While housing markets fluctuate in Florida and interest rates are ever changing, the one steady fact is that buying a home is a huge milestone in the life of most people. One thing that is important before you buy a home is a down payment. Not only can this lower your interest rate and decrease your monthly payment, but it can also help you avoid mortgage insurance in some cases. Credit Karma has some tips to help you save up for a home so you can have a large down payment.

Most people assume that you need 20% of the total price of your home for a down payment, but it depends on the type of loan. Some conventional mortgage loans only require that you put down as little as three percent. Other government-backed loans allow down payments as low as 3.5% while USDA and VA loans require no down payment. The type of loan you get greatly influences your payment amount and how much money you need to put down.

One creative way to save money for a down payment is to put your retirement savings on hold temporarily. This is not a great idea if you are closer to retirement, but if you are actively contributing a percentage of your salary to a retirement plan, you could temporarily defer that to a savings account intended for a down payment. It is not advised that you do this long term.

Another important part of saving for a down payment is to get your debt under control. The more you spend, the less money you must spend on a house. If you have excessive credit card debt and loans in your name, it can make it harder to qualify for a loan or to get a lower interest rate. Student loans can be refinanced with lower interest rates and high-interest credit cards should be paid off as soon as possible.

Buying a home is an attainable goal for many Americans if they know how to do it right. To maximize your borrowing power, save up for a hefty down payment before you make a purchase.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.