Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take you to save for a down payment in each state.
Using data from the United States Census Bureau and Zillow, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.
By determining the percentage of income spent renting a 2-bedroom apartment in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.
According to the data, residents in Iowa can save for a down payment the quickest in just under 2 years (1.99). Below is a map created using the data for each state:
What if you only needed to save 3%?
What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3% down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 5 or 10 years, but becomes attainable in a year or two in many states as shown in the map below.
Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment, or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you evaluate your ability to buy today.
Your kitchen is calling from 1988, but your bank account doesn’t want to answer. We get it: According to Remodeling Magazine, a minor kitchen makeover averages $20,122, while a major renovation can hit a you-gotta-be-kidding-me $60,000.
If you’re looking for something a whole lot more budget-friendly, a mini kitchen makeover for about $500 can go a surprisingly long way. Check out these eight cheap remodels to get your kitchen renovation cooking for a whole lot less.
1. Declutter the counter space
Kitchens tend to collect tons of stuff—like Mr. Coffee coffee makers, George Foreman grills, and weird canisters of wooden spoons—on countertops. An easy way to dramatically transform a kitchen is to simply put all that junk away. For around $490, you can install two separate shelving units to transform the dead space in that cabinet under the sink that no one ever uses.
“Glide-out shelving can get around obstructions like pipes or disposals and make the kitchen a more useful space,” says Nina Ward, interior designer and regional director for ShelfGenie. Plus, the shelves can hold up to 100 pounds of kitchen detritus—that’s a whole lot of paper towels.
2. Paint just about everything
A chorus of experts says the most affordable and transformative kitchen makeover is to paint, paint, paint—and not just the walls, points out Tracy Kay Griffin, lead designer at Express Homebuyers, a real estate investment company based in Springfield, VA.
Colors such as orange or red immediately “spice up” your kitchen, says Sean Juneja, co-founder and CEO of Decor Aid. A new Viking red stove can cost upward of $5,000. But a stove panel that’s easy to install can quickly and easily cover your existing dishwasher. It costs about $500 and comes in vibrant shades like cherry red and pink lemonade. It’s like a quick shot of decor adrenaline.
5. Amp up the lighting
One of the single most important elements that have a profound effect on any space is whatever devices are holding the humble lightbulbs.
“Changing out fixtures can not only update your space but also provide ambiance,” says Juneja. “A new pendant upscales the kitchen instantly and provides the biggest bang for the buck.” He likes this West Elm pendant style for a sleek yet warm look, or you could go for a bit of drama with this bundle of glowing orbs from CB2. Handy? Buy black cables from your local hardware store and hang generic lightbulbs for approximately $100 plus an electrician (maybe another $100 to $150) to make sure everything is safe.
6. Reface upper cabinets with glass
There are some things in your kitchen you definitely want to hide, like that family-size bag of Cheese Balls. Other stuff you want people to see: the vintage barware you scored at a garage sale. Swap out the heavy wooden doors on your kitchen cabinets for ones with glass to display your cute dishes and glassware.
“It instantly modernizes and opens up a kitchen,” says Juneja. It costs approximately $500 for an average-size space.
7. Update tired flooring
“If you have outdated vinyl or linoleum flooring in your kitchen, a fresh wood-looking floor can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of the room,” says John Horner, founder of Central Ohio Home Buyer.
Depending on the size of your space, a nice wood laminate can easily be put in for about $500 in material.
“Many of the laminate flooring found in your local home improvement store is either click together or stick down, and very simple to install yourself.”
Another inexpensive way to transform your kitchen from something “dull into something amazing” is to install new laminate countertops from your local home improvement store, which often carries its own brands.
“New countertops can drastically improve the look of your kitchen for a very reasonable price,” says Horner. “For a medium-size kitchen, they can cost around $500 and installation is easy.”
Who says you can’t find a home well within your budget?
You asked for them, here they are: gorgeous single-family homes well within the budget of the average American.
Captain Obvious here with some breaking news: Not everyone can afford a home that costs seven figures. In fact, the vast majority of us can’t: The median value of the owner-occupied American home is $175,700. Not that we’re above ogling or drawing inspiration from those multimillion-dollar dream homes — far from it. Who doesn’t enjoy falling down the rabbit hole of real estate dream homes for sale in Philadelphia, PA, or Seattle, WA?
