It’s no secret that millennial homebuyers are facing a much different market than their parents. Interest rates, mortgage payments, and saving for a down payment can make purchasing your dream home a challenge. Factors such as student loans, consumer debt (including credit card debt), unpredictable inflation, and economic instability can make attaining home financing feel out of reach.
However, with the appropriate strategies and a positive attitude, it’s more achievable than it might seem. In 2022, Apartment List found that the percentage of millennials who own homes was up to 52% from 49% in 2021. Follow this guide for tips on boosting your finances and embracing the millennial homeownership mindset.
Prioritize your credit management
When it comes to securing a home loan, your creditworthiness has a significant impact. It holds considerable importance to the loan process, as the risk of lending to you and your capacity to repay the loan is carefully assessed and considered. While addressing your financial history might not seem that exciting, it is the only way to rectify underlying financial issues.
Be sure to monitor your credit score and review the report for accuracy. Timely bill payments, reducing high debt balances, or considering consolidation can be beneficial. You should also refrain from opening new credit lines once you begin your homebuying journey, as this could negatively impact your debt-to-income ratio and disqualify you for specific loan programs.
Manage student loans and other debts
Student loan debt is a big hurdle for many millennial homebuyers. However, you don’t have to pay off all your debt before buying a home. While paying off your debt is ideal, if you can handle it financially, having some debt won’t automatically keep you from securing home financing. Plus, there are loan programs and low-down payment options that can help you financially secure a home even with student debt.
Say goodbye to high rent
If your goal is to buy a home soon, you might need to make some adjustments to boost your income. Many millennials live in high-cost areas near amenities for socializing and work, but this often means they’re spending a significant portion of their salary on rent. With rent prices on the rise, it’s not surprising that many renters struggle to save for a down payment. Some millennials may choose to live at home with parents in order to save. You can also consider saving more by extending your lease term, splitting a unit with a roommate, or moving to a slightly cheaper apartment.
Save for your down payment
If you’re struggling to save for a down payment, you’re not alone and there are steps you can take to optimize your saving strategies. Automating savings from your paycheck into a separate account can help you jumpstart your down payment fund.
While adhering to the 20% down payment rule isn't necessary, having a solid down payment opens doors to better home financing options and reduced interest rates. However, if you're a first-time homebuyer or carry existing debt, loan programs offering a 3.5% down payment can be a great option. These programs recognize that financial circumstances can vary widely and help open the door to homeownership for a variety of buyers.
Ask your loan originator about down payment assistance programs
You may qualify for down payment assistance programs, grants, and interest-free loans are offered by numerous states, counties, and cities to assist homebuyers with covering down payments and closing costs. To identify programs aligning with your financial situation, consult your loan originator.
When exploring these programs, it's crucial to do thorough research and understand the terms and conditions. Some programs might have specific eligibility criteria or income limits. Don't hesitate to ask your loan originator to explain the details to ensure you make the most informed decision. Taking advantage of down payment assistance can significantly ease the financial burden of purchasing a home.
Stand out in a competitive market
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise when you hear the housing market is fierce. Recent years have seen a shortage of sellers/properties, spiking home prices, and intense buyer competition. Standing out is more important than ever and there are a few ways to get yourself ahead of the competition. For instance, get pre-approved for your loan before making an offer. This lets the seller know you’re serious and a good candidate for a quick and seamless closing. Quick decisions matter too; sellers want efficiency. Don’t delay tasks like home inspections — make sure you act right away.
Is homeownership possible for millennials?
No matter your credit score, student loan debt, income level, or other financial obligations, there are available loan programs that can help you achieve your dream of homeownership.