5 Myths That Keep Millennials From Becoming Homeowners

Frederick Nosal — First Vice President, Residential Lending

Though most Millennials are already well down the path of “adulting,” with careers, car and student loan repayments, and even starting to save for retirement, many haven’t taken a critical next step in their financial lives: homeownership.

Behind this hesitation are a handful of persistent myths.

Myth# 1: Renting saves me money.

Rent is an expense you pay to live in someone else’s real estate investment. If you were spending that same amount on a mortgage payment, you would actually be investing in an asset you own. It would be yours to sell and borrow against. It could even appreciate over time, which would help you build long-term wealth. Here’s a calculator that can help you put this in dollars—potentially your own.

Myth#2: I don’t make enough to buy a home.

You may not be able to buy your dream home right away, but the odds are good you can find one you’d be comfortable owning and can already afford. After all, you won’t be paying for your home all at once. While you can try different scenarios online to see what’s affordable, we recommend first-timers talk to an Old Second Mortgage banker. Not all mortgages are alike. Some lenders, like Old Second, participate in a variety of programs for first-time buyers that make affordability easier. 

Myth# 3: I still have student loans, so I can’t get a mortgage.

While your student loan balance may seem high, just focusing on how much you owe can be misleading. The amount you are required to pay back each month is what influences your mortgage approval. Also, federal student loan programs offer numerous options to ensure your payments are affordable, even with a car loan and mortgage payment. Many borrowers are able to make adjustments that allow them to comfortably repay their debt and make a housing move.

Myth# 4: It’ll be years before I can afford a down payment.

While experienced homebuyers typically make a larger down payment, first-time mortgage programs can require far less. Some are available with as little as a $1,000 investment. Depending on where you live, you may be able to access grants that cover a portion or all your down payment. This is where working with an Old Second Mortgage banker comes in handy. We can help you access the right programs for your situation. 

Myth# 5: Owning a home is a big responsibility.

While having a big property can mean a lot of yardwork and maintenance, you have options that reduce the “sweat equity” associated with homeownership. From new construction to high-rise condos or townhomes with shared maintenance costs, you can own without giving up your weekends to home maintenance chores.

Myth #6: Getting a mortgage is complicated.

You don’t have to do this alone. Talk to us. We listen and are always ready to answer questions. The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask, so ask us anything. We’ll help you understand what’s affordable, calculate how much different types of properties will cost and prequalify you so it’s easier to work with a real estate agent.

We’re here—online, by phone and in person. As your community bank, we aren’t going anywhere. So, ready when you are. After all, you may not do this every day, but we do.

How to Prepare for the Spring Home-Buying Season

William Schumann, 1st Vice President—Mortgage Sales 

William Schumann, First Vice President, Head of Mortgage Sales

William Schumann, First Vice President, Head of Mortgage Sales

Ready to make your move? Whether you are trading up, downsizing or taking your first plunge into home ownership, preparation makes for a more efficient process and, ultimately, more livable results. What you’re preparing for is more than a financial transaction—it’s a purchase that will influence your overall lifestyle.

Choose a Neighborhood

A good real estate agent can help you understand what a neighborhood offers and how it might match up with your lifestyle preferences. There are also a variety of apps you can download to help you get acquainted with an area’s walkability, its schools, and how well it will serve your daily needs.

Determine What “Home” Looks Like

Once you decide where you want to look, consider the type of home you are looking for. Many online listings now have walk-through videos to provide previews. Although, until you start walking through homes, knowing what will feel comfortable may be hard to gauge, especially if this is your first purchase.

Find Your Financial Comfort Zone

Once you develop a feel for your preferences, it’s time to start thinking about what you are comfortable with financially. You should consider where you are today, given your current income and debt levels, and where you expect to be in a few years.

For an approximate idea of what will be affordable, you can take a DIY approach and use the calculators that banks like ours offer to help you run the numbers. However, it’s typically more helpful to sit down and talk to a banker. A banker can also prequalify you, which will improve your understanding of how much of a mortgage you can comfortably afford, giving consideration to both the monthly payment as well as the total loan amount.

Speaking with a mortgage professional also alerts you to any programs you may qualify for. Currently, there are programs with special incentives for first-time buyers. There are also programs that make buying a property that will need immediate fixing up more affordable.

Spring Ahead

Spring is considered the kickoff to the home-buying season. This year, however, there is some incentive for starting to prep for buying a bit earlier.

Recently, mortgage rates increased. The rise was not dramatic, and though additional increases are anticipated in 2017, mortgage rates are expected to remain at the low end of their historical range. However, each increase adds to the cost of buying.

Another reason to start preparing now is that home values in many areas have recovered to their prerecession levels. Realtor.com forecasts that prices in our area could rise another 1.95 percent this year.[1]

For more information on how we can help you prepare for your home purchase, visit us here or call 1-877-966-0202. We can’t wait to talk to you about what we can do to help you make your next move.

Sources:

[1] Joe Kirchner, “Realtor.com®2017 National Housing Forecast,” Realtor.com, posted Nov. 30, 2016, retrieved Jan. 4, 2017.