Should I Use My Tax Refund on a Down Payment for My First Home?


Buying a home for the first time is always a substantial moment in one’s life. There are so many considerations: Can I afford to buy a home? Is it in the right neighborhood? How are the nearby schools? Is there enough room for my family? The list of hard questions asked before signing on the dotted line are seemingly endless at times. Once many of these concerns are sorted and you do find a house you could see yourself calling home, the next natural question is how should you fund the down payment?

Though there are means to help you save up for such an important investment, many prospective homeowners do not realize that they may be provided the ability to fund the home of their dreams through a topic that is often dreaded: taxes.

With your tax return you may be able to cover a substantial portion of your down payment, effectively making homeownership more attainable than ever. Unfortunately, many people are tempted by the lump sum provided in a tax return and almost instantly spend it without considering the strategic advantages of putting it into a home.

A home is an investment, and a quite worthy one for many Americans. However, if you are either already a homeowner or the time is not right for you to enter the world of real estate for the first time, there are plenty of other ways to smartly utilize your tax return. Many experts suggest you consider putting your return toward settling debts and then into a savings account that can gain interest over time, for example.

Though leveraging your tax write offs can be a powerful tool, it is unwise to do so without some measure of strategy and thought. For instance, over-utilizing tax write offs to increase your tax refund could hurt your ability to qualify for a mortgage based on an adversely affected debt-to-income ratio. Some choose to write off unreimbursed business expense to increase the amount of their refunds, which can lead to more harm than good in some cases. Writing off $4,000 in expenses that only end up yielding $400 in additional resources is a critical and avoidable error.

What is important to remember above all else as a new homebuyer is that buying a home is a substantial commitment that should never be embarked on without being ready. However, if all ducks are in a row and the time is right for your and yours, consider putting your tax return into an investment that will grow with you–a home that you can raise a family and build memories that will last a lifetime within. Remember, a home will also retain a substantial amount of its worth over time. That is the power of home ownership, and something you should consider once this tax season comes to a close.