State Savings Bank
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Saving Strategies for First-Time Homebuyers

Start by creating a SAVINGS PLAN. A good savings plan starts with a savings goal. In the case of saving for a down payment, we recommend you determine a realistic savings goal by going through the following steps:

  1. GO THROUGH THE MORTGAGE PRE-QUALIFICATION PROCESS. This will help you understand what home price range is affordable and what down payment amount you’ll likely need. An added and very important benefit to this is that you establish a relationship with an experienced lender who may have suggestions to help you reach your goal quicker.


  1. REVIEW YOUR INCOME AND EXPENSES and determine how much you can afford to devote to saving and how long it might take to get to your goal. Use financial calculators to model different scenarios.


  1. OPEN A FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER SAVINGS ACCOUNT (FTHSA).  It's easier to see your progress when your house savings are not co-mingled with other funds and saving in an officially designated tax-advantaged First Time Homebuyer Savings Account can grow your savings faster and smarter. Here is a list of advantages:


  • Each financial institution sets their own interest rate but State Savings Bank pays a higher interest rate on our First-time Homebuyer Savings account than our Classic or Super Savings Accounts. Click here to see our current rate and compare savings accounts.


  • Money deposited into an officially designated FTHSA, can be excluded from the account holder’s Iowa adjusted gross income, currently in amounts up to $2,050 or $4,100 a year depending on whether the account has a single owner or is owned by married taxpayers filing jointly. Please note that this amount may adjust annually.


  • You can be the beneficiary of multiple FTHSAs.


  • Iowa’s First Time Home Buyer Accounts created by the state legislature allow anyone, not just first time homebuyers, to open a FTHSA. Any individual, including those who already own a home, can open and make contributions into an account as long as they name an eligible first time home owner as the beneficiary of the account funds. This means that if you have a parent, grandparent, or friend who wants to help you save for your first home purchase, they can make tax-deductible contributions on your behalf. Learn all the details about our FTHSA, including a list of FAQs here.


  • Customers who open FTHSAs at State Savings Bank automatically are provided a dedicated first-time homebuyer account specialist to help navigate all steps of the process from pre-qualification through closing the mortgage. Our specialists understand that first time homebuyers often have questions and need extra information or assistance. Whether you call rarely or call a lot, we pledge our help every step of the way.


  1. SET UP AN AUTOMATIC CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR FTHSA. The easiest way to save is automatically as it does not rely on you remembering to make a deposit, you just set it and forget it! Once you’ve determined how much you can afford to devote to saving, talk to your employer about splitting your paycheck direct deposit between your checking account and your FTHSA. If your employer is unable to set up a split deposit for you, we can help you set up an automatic transfer to occur as soon as the money is deposited into your checking account.


  1. Investigate whether other types of high interest accounts can benefit you. For example, put your money to work in a REWARDS CHECKING ACCOUNT. Our Rewards Checking  pays higher interest if you meet a list of requirements, which in all likelihood, you are already meeting. To compare checking accounts, click here.
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