12 ways to come up with a down payment

It's hard not to get excited at the prospect of owning a home, especially when there's so much buzz about historically low borrowing rates, an influx of foreclosures on the market and a new program that might actually expedite the short sale process.

But with tighter lending standards these days, you may find the homeownership train is leaving the station without you if you don't have enough of your own money to throw into the pot.

With a federally backed FHA loan, you still need to come up with 3.5% of the sales price PLUS closing costs. On a purchase price of $300,000 in the District of Columbia, that's more than $16,000. (Calculate closing costs for yourself with a Quick Quote.)

Unless your favorite rich uncle remembered you in his will, or you've been saving for years in anticipation of a massive real estate market meltdown, you may be a few dollars short of making a down payment in today's market.

Here are 12 ways to come up with a down payment, according to Philly Real Estate Information:

  1. Set up an automatic saving plan.
  2. Get a gift from your parents, grandparents, other relatives or friends.
  3. Sell a car, boat, motorcycle, collectibles or other assets.
  4. Liquidate stocks, mutual funds, savings bonds or other investments.
  5. Allocate your income tax refund.
  6. Take a loan from your 401(k) retirement plan and repay yourself with interest.
  7. Withdraw funds from your 401(k) plan, subject to taxes and penalties.
  8. Collect on a loan that you made to someone else.
  9. Get a bonus from your employer.
  10. Explore homebuyer programs for teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public servants, if you qualify.
  11. Apply for a state or local government homebuyer down payment program.
  12. Use a private down payment assistance program.

Any other bright ideas? Leave your tips for saving toward a down payment as a comment below.

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