Mansion vs Estate: Features of Luxury Properties

Mansion vs Estate

If there’s one thing that’s clear about a mansion or an estate, it’s that they’re not your average houses. But what differentiates the two? Are the two terms interchangeable? Mansions and estates actually each have separate characteristics that give them their special classification. Understanding a bit more about what makes them special can help inform your discussions with your real estate agent when looking for a luxury property of this class.

What defines a house as a mansion?

Mansions typically have a larger footprint than regular houses. Added square footage is a hallmark of mansions where the land allows, but a lesser-square-footage property may also qualify as a mansion in areas where space is limited based on its luxuriousness. Which properties qualify as mansions varies by location.

Mansions deal in excess by nature. Accordingly, these properties will have a greater number of bedrooms and bathrooms than what you’d see in a typical single-family home.

They’ll have rooms designed and built for a specific activity or function. For example, it’s common for mansions to have a game room, an indoor sauna or pool room, a home theater, or even a small bowling alley. These properties are the ideal living situation for homeowners who love to entertain. Elsewhere on the property, a mansion may boast any combination of sport courts, pools, gardens, and multiple-car garages.

In terms of their architectural style, many mansions borrow from older design styles to incorporate a sense of grandeur and prestige. The Victorian architectural style lends itself well to mansions while capturing that classic old-world charm. You may recognize Spanish Revival style homes sold by celebrities on the West Coast, and Colonial style mansions on the East Coast. Modern home designs will often incorporate cutting-edge smart home technology, smart home upgrades, and sustainable home design features such as solar power.


A mansion with an outdoor pool. Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: TerryJ


What is the difference between a mansion and an estate?

Estate properties share many of the aforementioned qualities with mansions. They are both luxury properties that feature several bedrooms and bathrooms with impressive amenities such as pools, saunas, sport courts, etc.

But estates differ from mansions in regard to the land they occupy and the historical context of the property. Estates sit on large, several-acre parcels of land. These extensive grounds are primarily where the mansion-vs-estate distinction can be made.

In England, the usage of “estate” usually means there was some form of income-producing activity present on property supporting the house. American estates typically do not have this same relationship between the property and the house. In the U.S. today, estates are differentiated by their size, grounds, and luxury amenities, but typically don’t yield enough agricultural goods to support the property.


An aerial photo of The Biltmont Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. It is a chateau-style mansion built in the late 1800s. It is massive, with dozens of rooms visible from its front façade. The front lawn extends hundreds of feet out from the house, lined by trees on either side.

The Biltmont Estate in Asheville, North Carolina – Image Source: Shutterstock – Image Credit: ZakZeinert


To learn more about the mansions and estates available in your area, contact a local Windermere agent:


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Homeownership Terms to Know: Pre-Approval, Pre-Qualification & More

Throughout the home buying process, you’ll encounter several checkpoints. At every stop, you’ll get closer to the ultimate goal of purchasing your next home. Each one satisfies unique criteria required to become a homeowner, and each one has its own terminology. Before you begin your home buying journey, it’s helpful to know about pre-approval, pre-qualification, and proof of funds, and the role they play in a real estate transaction.

Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval

What is pre-qualification?

Pre-qualification and pre-approval go hand in hand, but one precedes the other. Pre-qualification is a very early step in the home buying process leading to pre-approval. After sharing your financial information with your bank or lender, they’ll give you an estimate of the loan amount you can expect to qualify for. During this time, you’ll learn about the different home loans available to you to help you decide which is best. Pre-qualification usually only takes a few business days.

What is pre-approval?

A sibling to pre-qualification, pre-approval takes things a step further. Once you submit a mortgage application, you’ll provide your lender with the required information to perform a financial background check to assess your creditworthiness. You’ll get a pre-approval letter showing the lender’s offer of a specific loan amount, so you’ll know how much you can borrow. You’ll also get a better understanding of what interest rate you can expect to pay on your loan. Mortgage pre-approvals are typically valid for 60 to 90 days.

