARTMENT'S WEBSITE AT WWW.SML.TEXAS.GOV.;