House Shopping with a Millennial

lmost everything I read about millennials includes something about their general reluctance to do what everyone coming before them has done. They are slow to get married. They are not crazy about car ownership. They aren't interested in buying a house.

Yet, while I’m not arguing with the statistics, I will note that there are always exceptions. For example, there’s my younger son, William. At the age of 27, he will close on his first house on the 31st of this month. (And while marriage does not seem eminent, he does own a car. And a truck.)

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So, what did we learn as we shopped the listings with this wonderful guy, looking for something sound, yet affordable, in a neighborhood he found appealing?

Sound, affordable and close-in?

Pick any two. Or be prepared to look for as long as it takes – it could be quite a while – and jump on something good the minute you see it. We knew all this of course, and likely you did too, but it always helps to have reality reinforced.

Don’t be afraid of the edges.

Edge neighborhoods are the ones that are “coming next.” Informed realtors know about them and can steer a client to relative bargains. But the buyer needs to be prepared for non-picture-perfect streets, occasionally odd-ball neighbors, and exercising patience as values increase. Fortunately, this is exactly what William was looking for.

Interested and engaged is good, but …

After a period of serious deliberation about the idea of buying a house – very millennial of him – William jumped in with both feet. He was totally engaged, constantly looking on line, sometimes finding listings before we did. Great! We love that! And he made himself available to go looking whenever something interesting popped up. Also great!

But William was so into it, that he was ready to make an offer on three of the first ten houses he saw, and that was a little unnerving. Even in a market as fast as this one, it pays to have a little perspective gained by looking around for a while. On the fourth house he liked, we saw a solid deal and went for it, beating out another offer on the day of the deadline.

Success! Everyone is happy, and on August 31, William Paine joins the ranks of American homeowners.