More information on the benefits of pre-approval and when to get pre-approved:

Once you’ve gone through the pre-approval process, it’s helpful to know which homes you can afford. Use our free Home Monthly Payment Calculator by clicking the button below. With current rates based on national averages and customizable mortgage terms, you can experiment with different values to get an estimate of your monthly payment for any listing price.


A close up shot of a real estate agent presenting a pre-approval mortgage agreement to their client. There is a calculator, a key, and a small model of a house on the real estate agent’s desk.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: Thitiphat Khuankaew


What is a proof of funds letter?

Simply put, in real estate, a proof of funds letter is a document that proves to the seller that you have enough money available to purchase the home. Proof of funds letters may vary depending on the terms of the transaction. For example, if you’re making an all-cash offer, your letter will prove that you have enough liquid cash to complete the deal.

For more information on the home buying process, read our blog post on searching for a home:

How to Search for a Home: Buying Guide


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How to Search for a Home: Buying Guide

The right home is out there, you just have to find it. This may seem like an oversimplification of the home search process, especially for first-time home buyers who haven’t been through it before. But once you’ve figured out your budget and discussed your needs with your real estate agent, you’ll be off and running. Here is a quick guide to help you get started on your home buying journey.

How to Search for a Home

Which houses can I afford?

Before you go perusing pages and pages of listings online, you’ll want to know your budget. Remember that while a home’s listing price is the main character in the list of home buying expenses, it’s not the only cost you’ll encounter. Knowing the full spectrum of the costs associated with buying a home will help you paint a clear picture of what you can afford. Once you’re familiar with these costs, you can strategize ways to save money to buy a house and plan to make a down payment.

To get an idea of what’s affordable, use our free Home Monthly Payment Calculator by clicking the button below. With current rates based on national averages and customizable mortgage terms, you can experiment with different down payment amounts to get estimates of your monthly payment for any listing price.


Mortgage Pre-Approval

Another way you can supercharge your home search efforts is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval has several benefits for prospective home buyers. It helps you understand the different types of home loans available to you and what interest rate you can expect when the time comes to lock in your mortgage. It also streamlines the home buying process once you’ve found the property you’d like to pursue.


A young heterosexual Caucasian couple view real estate listings on their laptop at the dining room table. The home is decorated with modern furniture and house plants.

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How do I find the right home?

Understanding your needs as a homeowner will help you narrow your selection pool. Before you start your home search, make a list of must-have and nice-to-have home features. This will inform your discussions with your real estate agent. Once they know what you consider a dealbreaker, they can pinpoint the right candidate homes.

So, where can you find available homes? Yes, driving around your neighborhood looking for “For Sale” signs is one way to go about it, but a vast majority of home shopping occurs online. Real estate websites like have advanced home search tools that allow you to filter by location, price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc., plus helpful features like virtual tours, professional photography, maps, and more. Use our online search tool to get started:


What are the different house styles?

Familiarizing yourself with the different architectural styles will help to inform your home search. Understanding the differences between a Craftsman home and a Cottage home can make a big difference when you’re house hunting. Each style has its own unique characteristics, perspective on space, and flair. Knowing what kind of architecture and home design you’re drawn to will also help your agent conduct more efficient home searches.

Working with a Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent will be your greatest resource during your home search. They have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the largest network of homes on the market. Your agent will use the MLS to create customized searches for available listings and can easily connect with sellers’ agents to coordinate next steps.

For answers to your home buying questions, connect with an experienced, local Windermere agent today:



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How to Reduce Your Interest Rate: Mortgage Buydowns

This blog post contains contributions from Penrith Home Loans.

When mortgage rates are up, prospective buyers can often feel like they’re at a disadvantage as they go about securing a home loan. Fortunately, there are ways to lower your interest rate to make your monthly mortgage payments more affordable.

