How to Keep Your Head in the Game (When the Game is Tough)

There’s no doubt about it, the housing market has been a changing, fickle beast for the past few years. Unfortunately, it’s been leaving a lot of millennials and up-and-coming first-time homebuyers feeling like they’ll never be able to make the jump to homeownership financially. Experts theorize that this is due to multiple factors – student loan debt, settling down with partners later and low incomes, to name a few. But ultimately, a recent survey found that nearly two-thirds of non-homeowners said affordability was the main reason they hadn’t yet purchased a home. 

But fear not interested homebuyers! While the pandemic years brought some insane homebuying experiences, it also brought a slew of all-new millennial homebuyers. The NAR’s latest report claims “millennials now make up 43% of home buyers – the most of any generation – an increase from 37% [in 2021].”

Even as the market continues to change, it’s still an obtainable time for millennials to buy their first home. Yes, with higher interest rates and a lower supply, the game is kind of tough. But we’ve pulled advice from some of real estate’s finest to advise you on the best way to keep your head in the game and, ultimately, find that dream home. 

#1. Go hyper-local

It’s not a bad time to enter the housing market, but it’s best to do it with a local expert. Many statistics will give you an overview of prices now compared to the past couple of years, but that’s not an accurate representation of everything that’s happened in the pandemic years. 

To get the most bang for your buck, you’re going to want a local agent who can hyper-fixate on the details – from the pros and cons of the neighborhood to working within your budget and everything in between. It may seem like going general and just searching everything in your price range is the way to go, but that leaves plenty of room for potential clean-ups down the road. Get with an expert you trust and let them hyper-fixate on your dream home’s necessities.  

#2. Get the full financial picture 

If this is your first mortgage rodeo, no one is expecting you to show up knowing everything. In fact, even if it’s not your first rodeo, it’s still hard to know all the in’s and out’s that go into mortgages. That’s why you need to work with a loan officer that you trust to paint the full financial picture. Have you been preapproved? Do you know the different perks between a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage? Are you prepared to avoid private mortgage insurance? Before you dive into a deal that actually doesn’t work for your lifestyle, you have to understand all of your options. Make sure you hire a mortgage specialist that can help you navigate this landscape early on! 

#3. Compromise is your best friend

At the end of the day, you’re likely going to have to make some compromises. Are the location and price great, but it doesn’t have the hardwood flooring of your dreams? Are you stretched a little further on your budget than you wanted to be, but it’s got everything on your list? Remember, buying a home has so many perks that renting just doesn’t give you, that making a few compromises is not going to be the end of the world. In a hot market like today’s, it’s good to differentiate early on between your “must have” and “would like” factors. 

Just don’t do it alone. 

Buying your first home can be scary! It involves a lot of processes that you may not have had to interact with yet, and that’s okay. No matter the market (but especially in a tough one), the most important thing is to work with experts that can help get you from the start to the finish line with your needs in mind. If you’re ready to start your home search, contact Baird & Warner. We make real estate easier. 

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