Millennials: Redefining the American Dream

first_img 41SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Sarah Volling Sarah Volling is Marketing Manager at Accenture Mortgage Cadence. Beginning her career with the company over seven years ago, Sarah now oversees the marketing department, strengthening brand identity through thought … Web: Details “Another article about Millennials?” you might be asking yourself. I can guarantee this is unlike most articles you have read. The industry is buzzing about the opportunity these future homebuyers will create for lenders. However, the fact of the matter is that most Millennials are still not buying homes. Because of this, I decided to do a little digging to identify why this is the case and what, if anything, lenders can do to begin nudging Millennials in the right direction. While I myself am, in fact, a Millennial, I am the exception to the rule. Find out more about my story and those of other Perennial Homebuyers here. Read on to uncover a firsthand account of one Millennial, Taylor Epskamp, who is just beginning his journey on the path to being a first-time homebuyer.Q: How old were you when you decided you might be interested in buying your first house? A: I became seriously interested in buying my first home just a few months ago at age 25. However, I can remember as far back as high school casually flipping through the homes listed for sale in the back of our newspaper. I had a vision of becoming some sort of real estate mogul prodigy, yet I certainly couldn’t pursue that career path given my lack of steady income at the time.Even after starting my first post-undergrad position, the idea of buying a home seemed like bad planning. Who knew where I would end up? In the year following graduation, I left my hometown of Chicago and made my way out west to Colorado. Once there, I rented a home with several roommates before moving again the next year to my current apartment where I live with my girlfriend. In the two years since graduating, I moved 5 times, so home buying definitely didn’t fit into the picture. Now, nearly four years after graduation, home buying feels like something I should consider. My savings account is looking better, I’ve developed a connection to my current city, and my parents surprised me with an incredibly generous offer to cover a down payment. Although my newfound stability could easily be offset by a sudden end to my long-term relationship or a shift in my career, those factors seem less significant than they did even six months ago. Q: Who have you been asking for advice regarding where to start and what to consider when buying a home?A: When seeking advice about buying a home, I naturally started with asking my parents. I didn’t receive the straightest of answers on some of the questions. What happens if I need to move in a few years? Could I rent my home out? Is it a good time to buy? And so I began to supplement our conversations with research online. I encountered some great rules of thumb and even calculators that move backwards from the maximum mortgage payment you could afford, yet I still felt like I didn’t have a complete picture. With a little more context on the home buying process, I casually sought opinions from like-minded twenty somethings. A central question was, “Where do I start?” A few referred me to their favorite realtors and recommended I speak to my bank of choice about getting preapproved. I learned, however, that pre-approvals are typically only good for 30 days, and the idea of owning a home in a month made my palms sweat a little. Even after research, I’m not quite clear on where I should go for a preapproval: credit union, community bank, or a big bank? Although it’s a huge buying decision, I’m trying not to get bogged down by all of the details, at least initially. The important thing is to just start this process, working it out as I go. Q: Your last statement ties in nicely to my next question. What is the biggest roadblock preventing you from actively beginning your home search?The first obstacle I see when looking to buy a home is a deep seeded fear that I am too naïve. If I don’t know my budget, I might get talked into a home that I can’t afford comfortably. I’m also worried about finding the best terms for a loan. An interest rate that’s only slightly higher could play out as a loss further down the road. This vaguely irrational fear is coupled with the realization that I would be tied to a specific location regardless of other factors such as a relationship, career, or lifestyle change. In other words, I might be married for better or for worse to my mortgage. In contrast, it’s fairly easy to break your apartment lease or to sublet for a few months until it runs out. The flexibility that renting affords is like a giant security blanket for us young professionals. Finally, I worry about home maintenance. With the wrong home, I could find myself choosing to pay for a new roof instead of going on that trip I had planned. Even the thought of having to putter about my lawn instead of going rock climbing is a sacrifice I’m unsure I want to make. Okay, so lawn work can be highly gratifying, but the point is that home maintenance potentially represents a huge time commitment. Even for young professionals with the means to buy their first home, there are many obstacles they see in their way. Saving up for a down payment (they likely aren’t familiar that FHA loans are an option), learning the buying process, and sacrificing some flexibility and independence are all valid concerns.Lessons to be learned:Taylor mentioned he does not know what type of bank to go with. Now is the time to target Millennials through social media and advertising campaigns geared at differentiating yourself in a crowded market. Answer the question: “What can you do for me that no one else can?”Millennials don’t want to feel tied down to a given city – let alone a house. Educating this generation on the potential to turn a home into an income property or how the selling process works would likely squash many of their concerns. Consider short, educational videos you can post to social media or your website. Millennials are likely to watch a 2 minute video before picking up the phone to chat.Consider adding calculators to your website that compares renting to buying. Renting often costs more each month than a monthly mortgage payment. Millennials likely don’t know this. This is not much different than a standard calculator you already have on your site today, but positioning it in a way that speaks to Millennials is key.The silver lining: as these individuals tire of handing check after check over to their landlords, acknowledging their loss of equity, home ownership will be a natural next step. Taylor closed by saying, “I’m not ready to pull the trigger just yet, but I am willing to talk to a few realtors and maybe even shop around for a lender.”last_img


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