Home ownership is, without a doubt, expensive. In fact, it’s the most expensive purchase many people will make throughout their entire lives. With housing costs as high as they are, many people end up having to declare bankruptcy as they default on their mortgages. Between 2005 and 2017, approximately 12.8 million consumer bankruptcy petitions were filed in the federal courts. However, with a few savings tips and tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to afford the price of a home without going into severe debt.

Consider Alternative Mortgage Options

Most people still stand by the idea that in order to buy a home, you need to have at least 20% of the purchase price saved up for a down payment on the house. However, depending on your situation, this might not necessarily be the case. There are many other types of mortgages you can get to finance your home purchase, with some only requiring as little as 3% down. Do some research to see if a traditional mortgage plan is right for you, or if you’d do better with an alternative.

Time The Market

The real estate market is incredibly volatile, and prices can change rapidly from year to year or even month to month. Work with a real estate agent who knows your ideal neighborhood well, and decide if now is really the right time to buy. It could be that simply by waiting a year or two, you’ll be more likely to find a home within your budget. That being said, if now’s the time to buy, don’t put off the decision for too long – your luck could quickly change.

Rework Your Budget

If you’re finding that timing the market and checking out mortgage options still isn’t giving you a stable enough choice, you may need to rethink your purchasing plans. Is your budget still too high? Are there other neighborhoods nearby that you haven’t considered yet? Would you be comfortable in a slightly smaller home? Take a look at your original game plan and see what you and your family would be willing to compromise on.

Remember Long-Term Costs

No matter what, when you’re planning for your home purchase, don’t forget about the costs that won’t show up until later. This includes everything from closing fees to insurance payments that you’ll be on the hook for down the road. The cost of your insurance will vary by the property and the level of protection you wish to purchase, but it typically costs around 0.5% of the home’s purchase price. Accounting for these now means you won’t be surprised later with costs that will push you over your intended budget.

Homes are expensive and can be difficult to afford for many families, especially those 32% of homebuyers who are purchasing for the first time. With a bit of creative planning and compromise, you’ll still be able to find a home you and your family will love for years to come.