What are mortgage buydowns?

A mortgage rate buydown is a form of financing that allows you to secure a lower interest rate on your mortgage by paying more money upfront in the form of discount points, also known as mortgage points, at closing. Each discount point is equal to one percent of your total loan amount. Especially attractive in times of high mortgage rates, buydowns are offered by sellers, builders, or lenders depending on the transaction. There are two main types of mortgage interest rate buydowns: permanent and temporary.

Permanent Mortgage Buydowns

With a permanent interest rate buydown, typically the borrower, seller, or builder will contribute to the cost of buying down the rate permanently. In this situation, the borrower qualifies at the bought-down rate for the life of the loan.

Temporary Mortgage Buydowns

A temporary interest rate buydown provides cash flow for the borrower during the temporary period, but they still qualify at the higher note rate. Typically, the seller or builder will contribute to the cost of buying the rate down temporarily.

Use our Home Monthly Payment Calculator to experiment with different down payments, principal amounts, interest rates, taxes, and more for any listing price.


How do temporary mortgage buydowns work?

Temporary mortgage interest rate buydowns have their own unique structure. Below are three common types:

  • 1-0 Buydown Mortgage: The borrower gets a 1% discounted interest rate for the first year.
  • 2-1 Buydown Mortgage: The borrower gets a discounted interest rate for the first two years of the loan. The first year, the interest rate is 2% lower, decreasing to 1% lower the second year.
  • 3-2-1 Buydown Mortgage: The borrower gets a 3% discounted rate the first year, dropping to 2% in the second year and 1% in the third year.

Although they share certain characteristics with adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), temporary mortgage buydowns are slightly different. ARMs initially have a fixed interest rate period. Once the adjustable-rate period kicks in, both the interest rate and monthly payments are subject to change. With buydowns, the buyer’s interest rate doesn’t change; either the seller or lender covers part of the interest payments as outlined by the buydown’s structure.


A man and woman homeowner couple discuss the terms of a mortgage buydown program with their mortgage broker in a modern office setting.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: kate_sept2004


Should I permanently buy down my mortgage?

Though buying down your mortgage interest rate permanently can make the payments more affordable, if you are contributing to this cost, make sure you can withstand the heavier financial load before proceeding. It also depends on how long you plan to live in the home. For example, if you plan to move shortly after buying, the short-term savings on your mortgage may not yet break even on your upfront costs by the time you’re ready to purchase again.

Pros of Mortgage Buydowns

  • Savings on monthly mortgage payments
  • A lower rate means you could qualify for a higher loan
  • Discount points = prepaid mortgage interest, which is often tax-deductible

Cons of Mortgage Buydowns

  • Higher upfront costs of buying a home
  • If payments increase, higher risk of foreclosure
  • Less cash available for remodeling, home improvements, etc.


A home office desk is filled with materials for a full day’s work; a full coffee cup, a smartphone, paperwork, and a laptop with a mortgage loan application form on the screen.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: cnythzl


How much can I save with a mortgage buydown?

Here’s an example of the savings you could see with a 3-2-1 temporary mortgage buydown. Let’s say you qualify for a 30-year mortgage with a $400,000 loan amount at an interest rate of 7%. With a 3-2-1 buydown, you’d pay a 4% interest rate the first year, 5% the second year, and 6% the third year. From year four on, you’d pay 7%.


Purchase Price Down Payment Loan Amount Interest Rate APR Loan Term
$500,000 $100,000 $400,000 7% 7.125% 30 years

3-2-1 Temporary Mortgage Interest Rate Buydown


Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Years 4-30
Interest Rate 4% 5% 6% 7%
Number of Payments 12 12 12 336
Monthly P&I Payment $1,909.66 $2,147.29 $2,398.20 $2,661.21
Total PITI Payment $1,909.66 $2,147.29 $2,398.20 $2,661.21
Monthly Reduction $751.55 $513.92 $263.01

  • Calculations provided by Penrith Home Loans
  • Temporary buydown cost as % of purchase price 3.67%


With this structure, you’d save $9,018.60 the first year, $6,167.04 the second, and $3,156.12 the third, for a total three-year savings of $18,341.76.

