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6 tips for millennial homebuyers from realtors across the country

Millennials as a whole accounted for 37 percent of all buyers last year, making them the most active generation of buyers for the sixth consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors' 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. (iStock)

(NEW YORK) — When it comes to home buying, millennials rule the game.

Millennials as a whole accounted for 37 percent of all buyers last year, making them the most active generation of buyers for the sixth consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study.

Many millennials are first-time homebuyers, learning to navigate the world of loans, mortgages and interest rates. Millennials also bring to the real estate table considerations that generations before them have not faced in such depth, like student debt.

With their specific needs, millennials need specific advice. ABC News’ Good Morning America asked realtors across the country for their top tips for millennial buyers.

Here is their advice in their own words:

Tip #1: Get your finances in order before you shop

I often tell clients that the easiest part is finding the property, the biggest (and in my opinion the first) piece of the puzzle is one’s finances and determining which type of financing they should take advantage of so that they are in the best position to go out and “shop.” This goes for a buyer of any age, but especially a younger buyer who might not have a significant financial history and therefore need to explore unique lending opportunities.

Talk to your realtor and ask them for a lender (or two) they’d recommend you chat with. Another thing to keep in mind, is that going in to the bank that you use is not often the best option. Larger banks have more restrictive guidelines that might not allow a buyer to find the best financing option as well as be competitive in the market.

It’s never too early to talk to a lender especially if you think you have some financial messiness you need to fix. They can help you get a game plan together.

— Danai Mattison Sky, sales manager, Long and Foster Realty, Washington D.C.

Tip #2: Don’t settle

The first home you look at may be “The One”, or it may be the 10th home. If you don’t have a good feeling before buying a house, that feeling will still be there after you buy the house, so trust your instincts and don’t settle!

— Ashley Christie, realtor and broker associate, GRI, Tampa, Florida

Tip #3: Think long-term

A hip condo downtown may seem like a great place to establish your first permanent residence, but consider how that investment looks in five years. Where will your career take you? What appreciation does the area have?

If a single-family home is too daunting, consider an attached duplex or town home with a smaller lot size. You will have a broader pool of buyers in the future and the equity gain often exceeds that of a high-rise building.

— Heather Heuer, Denver Metro Association of REALTORS Chair-Elect, Denver, Colorado

Tip #4: Don’t assume that you cannot buy

The sooner you buy a home the closer you are to financial freedom. Once you buy property you stop paying someone else’s mortgage and you start paying your own.

However, make sure that you first get preapproved and talk to a good local lender to understand how much you can buy and what the costs will be to buy. Talking to a lender may show you that you need to improve you’re credit a bit or pay off a few more student loans but the sooner you know the sooner you can be ready to get into a home.

— Bill Head, MetroTex Association of REALTORS, Dallas, Texas

Tip #5: Determine your ‘must haves’

Buyers in their early 30s tend to be more established in life. I encourage these buyers to give me a list of what is a must have vs a want in their future home. We reference this list often throughout the buying process and will even sometimes make changes to the initial list after we have seen a house or two.

This list is imperative especially if a husband and wife have different wants or needs. Lastly, this also gives them peace of mind that they really have found the “perfect” house when making an offer because the house will typically check off all the boxes on their wish list.

— Marie A. Gregorio, realtor, Century 21, Tampa, Florida

Tip #6: Ask a lot of questions

Ask a lot of questions of your realtor. There really should be no question to big or small to ask, whether its strategizing about a putting together a competitive offer or identifying an inspector or lender or anything else. Consulting them is a good complement to your own research.

— Thomas P. Daley, realtor and broker, Washington, D.C.

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