The pandemic has had a major impact on real estate. More Americans are deciding to enter the housing market and buy their first homes. However, buying a home requires a down payment, which can be as much as 20 percent of the purchase price. That’s a sizable amount! If you haven’t been saving for years, then you may not have the funds to go house hunting right now. However – there are some unusual ways to find money for you down payment that don’t require squirreling away a few dollars here and there over many months. Here are some interesting ways that you can quickly find the money you need for the down payment on your new home.

Down payment assistance programs

Programs are available to help first-time homebuyers make their down payments. These are usually offered on a state or local level and will vary by location. In many cases, nonprofits will partner will banks to provide these types of programs. You’ll need to meet the requirements to apply, and eligibility is often based on income. Search online for opportunities that are available in your area.

Federally backed home loans

For those who may struggle to come up with a large down payment, it’s worth it to check into federally backed home loans. These are loans that are guaranteed by the federal government, and the down payment requirements are significantly less than those for a conventional loan. For example, if you qualify for an FHA loan, you may only end up paying 3.5 percent down for your home. Some loans, like VA loans and USDA loans, may require no down payment at all. Check these programs to see if you meet the qualifications.

Ask about job-related housing programs

You may be surprised to learn that many companies offer assistance to employees who are purchasing a home. These types of programs are offered as incentives to employees to help retain them and prevent frequent turnover. They are common at universities and hospitals, and may be available to you as well. Your employer may provide a down payment grant or loan that is forgiven over the term of your employment.

Withdraw money from your IRA

Another way to quickly come up with money for a down payment is to withdraw funds from your IRA. This only applies to first-time homeowners and there are limits to how much you can withdraw. This withdrawal is also taxable, but you don’t have to repay what you take out.

Withdraw money from your 401(k)

You can also withdraw money from your 401(k) to use for your down payment. But be aware that you’ll get hit with a 10 percent penalty for withdrawing the money early. You’ll also need to repay the money over five years (less if you leave your job). While this is a quick way to get cash fast, it has its downsides. Talk with your financial advisor if you’re wondering if this is the right move for you.

Ask for a gift

Did you know your down payment can come in the form of a gift? You can pay your down payment with a gift of money from a family member or close friend, but there are strict guidelines and procedures that must be followed. If you’re lucky enough to have Santa bring you a down payment for Christmas, then make sure you know exactly how to handle the transaction so you can use those funds for your home purchase.