Thinking about buying a home? Connect with a local, experienced Windermere agent to begin your home buying journey:



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8 Costs of Renting a Home

If you’re not quite ready to buy a house, it may be better to rent for the time being. Though renting can be the more affordable option, being a tenant in someone else’s home still comes with its own unique set of costs. Here are eight common costs you should be aware of before signing a lease.

8 Costs of Renting

1. Renting Application Fee

One of the first costs you’ll run into is the application fee. Landlords want to make sure you’re a good candidate for signing onto their lease, so they’ll go through a process to verify the information listed on your application including your employment, financial history, credit score, past tenancy, etc. The application fee covers the clerical work required to verify this info.

2. Security Deposit

Similar to making a down payment on a house, a security deposit is a large upfront expense that solidifies your application. Security deposits vary based on the terms of the agreement. They can be a flat fee but are more often equal to one month’s rent, and sometimes more. Fortunately, they are usually refundable when you move out, as long as you have taken good care of the property and have adhered to the terms of your lease. You must account for the security deposit when renting, since you’re essentially paying double a normal month’s rent to move in.

3. Pet Deposit and Pet Fee

Finding a place that allows pets will be your first challenge as a renter. Some landlords forbid pets altogether, while others typically require that you pay a pet deposit and/or an additional monthly pet fee on top of your rent. These fees vary based on the number, type, and size of your pet(s). Keep in mind that renting with pets will most likely cost you extra.

4. Rent

The renting equivalent of a monthly mortgage payment, your rent will be the largest slice in your pie chart of monthly renting expenses. The general rule of thumb is that your rent should not exceed 30% of your monthly income. If it’s higher, you’ll have less money to cover other important living expenses. And if your rent increases—which is beyond your control—things can get unaffordable in a hurry.


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5. Parking

Your parking arrangement will vary depending on your living situation. If you live in a condo or apartment building, you may be able to pay an additional fee in exchange for your own parking spot on-site. For those who live in densely populated areas or places where the endeavor of trying to find available parking is a daily nightmare, the value of having your own parking space often outweighs the extra cost.

6. Homeowners Association (HOA) Dues

Landlords will typically include Homeowners Association (HOA) fees in your rent if applicable. HOA fees go toward maintaining the community’s properties and help pay for shared amenities. If you plan to live in an HOA community as a renter, the dues you’re paying will help to ensure the property stays well maintained.

7. Utilities

Utilities are another significant chunk of your recurring expenses as a renter. Your utilities costs will vary depending on how much energy you use at home. For example, your heating costs will likely be higher during the winter. If your bills are too high, audit your energy consumption to find more affordable ways of using it. 7 Tips for Sustainable Living at Home

8. Renters Insurance

Not only is obtaining renters insurance vital to protecting yourself as a renter, but it’s also usually required by landlords and property management companies. Renters insurance protects you against unexpected events that may occur at home. Fortunately for you, renters insurance policies are very affordable, usually around $15 to $20 a month.

Learn more about the pros and cons of renting vs. buying a house:

Renting vs. Buying: Which is Better for You?


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What is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?

In the process of buying or selling a home, you’ll frequently come across the term “MLS.” The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a group of regional databases of homes for sale accessible only to real estate agents and brokers. Their ability to access the MLS makes it easier for buyers to find the right home and for sellers to market their listings.

What is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?

The purpose of an MLS is to facilitate real estate transactions by connecting real estate agents and making it easy for them to share information about active listings and sold home data. For buyers and sellers, your agent’s access to the MLS means you’ll be connected to the largest network of homes and listing information on the market. 

