buy-house-in-20s
fstop123/iStock

Curious about how to buy a house in your 20s? If you’re dubious it can be done, we get it. Between entry-level salaries, college loans, and the desire to just be young and have fun, 20-somethings often think homeownership is beyond their reach.

No so! It is entirely possible to buy a home in your 20s, and it will benefit you big-time down the road. Here’s how you can make your home-buying dreams come true much sooner than you think.

How to buy a house in your 20s: Save for a down payment

To buy a house at your age, you’d better have some cash saved up for a down payment on your mortgage—a lot of cash, actually.

Most financial planners recommend that home buyers make a down payment amounting to 20% of the price of the home. So on your typical $250,000 house, that would amount to $50,000. Ouch!

Granted, you don’t have to put down 20%, but doing so enables you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance, a premium that can increase your monthly payment by up to 1.15%.

If you don’t have a ton of money in savings, one way to afford the down payment is to ask Mom and Dad for financial help. Another option to foot the down payment bill is to apply for down payment assistance. Depending on your income and other factors, you could qualify for one of over 2,200 down payment assistance programs nationwide, which help out home buyers with low-interest loans, grants, and tax credits.

So, how much money are we talking about? Well, one study found that buyers who use down payment assistance programs save an average of $17,766. Sadly, most consumers aren’t aware of these programs, or assume they’re too difficult to qualify for. Don’t be one of them!

Shore up student loan debt

Student debt has surged to an average of $28,950 per borrower, reports the Institute for College Access & Success. But college debt doesn’t automatically prevent you from being able buy a house.

Most mortgage lenders require a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio—how much money you owe divided by your income—to be no more than 36%. So, someone making $6,000 a month and paying $500 a month in student debt would be able to afford a maximum monthly mortgage payment of $1,680—in many markets, that’s plenty to buy a house. But, if you’re shouldering too much student loan debt to qualify for a mortgage, you may still have a few options.

One way to make…