As the Millennial Generation (or Generation Y) comes of age and begins their ascent into adulthood – with all the fun and responsibility that entails – more and more sectors find themselves at a crossroads, trying to cater to both the needs and style of Generation X and the more tech-savvy Millennial approach to life.
Millennials are generally characterized by their increased use and familiarity with social media and technology in general. They are largely marked by an increased sense of political and social liberalness. Their attitudes about life, politics, and work were profoundly influenced by the Great Recession, and while some researchers have categorized Millennials using terms like “special” and “sheltered,” others have identified them as achieving, confident, and team-oriented.
If you’re a Millennial, though, you know that the only thing that really matters to you are results. Whether it’s in your workout, at your job, or in your search for a new home, you want the best results for the time, money, and effort you put in.
Have Your Finances in Order
Perhaps the most important aspect for all home buyers – not just Millennials – is to make sure you’re in a financially secure spot to purchase a home. This means not only making enough money to afford the monthly payments, but also having enough for a down payment, as well as a nest egg large enough to cover any unforeseen hiccups. Once you’re a homeowner, you will be responsible for fixing anything that breaks – unlike your time as a renter, when your landlord was responsible for the general maintenance of your home.
In addition to paying the monthly bills, you may need to invest in things like lawn mowers and lawn care equipment, shovels or a snow blower, new appliances, new carpeting, paint, and other day-today maintenance items. This means making sure your finances are in peak condition. Whether it means asking for a raise, obtaining a loan from your parents, or buying a home with your significant other, don’t run the risk of becoming house poor.
Do Your Research – On Homes and Neighborhoods
Millennials are largely a generation of information junkies. They are media and tech savvy, and know how to ferret out information that they want or need. Nowhere is this more critical for home buyers than in the home buying process. It’s easy for home buying to become an emotional process – you see a house you love, feature you love, or a park that you love and you jump, buying the property based on nothing more than that gut reaction.
But buying a home isn’t an impulse purchase, it’s a years-long (sometimes lifelong) commitment. Make sure you research neighborhoods that you’re interested in, ensuring that they’ll be a good fit not only for your life right now, but for your long-term goals as well. Make sure you also research what is important to you in a property that you’re interested in. Is it modernization? Square footage? Consider how much work you’re willing to put in – do you want a fixer-upper or a move-in ready home? Are you willing to put in the time and money for roof repairs, external painting or remodeling? Having the answers to these questions in advance of your purchase will ease the buying process.
Tap Into All Available Resources
Millennial home buyers can research all angles of the home buying process – from pre-approval to home search to mortgage and insurance acquisition – using the technology with which they have grown up, the technology through which they harness their power in the world.
Home buyers can get pre-approved for a mortgage online through one of several online mortgage quote companies. Websites like Zillow and Realtor.com offer ways through which home buyers can shop for, examine, consider, and even take virtual tours of homes on the market. Home insurance policies can likewise be purchased online and then digitally sent to the lender of your home loan.
Tap into all these resources – and more – as you shop for your new home. Check in with your parents and older adults you trust who may have experienced this process before so that they, too, can help you make sense of what you have read and researched. Consult your realtor to ascertain their opinions as well. The more perspectives you have, the better.
Take Your Time
In an age of immediate gratification, it’s important to take your time and consider each aspect of the home buying process. Again, don’t rush through the process because you think you’ve fallen in love with a home. Look at multiple homes for comparison’s sake, consider the homes on the market and how the price trends might help you negotiate better. Shop carefully for your mortgage, comparing rates and fees so that your payment can be as low as possible.
Hire a Real Estate Agent
Perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself in the house hunting process is to hire a licensed real estate agent. Your agent will have the knowledge and experience and must abide by a specific ethical industry standard in helping you search for your house.
A realtor will help you decipher the research you’ve done, help you stave off your emotional responses, and will – most importantly – negotiate the best deal possible for you. They will organize and maintain all necessary paperwork and protect the home buyers interests. Their experience will bring a discerning set of eyes to your hunt, helping you look beyond aesthetics to see whether the important structural elements of the home are strong as well.
The Millennial generation is a strong, capable generation that thrives on information and both ease and speed of access in every sector of life. These can be wonderful, successful qualities, but in the case of home buying, it may be best to temper these strengths with the knowledge, savvy, and experience of your local real estate agent. Before you know it, you’ll be in the home of your dreams!