Each MLS shows the homes for sale in a particular geographic area. Listing agents add their clients’ listings to the database—providing photos and detailed information about the property—so buyer’s agents can show them to their clients. The MLS allows for customizable searches, which agents use to easily identify the homes that match their clients’ criteria. The vast amount of historical data available on the MLS is what your agent will use to conduct their Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to competitively price your home. The listing data in the MLS is fed to real estate brokerage websites, such as, so that buyers can search for homes on their own as well.


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Benefits of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

Selling a home is a numbers game. The more potential buyers you can reach, the more likely you are to find the right buyer in a timely manner. After your agent conducts their CMA to determine the value of your home, they’ll upload the listing to the MLS. Here they can add additional information beyond what you would find in a typical listing description, such as showing times, contact information, and more. The MLS provides maximum visibility for sellers by connecting them to buyer’s agents who are actively searching for listings. The MLS has also helped to make the industry more equitable. Small real estate brokerages have access to the same MLS info as large companies, putting everyone on a level playing field.

What is an MLS number?

An MLS number is a unique code for each home listed on the market. It makes it easier for agents to communicate regarding a specific property. To learn more about the MLS, or for answers to your buying and selling questions, connect with a local, experienced Windermere agent today:



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Real Estate Terminology: Contingent, Pending, Under Contract, and More

Different real estate transactions have different conditions based on the status of the listing. The following information is meant to clarify some common real estate terms that describe a home for sale and its position in the closing process.

For sellers, understanding this terminology will inform your conversations with your agent when it comes time to sell. And for buyers, it helps to be familiar with these terms when searching for your next home and how they factor into making an offer.

What is the difference between pending and under contract?

Pending: When a home is listed as “pending” it means the seller has accepted the buyer’s offer and the sale will most likely be finalized after a successful final inspection and the buyer securing financing. For sellers, reaching the pending stage means the finish line is within reach, but your home is still not officially off the market.

Buyers who notice homes listed as pending should know that an agreement between the seller and another buyer has already been reached and that they are headed for closing. However, even though the chances are unlikely, it is still possible that the buyer backs out and the deal falls through.

Under Contract: A home that’s listed as “under contract” is not as far along in the selling process as a home that’s pending. It means the seller has accepted a buyer’s offer, but there are certain contingencies that must be met before the deal goes final.

Buyers who see a home listed as “under contract” may still reach out to the seller’s listing agent to make a backup offer, unless the contract that’s already in place contains a clause preventing it.


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What does contingent mean in real estate?

Contingencies dictate what must happen in a real estate transaction for the contract to become legally binding, giving the buyer or seller the right to back out of the contract if their conditions aren’t met. A property listed as “contingent” means that the seller has accepted an offer, but the deal still hinges on the buyer satisfying certain contingencies to continue. And once those contingencies have been met, the sale can go through as planned.

There are a variety of contingencies that protect buyers and sellers against the bumps in the road along their journey of buying or selling a home. A home sale contingency, for example, allows a buyer to tie their offer on a new home to the successful sale of their existing one. This contingency is beneficial to those who are buying and selling a home at the same time. It’s important for buyers to work with their agent to determine the strongest offer considering the market conditions in the area.

What is closing in real estate?

Closing refers to the homestretch of a real estate agreement between a buyer and seller, leading to the transfer of ownership. Both parties agree on a closing date and see the deal through to its completion. During closing, the buyer will deposit their earnest money in an escrow account, a home inspection is performed, the buyer secures financing to purchase the home, and both parties pay their respective closing costs. For more information on what to do while your home is on the market, visit our Home Selling Guide:



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Homeownership Terms to Know: Rent-Back Agreement, Joint Tenancy & More

From the outside, buying a home may seem like a zero-sum game: the seller relinquishes ownership of a property to the buyer in exchange for money and the buyer becomes the property’s new outright owner. However, there’s more nuance to homeownership than meets the eye. The following homeownership agreements provide alternatives to a traditional home purchase. These options may be right for you when searching for your next home.

