Single Parents' Guide: How to Save for a House

Onward Staff
June 30, 2023
Start managing shared expenses with your co-parent easily!

How to Save for a House: A Guide for Single Parents

Being a single parent comes with its own set of challenges, and one of them is saving for a house. But don't worry, we've got you covered! In this beginner's guide, we will walk you through the process of saving for a house step by step. We'll start by addressing the question on every single parent's mind - how much should you save before buying a house? We'll break down all the fees and taxes you need to consider, help you set a realistic savings goal, and show you how to utilize tax benefits and research mortgage programs. Saving money may seem daunting, but we will provide practical tips such as cutting back on expenses and considering additional income sources. We will also answer frequently asked questions about home ownership and offer guidance on tracking your savings progress. Get ready to achieve your dream of owning a home for yourself and your little one!

How Much Should I Save Before Buying A House?

The amount you should save before buying a house varies based on factors such as income, expenses, and desired down payment. It's generally advised to have at least 20% of the purchase price for a down payment, and also save for closing costs (2-5% of the home's price). Additionally, consider other expenses like moving costs and furnishing when determining how much to save.

Consider All Fees and Taxes

When considering the many factors involved in how to save for a house, it's important not to overlook the fees and taxes associated with the purchase. In addition to your down payment, you will need to budget for closing costs, property taxes, homeowner's insurance, and any additional fees that may be charged by lenders or real estate agents. These expenses can add up quickly, so it's crucial to have a solid understanding of what to expect. By estimating and factoring in these costs ahead of time, you can set a realistic savings goal and ensure that you have enough money saved to cover all aspects of homeownership. So, as you embark on your journey to save for a house, remember to consider all fees and taxes to make smart financial decisions.

Set a Realistic Savings Goal

When saving for a house, it's important to set a realistic savings goal. Instead of asking yourself "how to save for a house," focus on determining the specific amount you need for a down payment. This amount is typically around 20% of the home's purchase price. Additionally, you should consider other costs like closing costs, moving expenses, and home repairs. It's essential to research mortgage options to understand the minimum down payment required by lenders. Once you have a clear understanding of your savings goal, calculate how much you can comfortably save each month. Create a realistic timeline based on your income and expenses. Monitor your progress regularly and make necessary adjustments along the way.

Utilize Tax Benefits

When it comes to saving for a house, it's essential to explore every available option to expedite the process. One effective strategy is to utilize tax benefits by taking advantage of various deductions and credits. For example, you can benefit from the mortgage interest deduction, which allows you to deduct the interest paid on your mortgage from your taxable income. By reducing your tax liability, you'll have more funds available to allocate towards your savings goals, especially your down payment. Additionally, as a first-time homebuyer, you may qualify for a tax credit that can be applied directly to your down payment or closing costs. This credit further eases your financial burden, enabling you to save more efficiently. To make the most of these tax benefits, consult with a financial advisor or tax professional who can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Research Mortgage Programs

When it comes to buying a house or a home loan, thorough research into available mortgage programs is crucial. As a single parent, you have more conventional loan options to explore. Start by looking into government-backed loan programs such as FHA loans, which typically have lower down payment requirements. Aim to save at least 20% for a down payment to avoid additional costs like private mortgage insurance (PMI). It's also essential to account for closing costs, inspections, and appraisals when determining your savings target. Creating a budget will help you determine how much you can realistically save each month. By thoroughly researching and understanding different mortgage programs, you can make an informed decision based on your financial situation, bringing you closer to homeownership. Rocket Mortgage and similar companies can provide valuable assistance when it comes to obtaining a mortgage.

Start Saving Now

To start your journey towards homeownership, begin by determining your budget and setting a savings goal. Calculate your monthly expenses, income, and desired down payment to determine how much you can realistically save each month. Prioritize saving for your down payment by cutting back on non-essential expenses and exploring additional income sources, such as a side hustle or part-time job. Consider opening a dedicated savings account for your house fund, separate from your regular bank account. This will help you track your progress and resist the temptation to dip into your savings for other purposes. Don't forget to research government programs and grants that may provide assistance to single parents in purchasing a home. By following these steps, you'll be on your way to achieving your dream of homeownership.

Track your progress and keep going

Tracking your progress and maintaining motivation while saving for a house is crucial to achieving your goal. To make it easier, here are some essential tips that can help you stay on track in your journey to homeownership. First, ensure you have calculated the total amount required for a down payment, closing costs, and other expenses associated with buying a home. Set a realistic timeline and monthly savings goal based on these figures and determine how much you can comfortably save within your budget. Identifying areas where you can cut back on expenses will enable you to allocate more funds towards your down payment savings. Automating your savings by setting up automatic transfers to a dedicated house fund can help you stay disciplined and ensure consistent progress. Additionally, take advantage of government assistance programs and grants available for single parents like you, as they can provide financial aid or support with down payments. Keep an eye on your credit score to maintain a good standing and qualify for favorable interest rates when it's time to secure a mortgage loan. Always monitor your progress regularly and make adjustments as needed to stay on course. Your hard work and determination will pay off, bringing you closer to the goal of homeownership.

How to Save for a House: Strategies

Saving for a house requires careful planning and budgeting. Start by setting a goal and creating a budget that outlines how much you need to save for a down payment, closing costs, and other expenses related to buying a house. Cut back on expenses like eating out, cancel unnecessary subscriptions, or find cheaper alternatives for everyday items. Increase your income through side hustles or freelancing. Automate your savings by setting up automatic transfers into a separate account for your house fund. Explore government programs, grants, or loans for single parents looking to buy a house. Prioritize saving for your house while still saving for retirement and emergencies.

