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7 Mistakes Millennials Make When Purchasing A Home

7 Mistakes Millennials Make When Purchasing A Home

Millennials – they’re the generation between 18 and 35; the new young professionals; the recent graduates, and they’re also coming into the housing market in droves. Usually, they’re also first-time homebuyers, which means that they have the potential to make mistakes in the home-purchasing process.

Here are the top seven mistakes millennials make when they purchase a new home. Whether you consider yourself part of the generation or you’re just looking to ensure your home search goes as smoothly as possible, these tips should help any potential homebuyer.

Mistake #1: Not Getting Pre-Approved

Buying a home should never start with searching for listings online. If you’re serious about buying, start by meeting with a lender. Although that seems backwards to many first-time homebuyers (“Why would I talk to someone about getting money for a home I haven’t found yet?!”) it’s going to help you in the long run.

When you get pre-approved for a mortgage, it means you have met with a lender and showed them your credit report, debt, income, and assets in order to provide a picture of your finances. With that information, they will draft a pre-approval letter – something that tells you how much money you’re potentially qualified for, but isn’t a guarantee of money. Realtors look for a pre-approval letter when working with you because it shows you’ve done your homework and you know your price range. Sellers expect a pre-approval letter with every offer because they know there’s a better chance of you actually getting the mortgage to buy the home.

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Mistake #2: Not Hiring A Realtor

In the age where you can buy virtually anything online, many millennials believe that they can purchase a home through an online listing service. They look at Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia, find the perfect home, and contact the listing agent.

Let’s stop there. This isn’t to say that looking online isn’t a great idea to see what kinds of homes are in your price range. In fact, it’s an excellent way to be prepared to look for the type of home that’s in your budget, including size and location. However, if you think you can do all of your home shopping by yourself through the internet, think again.

When shopping for homes on online listing services, you’re not really getting the full picture or price. The home might have smells, sounds, or sights that you’re not seeing while looking at the photos on the listing. Not only that, if you’re interested in a home and reach out to the listing agent, they’re not going to have your best interests at heart. They’re legally bound to the seller, so you may not get the best deal. That’s why it’s extremely important to first talk to a mortgage lender to see how much you could afford, and then work with a realtor who can help you avoid paying extravagant amounts of money and walk you through different options of homes that are within your price range.

Mistake #3: Buying More House Than You Can Afford

While looking online for a home, another mistake millennials make is looking at the estimated mortgage payment and thinking, “Hey, I can afford that!”

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Many times, the monthly mortgage price on the listing doesn’t account for insurance, taxes, HOA fees, Personal Mortgage Insurance if your down payment is less than 20%, or other utilities and maintenance costs. Purchasing a home costs much more than the dollar amount listed there – it’s expensive and if you end up buying more house than you can afford, you risk becoming “house poor” quickly. That means you pay more money monthly for a house than you can reasonably afford.

Many mortgage lenders will pre-approve you for a mortgage that’s much more than you actually could afford on a month-to-month basis. You can’t rely on them to provide you with an accurate amount of money that you’ll be spending each month on your home. You have to do that on your own. Look at how much money you spend on food and transportation. Then, look at how much you’d be spending on insurance, taxes, closing costs, and maintenance. Add a little bit for savings, just in case, and you have a better picture of your budget each month. If you can afford everything that goes into a home, you’re set to buy. If not, you may need to start looking at homes in a lower price range.

Mistake #4: Not Shopping For A Mortgage

Once you find a home, make an offer, and start the closing process, you need to shop around for a mortgage. Many first-time homebuyers assume that they have to go with the lender that provided them their pre-approval letter. Not so! You can shop around for the best interest rates and terms that fit with you and your budget. In fact, not shopping around for a mortgage can end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars in interest.

Mistake #5: Not Attending A Home Inspection

This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when purchasing a home. If there’s one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: attend the home inspection. Do not let your realtor go without you to look over the inspection. Do not send your mother or brother or second cousin on the home inspection. Take off work and walk through the home with the home inspector. In fact, make sure you’re involved with the entire process, including hiring your own personally vetted inspector (or two or three, depending on the first report), walking through the home with the inspector, asking them questions about the state of the home, and finally reading the inspection report.

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Why is this such a sticking point? A home’s value isn’t just about the property it sits on – it’s also about the state of the appliances, systems, and foundation that makes up the home. If the roof is failing, you’re going to end up spending major amounts of money on it sooner rather than later. If the furnace has cracks in the heat exchanger, you’re going to have to shell out a lot of money to replace that. You need to be informed as to just what you’re getting yourself into when you purchase a home; what costs you can expect in the future and what parts of the home need to be repaired or replaced by the seller (or the price reduced) before you go through with a sale.

As a side-note, if your realtor tells you a home warranty will cover most of the problems in the home inspection, they are misinformed. Most home warranty companies will not repair or replace broken-down systems that were noted as failing in a home inspection. If there’s something wrong, get it fixed before you buy!

Mistake #6: Not Getting A Home Warranty

That being said, you’re not going to ever find a home in absolute perfect condition, especially if it’s not a newly constructed house. Things wear out and break down. Make sure to ask for a home warranty during closing. Although it isn’t going to cover everything, it can provide major savings for new homeowners when something fails from normal wear and tear, and it will. Some home warranties cover for lack of maintenance, rust, corrosion or sediment in water heaters – all things that might not be found within a home inspection but can cause systems and appliances to fail. This is when you want a home warranty – you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars to replace something when the seller didn’t maintain the system properly. It’s a nice fail-safe.

Mistake #7: Not Factoring In Resale Value

Finally, when you purchase a home, make sure to factor in resale value. Unless you are a millennial who has a lot more money than the rest and can afford to buy your dream home in the first go around, the chances are that you’ll be selling it sooner rather than later. Find something that can build equity (you can get new carpeting, hardwood floors, or granite countertops) and that will also appreciate over time (the neighborhood is up and coming, new shops and restaurants are popping up around it). Ensure that when you buy, the price will go up over time, so you can sell it for a higher profit than the amount you purchased.

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There you have it, seven mistakes you can now combat as you purchase a home for the first time. Use and share these tips to ensure your home-buying experience goes as smoothly as possible!

Featured photo credit: lenetstan/Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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