Homeownership Terms to Know

Rent-Back Agreement

A rent-back agreement (also known as a sale lease-back) is tailor-made for homeowners who are buying a home while selling their current one. Buying a home and selling a home are both significant undertakings in their own right, but when combined, everything is heightened. For all your planning, successfully executing both transactions is predicated on a variety of factors, including the local market conditions in both places.

A rent-back agreement is a clause in the sales contract that allows the seller to rent their old home from the buyer for an agreed-upon period of time before the buyer moves in. The agreement will include the length of the rental period and the seller’s rental costs, while spelling out the responsibilities of each party during the transition.

These agreements are mutually beneficial to buyers and sellers. Not only do sellers buy themselves time to find their new home, they collect proceeds from the sale of their current one, which can be used to help fund their new home purchase when the time comes. The money collected from sellers’ rent payments is an obvious bonus for buyers. And in a competitive market, making an offer that gives the seller flexibility in their moving timeline may help it stand out amongst the competition.


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Joint Tenancy

When two or more people purchase a property together, Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship (JTWROS) requires that all co-buyers hold an equal interest in the property and that they all come into ownership through the same title at the same time. If one co-owner dies, ownership passes to the other co-owner—this is known as Right of Survivorship.

This form of co-buying a home presents an opportunity to prospective home buyers who may not yet have the means to purchase a home on their own by combining their buying power with that of their co-buyer. However, entering a real estate transaction with a co-buyer means that you’re financially tied together, which opens the door for added risk.

Tenancy In Common

When co-buyers hold a title as tenants in common, shares of the property can be divided equally or unequally. But even with a disparity in ownership percentage, no one owner may claim sole ownership of the property. When a tenant in common passes away, their ownership is bequeathed to their designated heir.

Tenancy In Severalty

Unlike Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common, Tenancy in Severalty represents an agreement in which one individual, corporation, or entity owns the property and does not share ownership with anyone. 

To learn more about the homeownership options available to you, and for help searching for your next home, connect with a local, experienced Windermere agent:



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The Importance of Working with an Experienced Equestrian Real Estate Agent

Equestrian properties are not your typical residential homes. The land serves a purpose beyond addressing the homeowner’s needs, and everything on the premises revolves around making sure the horses are at their best. And horses are not your average domestic pets. Tending to them is a full-time job that consists of constant hard work. When it comes to buying and selling these properties, it’s important to work with an agent who understands these facets of equestrian life and everything they entail.

The Importance of Working with an Experienced Equestrian Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents who either grew up around horses or have many years’ worth of experience working with equestrian buyers and sellers are uniquely qualified to understand your needs as a buyer or seller of an equestrian property.

A particular region’s climate, for example, will present unique challenges for equestrian buyers looking to build out their property to accommodate their specific riding discipline. Only an experienced equestrian agent can provide the proper guidance on property additions and maintenance, as well as how those recommendations align with local zoning regulations. For those looking to sell their equestrian property, it’s imperative that they work with a listing agent who understands the property and how to market it to the right buyers.

Equestrian advisors also understand the emotions that come with equestrian property ownership. Taking care of horses is a significant undertaking, financially and emotionally. Buyers and sellers may set logic to the side and make decisions based on emotions, rightfully so, given how heavily invested they are in the wellbeing of their animals. Equestrian advisors know how to interpret the emotions behind these decisions and guide their clients toward logical solutions throughout the buying/selling process.


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Helpful Questions to Ask an Equestrian Real Estate Agent

Finding the right agent to sell your equestrian property or finding the right buyer’s agent takes time, but you can set yourself up for success by knowing which questions to ask. The following list of questions will help you identify a candidate with equestrian experience.

  • Did you ride / were you around horses growing up?
  • Do you have experience working on an equestrian property?
  • Do you currently own horses?
  • What are your real estate certifications and designations?
  • Could you share testimonials from past clients?