But the real question is: Can a home be simultaneously affordable and ogle-worthy? Heck yeah! And to prove it, this roundup of affordable houses sees that $175,700 and drops it to $150,000, an asking price well within the reach of the typical American homebuyer. Feast your eyes.
Two palm trees flank the entrance to this single-story brick home in Little Woods, a community in New Orleans bordered by the 630-square-mile Lake Pontchartrain. A light-filled living room, headlined by a tiled fireplace, greets visitors just beyond the foyer. The home also includes three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, hardwood floors throughout, and an updated kitchen within its 1,650 square feet. Outside is a barbecue-ready covered patio and private yard, the latter of which awaits a gardener’s touch.
Located 65 miles southwest of Madison, the bucolic town of Belmont, WI, is home to this four-bedroom, two-bathroom craftsman. Dating to 1911, the 2,363-square-foot charmer sports a new roof and HVAC system, an updated kitchen, and new carpet, yet the home retains its early-20th-century character (check out that millwork!). The fourth bedroom is sized just right for a playroom, or you could shoo the kids across the street to the neighborhood park, outfitted with swings, a slide, a basketball court, and picnic tables.
Fun fact: Maricopa, AZ, the hometown of this Spanish-style residence, is the only city in the country bordered by two Indian reservations. Besides this icebreaking piece of info, the 12-year-old home offers potential residents three bedrooms, two full baths, and a laundry room within 1,402 square feet. The roomy eat-in kitchen exits to a covered back patio and a fenced-in gravel yard. Bonus: There’s an attached garage for keeping your car shaded from the Sonoran Desert sun.
The kids probably won’t care about this 1,510-square-foot home’s unique exterior brickwork, warm tile floors, and generously sized master suite, but they’re sure to appreciate the fenced, grassy backyard. There’s ample room for a swing set, games of tag, and any four-legged family members (if the kids aren’t begging you for a dog now, they soon will be). Inside, the home features an open foyer-kitchen-living-room layout, with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. A two-car garage and Houston address are just icing on the cake.
Located in the tiny town of Belfry, MT (population in 2010: 218!), this pocket-sized home packs one bedroom and bathroom, a mudroom-sunroom, living room, and an eat-in kitchen into a wee 720 square feet. It’s sized just right for two, provided that you stay on good terms with your living companion — there aren’t many places to hide here. Of course, you could always retreat to the pergola’d patio when things get too real. After ruffled feathers are smoothed, you can snuggle beside the gas stove in the living room.
Have a thing for farmhouse-style kitchens? Peep the goods in this newly listed rancher, built in 1920. You’ll spot a vintage-style sink, a beadboard backsplash, and all-white cabinetry that sets off the warmth of the home’s original hardwood floors. Elsewhere throughout the 1,300-square-foot home, built-in shelving, crisp white woodwork, and trendy wall colors create an aesthetic that toes the line between modern and historic. And let’s not forget the location: The ranch is located directly across the street from the local middle school. That perk — partnered with the home’s spacious finished basement and backyard — makes this place ideal for families.
What would you do with the unfinished attic in this picture-perfect craftsman in western Kentucky? Mull it over as you take in the 8-year-old home’s 10-foot ceilings, roomy master suite with his-and-hers closets, and the cozy living area that’s surely seen its fair share of family movie nights. There’s a large kitchen and dining room, both ideal for entertaining, and how sweet are those covered front and back porches? Toss the Frisbee to Fido on the huge lawn while you flip burgers on the grill.
Cute as a button in historic Winchester, KY, this bright and sunny home dates back to 1907. There are 1,858 square feet of living space under the double-gable roof — three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a glass sunroom, a partially finished basement, and a contemporary kitchen that looks straight from a design blog. The real draw here, however, is the home’s old-fashioned charm, which is shaped by the tall ceilings, extensive millwork, hardwood floors (original to the home), built-in shelving, wood-burning fireplace, and graceful chandeliers. The only thing that could make this place more inviting is perhaps a wooden swing on the front porch.
Walk up the driveway, past a bed of hostas and a Pinterest-worthy covered porch, and you’ll end up at a white picket gate at this craftsman in northeast Pennsylvania. Beyond the gate is a private backyard with a garden shed and, depending on whom you ask, the two-bedroom home’s most endearing feature: acres upon acres of undeveloped land on the other side of the property line. It’s this wooded location — and a dead-end street — that guarantees a sense of privacy and seclusion. Head indoors, and you’ll encounter a decidedly vintage feel throughout the newly renovated 1,600-square-foot bungalow.