How much house you can afford to buy depends on two things: how much you can afford for the monthly housing payment, and how much you can invest in the down payment. Monthly payments include principal and interest on the mortgage loan, and property taxes and insurance against fire and other hazards. These four costs are often abbreviated “P.I.T.I.”. For some buyers and lenders, monthly housing costs may also include homeowners association dues, condominium fees, and mortgage insurance.
Home Equity Loan. Parents often have considerable equity built up in their own homes—and many are tapping that asset through home equity loans to make a gift to their children. Ask your tax advisor for current information. Often lenders will require a “gift letter” to verify that parents don’t expect repayment.
Life Insurance. If you have built up a cash value on your life insurance policy over the years, you may be able to borrow from your insurance company up to the amount of this accumulated cash value. Often, they will even ask a more favorable interest rate than would be asked for other types of loans.
Stocks and Bonds. If you feel the market doesn’t favor selling your stocks or bonds now, you may be able to secure a bank loan using your portfolio as security.
Company Profit Sharing or Savings Plan. Look into the possibility of withdrawing what you have in your profit sharing or savings plan account or borrowing against it, if your company has these programs.
Mortgage insurance offers a variety of payment options. You may make an initial payment at closing and monthly payments with the house payment. You may make only an initial payment or only monthly payments. You may even increase your interest rate and have the lender pay the insurance. Be sure to ask your lender for a comparison of the benefits of each of these plans.