Utilize Tax Advantages

Maximizing tax advantages is crucial when saving for a house. Options such as the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit can boost your savings. Additionally, contributing to a 401(k) or IRA retirement account offers tax deductions. By leveraging these benefits, single parents can make significant strides towards their homeownership dreams, all while taking advantage of the tax incentives available.

Look Into Grants and Assistance Programs

Explore grants and assistance programs that are available for single parents interested in purchasing a house. These programs can provide financial aid, down payment assistance, help with closing costs, and more. Take the time to research and identify the grants and assistance programs that can support your homeownership journey. Make sure to review the eligibility requirements and gather all the necessary documents to apply. By utilizing these programs, you can save money and achieve your goal of buying a house as a single parent. First-time home buyers can benefit from FHA loans. These loans, offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), make homeownership more accessible and affordable. They require lower down payments, have flexible credit requirements, and offer competitive interest rates. FHA loans also provide the option for down payment assistance programs, making them an attractive choice for first-time buyers entering the housing market.

Save Your Windfalls

Consider saving windfalls as a key strategy to accelerate your progress towards buying a house. Windfalls are unexpected or extra money, including tax refunds, bonuses, or inheritances. Rather than spending windfalls right away, allocate a portion towards your house fund. By saving windfalls, you can increase your savings and bring yourself closer to your goal of homeownership. With this approach, you're making progress faster and maximizing your chances of achieving your dream.

Cut back on expenses where possible

One of the most effective strategies for saving money for a house is to cut back on expenses wherever possible. Start by analyzing your current spending and identifying areas where you can make cuts. This may include reducing discretionary spending, eliminating unnecessary subscriptions or memberships, and finding ways to save on utilities. Creating and sticking to a budget will help you save more each month. Consider downsizing or finding more affordable housing options in the short term to save on rent or mortgage payments. Additionally, explore opportunities to increase your income, such as taking on a second job or freelance work, and allocate this extra money towards your house savings. Setting up automatic transfers from your paycheck into a dedicated savings account can ensure consistent saving. Finally, research government programs or grants for single parents looking to buy a home, as they can provide valuable financial assistance.

Consider additional income sources

Considering additional income sources can be a smart strategy for single parents looking to save for a house. Explore various options, such as taking on a part-time job, side gig, freelancing, or starting a side business, for some extra cash. By increasing your income, you can accelerate your progress towards your goal of homeownership. Single parents can also explore government assistance programs or grants that may be available to help with housing expenses. These programs can provide additional financial support and make it easier to save for a down payment, closing costs, and other expenses associated with buying a house.

Invest in low-risk investments

Investing in low-risk investments is a smart strategy when saving for a house. Allocating your money to a savings account or a certificate of deposit (CD) can offer a fixed interest rate, providing a safe and reliable way to grow your savings over time. Automating your savings through automatic transfers helps maintain a consistent contribution to your down payment fund, ensuring steady progress toward your goal. It's crucial to prioritize saving for a down payment of at least 20% to avoid the financial burden of private mortgage insurance (PMI). Remember to establish a budget and identify areas where you can trim expenses, enabling you to save more each month. By exploring various low-risk investment options and practicing disciplined saving habits, you can confidently pursue your dream of homeownership.

High-Yield Savings Accounts

High-yield savings accounts are a great option for saving for a house. These accounts offer a higher interest rate than traditional savings accounts, allowing your money to grow faster. Look for accounts with minimal fees and easy accessibility to make deposits and withdrawals as needed. By utilizing a high-yield savings account, you can maximize your savings potential and reach your homeownership goal sooner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about saving for a house as a single parent:

How much should I save for a down payment?

Saving for a down payment is crucial when buying a house. The ideal down payment is usually 20% of the home's purchase price to avoid additional costs like private mortgage insurance (PMI). However, the amount needed varies depending on factors like the home's price and loan program. FHA loans, for example, allow for lower down payments, such as 3.5%. Consult a mortgage lender to determine the best option for your situation.

Are there any government programs or grants available to assist single parents with homebuying?

Yes, there are government assistance programs and grants to support single parents in their homebuying journey. Look into options such as VA loans, USDA loans, and first-time homebuyer assistance programs.

What Are the Benefits of Home Ownership?

Home ownership offers stability and security, allowing you to create a sense of belonging for your family. It also allows you to build equity and potentially increase your net worth. Additionally, owning a home can provide tax benefits and the freedom to personalize and make changes to suit your preferences.

What Are the Risks of Home Ownership?

Owning a home comes with certain risks, such as the possibility of financial strain and unexpected expenses. Fluctuating home values can impact your investment, while the responsibility for maintenance and repairs can be costly. Failing to keep up with mortgage payments could also lead to foreclosure.

What Is the Average Time It Takes to Save for a House?

The average time to save for a house can vary based on factors like income and expenses. Typically, it takes several years to accumulate enough for a down payment and closing costs. Strategies like budgeting, reducing expenses, and increasing income can expedite the process. Seek guidance from a financial advisor for personalized savings planning.

What Is the Best Way to Track My Savings Progress?

The best way to track your savings progress is by using a budgeting app or software, setting specific goals, and regularly monitoring your progress. Keep a separate savings account for your house fund and make regular deposits. Review your progress regularly and adjust your budget as necessary.


Saving for a house as a single parent may seem daunting, but with careful planning and dedication, it is absolutely achievable. Remember to consider all the fees and taxes associated with buying a house, set a realistic savings goal, and utilize tax benefits to your advantage. Research mortgage programs that cater to single parents and start saving as early as possible. Track your progress and keep going, even if it feels slow at times. Saving for a house takes time and patience, but the reward of homeownership is worth it in the end. If you have any more questions or need further guidance, please comment below and we'll be happy to assist you.

Start managing shared expenses with your co-parent easily!

Onward Staff