Gen X and the Baby Boomers have a new buyer to contend with: millennials.
According to the National Association of Realtors, millennials comprise the largest single generation of home buyers in the country.
Yet if you’re a millennial, it can be hard to feel like you’re part of a powerful group of home buyers.
If anything, the home buying process can seem a little intimidating.
If you have the “itch” that suggests buying a home is your best financial “scratch” in the next five years, you may be right. Here are some “do’s” and “don’t’s” to help you understand what to expect as you join a powerful generation of home buyers:
Do: Add stability to your financial future.
Why bother with a home in the first place, especially if you’re amillennial? Why not rent until retirement?
There are too many reasons to list here. But one argument many renting millennials make is that it’s simply no longer feasible to own property in a difficult economy.
But there’s a counterargument to that fact: sometimes, you can’t afford not to own.
Millennials have seen stagnant wages for some time, which means that every increase in the cost of living—consumer prices, grocery bills, and, yes, the cost of renting—makes you poorer.
A fixed-rate mortgage is a powerful strategy for locking in the cost of your housing, which in turn gives you the freedom to expand your lifestyle as your personal wages increase.
Don’t: Ignore closing costs.
Millennials are often taken off guard when they discover the costs of buying a home.
Not the price of the home itself, but the additional fees that eat into their savings.
In fact, 63% of millennials have regrets with their home, much of it thanks to millennials being unprepared for the realities of homeownership.
These regrets are not part of the process. And they don’t have to reflect your experience.
The best thing you can do is to plan for closing costs as you strategize for your first home purchase. These costs may seem expensive when you don’t plan for them, but when they’re part of your strategy, you can shrug them off with ease.
Do: Save for your down payment, starting now.
According to an Apartment List survey, the primary obstacle millennials face when buying a home isn’t bad credit or the size of the monthly payments. It’s the size of the down payment, affecting 62% of all millennials planning a home purchase.
Don’t: Put it off.
While 90% of renters want to purchase a home, only 4.4% want to do it within the next year.
These surveys suggest that while millennials recognize the importance of buying a home, they aren’t always taking definitive action to make it happen.
Too often, the good chances slip away.
We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Higher interest rates and low home availability could push the cost of mortgages higher—and it will only be more difficult to be a first–time buyer.
That’s why the time for a plan is now.