How to Build a Plan to Save for Your First House

With 91% of Americans hoping to buy at least one home in their lifetime, chances are you’ve spent some time checking out the housing market in your area. And there are plenty of good reasons for house-hunting, whether you want to make an investment, have more space, or just take the next step in your life. 

So what’s the holdup?

For a lot of people, it’s the cost. From down payments to closing costs, mortgage rates and maintenance, the price tag on homeownership can be steep. How do you know how much you can afford? And once you’ve figured out how much you can afford, how can you start saving toward that goal?

We’ve got you covered with our guide to the costs of buying your first house and step-by-step instructions to building your savings plan in Lasso.

The Costs of Buying a House

When figuring out how much your new home could cost, there are a few rules of thumb you may want to keep in mind:

  1. Try to keep your mortgage payment below 30% of your gross monthly income.
  2. Keep your total household debt lower than 36% (this includes car payments, credit cards, student loans, etc.)

With these two guidelines in mind, and a solid estimate of your down payment, closing costs, and mortgage rate, you can create a solid plan to calculate how much home you can buy. 

Down Payments

When most people think of down payments, their minds immediately jump to 20% – after all, that’s the golden standard of down payments, right? 

Maybe not. Just last year, the average down payment for a house or condo in America was just 12%. When we look at just millennial buyers, that number halves. 

With several options for mortgage loans, such as FHA loans that allow buyers to purchase homes with as little as a 3.5% down payment, you might be closer to your savings goal than you think. 

Likewise, VA loans are available to active-duty military members, veterans, and some other qualifiers, and require no down payment at all.

It’s worth exploring all options available to you, but you should also keep in mind that down payments under 20% are often required to have mortgage insurance, which can increase the cost of your loan.

Closing Costs

Closing costs are fees set by your lender, often landing somewhere between 2-5% of your total loan cost. 

Your closing costs will typically include a broker fee, home appraisal cost, and a home inspection fee, among many other things. Any lender you’re working with should be able to provide you with an itemized estimate of closing costs.

You can shop around and get estimates from several different lenders to see what option is best for you, or even negotiate your closing costs. Often, lenders have some flexibility when it comes to these fees, so it’s always worth the ask.

Mortgage Rates

Even though mortgage rates rose from 2.67% in January 2021 to 3.12% in December, the average rate is still historically low. But with inflation also rising at a historic rate, that comfortable rate might not stick around for long. 

Although you can’t know for sure what mortgage rates will look like in a year or two, you can use this data to estimate how much you’ll need to save up for and what your monthly costs will add up to.

Create a Plan with Lasso

With all these costs in mind, you’re now ready to build a plan to save for your house. We’ve got your step-by-step guide to setting up your savings goals with the Lasso app, which is available for download on the Apple App store.

Lasso allows you to build unique plans to reach your financial goals based on 5 simple questions:

  • How much do you want to save?
  • When do you want to save it by?
  • How much do you have already saved?
  • How much can you save each year?
  • How much risk are you comfortable taking?

Here’s your guide to getting started in the app:

1. Download the Lasso app and create an account.

2. Click “New Plan” at the bottom of your screen.


save for your first house


3. There will be 5 options for your type of plan. Click “House.” You’ll then be prompted to name your plan. 

                                           choose your goal to save for your first house


4. Set your house goal. This is the amount you’d like to have saved for your down payment.


set house goal


5. Now it’s time to build your plan. As you do so, you’ll accrue points. 100 points means your plan is on track for success, and you can experiment with different options to adjust your plan and your points.


build your plan

To build your plan, you’ll type in how much you’ve already saved, the amount of years you’d like to reach your goal in, and how much you think you can contribute annually.

The final prompt will ask you to choose your risk portfolio. You can click on each option to view how the portfolio will affect your points, as well as which points are at risk. You can always change your portfolio later, so don’t stress too much.

6. Review your plan. This is the fun part – you get to edit the ingredients. Play with each of the options to see how it would affect your points and maximize your savings. Could you contribute more or less? Save a little longer? Change your risk portfolio? You’ve got all the options.


review plan


7. When you’re satisfied with your plan, you get to review it one more time before clicking “Finish plan.”

8. Want to find more ways to reach your savings goal? You can share your plan with an advisor. Search through our list of available advisors to find the perfect match, then send your plan their way.


share with advisors


They’ll look at your plan and make improvements before sending it back to you. If you like what you see, you’ll be connected with the advisor to continue working together. 

Save Smarter with Lasso

Saving for your first home doesn’t have to be complicated. With Lasso, you can easily create a plan and start saving toward your goal. Download the app here, or reach out to us with any questions.

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