June is National Home Ownership Month: Are You Ready to Buy?
As the home building industry celebrates National Homeownership Month in June, new data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reveal that starting in 2019, a majority of senior (56 percent) and millennial (50 percent) buyers have moved beyond planning to purchase a home to actually starting the search process.
The NAHB Housing Trends Report reveals that millennials expect house hunting to become easier in the months ahead. The data dispel the misconception that millennials view home buying as a burdensome process. The national homeownership rate is on an upward trend, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of U.S. households increased to 122.3 million in the first quarter of 2019, 1.5 million higher than a year ago.
The benefits of homeownership are numerous. For many, owning a home is a positive step in creating a source of net worth. Home equity, the difference between the market value of your home and the mortgage debt you owe on it, for U.S. home owners has risen this year. Building equity when the value of your home appreciates is one of the significant long-term financial benefits of homeownership.
Starting Your Home-Buying Process
Purchasing a home can be a daunting experience without research and planning. The first step is qualifying for a mortgage and saving up for a downpayment. To help aid in the process, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) — offer mortgage programs for first-time home buyers. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also offers free home-buying seminars.
Financing Your New Home
An important step in financing your home is selecting a lender and getting pre-approved for a loan. Some home builders offer financial incentives or can arrange favorable financing for their customers. When you know how much money you can borrow, this can help determine the price range that works for you. Lining up your financing will allow you to move quick if you are bidding on a house that has several interested buyers.
Prioritizing Home Features
Before starting your house hunt, it is important to outline the home features that matter the most to you and your family. Talk to the members of your household and make a list of the top preferences in your home. You should also discuss the size and floor plan that best fits the needs of your household. Another discussion point is the type of home that is suitable, such as a single-family home or condominium.
Starting Your Home Search
Once you have your financing lined up and know what type of home and features you want, you can begin your house hunt. You can start with a builder to buy a new home or find a real-estate agent to purchase an existing home. Websites such as Realtor.com, Redfin.com and Trulia.com have comprehensive lists of homes for sale with photos, maps and neighborhood features.