A House-Buying Guide For Millennials
Buying a house can be an exciting time in anyone’s life, and it’s a huge milestone that you should celebrate. Millennials buying houses is nothing new, but there’s a new surge of younger homebuyers throughout the United States.
If you’re one of them, read on for a few great tips to help you get the home of your dreams without breaking the bank.
Pay Off Your Debt First
Before you go out and get into more debt, consider paying off any you already owe. Student loans, personal loans, and credit card debts are the big three that come to mind. When you pay them off, you have more money available for your mortgage, down payment, or savings. Work to pay your debt off as quickly as possible, so you’re free and clear to buy a house.
Look for a House that Fits Your Lifestyle
Buying a house can be a lengthy process, but don’t be tempted to rush into a home that doesn’t match your lifestyle. Purchasing the wrong one–whether it’s a mismatch for your needs or leaves you financially overextended–can lead to problems later on, and you may even end up selling prematurely, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to build equity. Instead of focusing exclusively on what’s inside the house, consider the its distance from work and family, the outdoor space (especially if you have kids or pets), and the overall carrying costs–not just the monthly payment. You can find yourself stuck and stressed out if you don’t.
Buy With the Future in Mind
What will your future self want in a house? If you’re young and single, buying a house in the center of a city by thriving nightlife may seem like a dream, but what happens when you settle down? If you buy a small house, what happens when you have kids if you plan for them? Take a few minutes and think about your longer-range plans, and see how your house falls into them.
Consider the Current State of the Property
So many videos, blogs, YouTube channels, and television shows make home improvement seem so easy. The truth is, it can be a big time and money suck if you’re not sure what you’re doing. It’s usually worth it to buy a home that is in good repair instead of saving a few thousand by buying one that isn’t in a good state. Those few thousand you initially save will be gone very quickly on renovations.
Save for a Down Payment
Many young people forget to put money aside for a down payment, and it comes back to haunt them later. The more you can put down for your down payment, the more affordable your payments will be. Ideally, you should have at least 10% of your home’s purchase price on-hand and ready to use, if not 20%.
Shop in a Buyer’s Market
A buyer’s market is when there are more houses available than meets demand, so the sellers compete with lower prices. The homebuyer has the advantage here, and you can shop through an area and see how the prices differ. If the house has been available for a while, the seller may be willing to reduce the price just to get it off their hands.
Calculate How Much Home You Can Afford
Before you start shopping, consider how much home you can afford. This way, you don’t get your hopes up on a house that is way out of your budget. Ideally, you want to keep all of your housing-related expenses like mortgage, insurance, and any HOA fees to no more than 25% to 30% of your monthly take-home pay. This amount will leave you with enough money to fix up your home or build savings.
Get Preapproved for a Loan
This point goes back to knowing how much home you can afford. Millennials buying houses tend to skip this step, and it can set the home search back. For example, you can’t make an offer on the house without a pre-approval letter, and the letter can take a week or two. In this time, the home you had your eye on could be long gone. Start home shopping with a pre-approval letter in your hand, and stay in your budget.
What is Your Exit Strategy?
Normally, the first home you buy isn’t your forever home. When it’s time to move on, how will your home fare with your exit strategy? Will it be easy to rent out or sell? Is it big enough for a couple to start their own family in? How is the local school district? What are your neighbors like? Keep all of these things in mind when you’re on your search.
Keep the Process Moving
Once you start the homebuying process, see it through. Stay in the loop so you can stay on top of your agent or any other third parties, like the inspection company. If you can avoid it, never make a seller wait during the contingency period. You want to get the deal done as soon as possible, without tempting the seller to explore backup offers from buyers willing to move faster than you.
Be Honest and Authentic with the Seller
For many people, selling their home is a very emotional process. You can try to connect with them by sending them a short, handwritten note that explains why the home would be perfect for you. This letter can give you an emotional connection with the seller, and make them more likely to entertain your offer.
Buying a home can be a rewarding but overwhelming process, especially if you’re not prepared. Use our 11 tips to help streamline your home buying process and find your dream home.