THE BASIS POINT

‘No Ragrets’ for millennial homebuyers? Not a single letter?

My fellow Youngs are still lining up to buy into the American Dream—we’ve got the most first-time buyers in the market now than since two years before the crisis in 2006—but many of us are second guessing.

Even though home buyers have had a tough time in the past few years, there’s still a steady majority of first-time homebuyers as millennials get deeper into #adulting—the oldest of us will be 39 this year.

However, many ahead of me are having a tough time with the reality of home ownership.

New data from Bankrate says that while nearly 60% of all homeowners don’t regret buying a home, 63% of millennial homeowners do have regrets. Here are all homebuyer regrets from Bankrate’s survey down to the letter:

– Maintenance is more expensive than you thought

– Bought too small of a house

– Bought in a bad location

– You think your mortgage is too expensive

– You think you didn’t get best mortgage rate

– Bought too big of a house

These results look less like regret to me. They look more like indecision and finding one’s financial self.

I think this indecision is because we’re not preparing millennials and Gen Z properly for homeownership. I ran this theory by Julian and he noted that since the crisis, lenders and banks have overwhelmingly focused on two things:

(1) regulatory compliance, which has nothing to do with homebuyer education, and

(2) upgrading lending technology to younger generation’s expectations, which also has nothing to do with homebuyer education.

Yet.

We Youngs expect this Uber-like technology experience with everything we do, so lenders have placed all their innovation emphasis there.

Now they’re meeting our need for an easier process of buying and financing, but the next phase lenders, banks, and real estate companies must push is making it easier to own a home.

This is all about education.

All lenders talk about is making the process easy for the tech-savvy Youngs, but ironically the tech-savvy customer needs way more hand holding than anyone has realized, and these regret stats above prove this.

All of these “regrets” have little to do with real regret. They have to do with expectations and education.

Ideally you need a “digital local” lender who can do the eduction for you, but also has slick technology—and the good news is this combo is easy to find now as more local lenders are adopting cool software.

These local pros explain and humanize the fact that, even after you saved up all this money for a down payment, your water heater or dishwasher could break and you need to be ready for that—and by the way, there are home warranty plans that are cheap that you can negotiate your seller to pay for to cover stuff like this.

Or great local pros explain to you how rates move all the time, and if rates drop after you close on your home purchase, there are ways to deal with that to keep you in the market.

These are things a digital-only home buying process tends to gloss over.

Yeah, we millennials complain a lot, but it’s for good reason!

If you sell us a white picket fence, you gotta tell us we have to paint it ourselves. That way we’ll have No Ragrets and can get back to worrying about important things like what tatt we’re going to get to celebrate the birth of our first kid.

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Reference:

Nearly two-thirds of millennial homeowners have regrets about their purchase, survey finds (Bankrate)

First-time Homebuyer Market Report (Genworth)

61 Percent of First-time Buyers Made a Low Downpayment in November 2017 (NAR)