Home Buying Millennial Style
If you didn’t know already, my husband and I are considering purchasing a home.
I know that there are millennials who own homes, but there aren’t very many millennials selling them or working in real estate, so here’s what we (specifically the K-couple) do or don’t do.
When we told relatives that we were looking at homes for sale, along with the supportive and other standard comments, we heard, “We remember house-hunting. We drove around on the weekends taking notes and calling realtors.”
We never would have considered driving around… at least to start.
We use apps. Actually we usually only use Zillow (also zillow.com), which aggregates real estate listings from many sources and allows us to search for homes using the criteria that we want.
We don’t look if there aren’t pictures. When we’re carrying around phones that can take high definition video and store thousands of pictures, there’s absolutely no reason that a house should be listed for sale without at least a few photos. Pictures give us a sense of the space, layout and potential problems with the house. Even if a house is outrageously decorated (we nicknamed a house the Color Block), the picture still help us understand the house and we know that we can always redecorate.
We do our research. We don’t stop reading at just the listing (and we read that entirely). We look up flood information, crime rates, neighboring home values, our commutes to work, etc. In a connected, online world, we can do a ton of research without leaving the couch. When we were shopping for cars, Brad ended up telling the salesmen things about the cars because he’d researched them.
We actually do get in the car. After the search, the research and discussion, we’ll get in the car and go see the house without setting up a showing. We see the neighborhood, we see whether the house is sitting empty, we see the external condition, we see the yard and we see if the listing lied to us. Listing a house as a single family home when it actually shares walls and a front porch with the neighbor is a big no no.
We like open houses. At this point in our process, we’re more likely to see a house that may not top our list if there’s an open house. We want to walk through a house with less pressure than if a realtor had to drive out and open up the house for us. Updating websites is fast and easy, so we double check that the open house is still happening before we head out. It’s frustrating when an open house is canceled but the website doesn’t say so.
Contacting the realtor is the last thing we do. If we are really interested in a place, we’ll submit the “I’m interested” message through the Zillow app if we can. Otherwise, we’ll call. It should go without saying but I’ll say it anyway, when you’re selling anything and a customer contacts you with interest, it’s important to be responsive. We sent an “I’m interested” message and received an email from the realtor telling us to call him. Brad called and left a message. One whole week passed and we had yet to hear back. If the house is sold, it’s sold, so call us back and tell us that. If it’s available, don’t you want to sell it? Don’t waste our time.
The only way to get your dream home is to have the budget enough to custom-build it. We aren’t expecting to find a dream house, we’re expecting that we will love one of the many, many houses that we’ve looked at and that there is at least one house out there that will have what we’re looking for.
What is/was your home buying story?