For assistance planning an equestrian property sale or purchase, or for answers to your questions, connect with an experienced Equestrian Advisor:

Windermere Equestrian Advisors


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How to Save Money to Buy a House

It’s no secret that buying a home is a serious financial undertaking, but aspiring homeowners are often left wondering what the methods behind the process actually look like. One of the telltale signs that you’re ready to buy a home is having substantial savings to use toward the purchase. The following information goes under the hood of the buying process to explain how much you need to save and some useful methods of saving money.

Making a Down Payment on a Home

The down payment is a large payment made by the buyer upfront to help fund the purchase of a home. Although a down payment of 20 percent of the home’s purchase price will avoid the need to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI), down payments of this size are not the norm. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, in 2021, the typical down payment was seven percent for first-time home buyers and 17 percent for repeat buyers (NAR)1.

So, how long does it take to save up for the down payment? The answer is unique to each buyer. It depends on your needs as a homeowner, whether you have a deadline, and what you’re able to afford. Your mortgage will factor into the equation, too. Different mortgage types have different down payment requirements, with certain loan products requiring as little as 3% down to qualify. Remember that in general, a higher down payment equates to a lower interest rate and lower monthly payments for your mortgage.

To get an idea of what’s affordable, use our free Home Monthly Payment Calculator by clicking the button below. With current rates based on national averages and customizable mortgage terms, you can experiment with different down payment amounts to get estimates of your monthly payment for any listing price.



Adult man calculating finances in his home office as he prepares to buy a house

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How to Save Money to Buy a House

No matter where your savings stand, these strategies can help to beef up your savings account as you prepare to buy a home.

  • Reduce Debt: Carrying extra debt can weigh you down throughout the home buying process. And even if you make progress on your savings, you’ll be stuck in limbo if you’re not able to qualify for a mortgage. Consider refinancing existing loans and explore ways to reduce credit card debt to set yourself up for success. This will also put you in a better position when you enter the pre-approval process for your mortgage.
  • Rethink Your Budget: Are your streaming subscriptions piling up? Is now the best time for that five-star vacation you had planned? Saving up to buy a home doesn’t mean you need to abandon all your leisurely expenses, but it is worth it to look at them from a new perspective to find ways you can save. It’s also a good time to examine your bills and self-audit your current living expenses.
  • Increase Your Savings: Once you go through your expenditures with a fine-toothed comb, you may find there’s ample opportunity to increase your savings. Regularly contributing to a high-yield savings account will put you on the fast track to pile up your extra funds and ensure that you’re setting them aside.
  • Additional Streams of Income: If you’ve ever thought of using your unique skills to generate some extra dollars, now is the time to act. Whether it’s teaching music lessons, offering tutoring classes, selling your handmade goodies at the local farmer’s market, etc., the extra revenue from a side hustle can help you purchase a home.

Budget for Additional Home Purchase Costs

Once you’ve got your head wrapped around the down payment and formed your saving strategy, you can shift your financial preparations toward the remaining costs of buying a home. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Closing Costs: Closing costs for buyers typically range anywhere between 2% and 6% of the home loan amount but vary by transaction.
  • Homeowners Insurance: Lenders will usually require that your purchase a homeowners insurance policy, which covers your home, your belongings, injury or property damage to others, and living expenses if you are unable to live in your home temporarily because of an insured disaster.
  • Repairs and Remodeling: The home you end up buying may very well be in need of repair, and you may have certain remodeling projects in mind. These costs can stack up quickly, so be sure to carve out ample room in your home buying budget accordingly.
  • Homeowners Association (HOA) Fees: If the home you’re purchasing is governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA), you will be required to pay monthly HOA fees on top of your existing mortgage monthly payment.

For more information on preparing to buy a house, visit our Guide to Buying a Home:



­­­­­­1: National Association of REALTORS® (2021) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

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