To many, the stress of managing the home buying process can seem overwhelming. This is especially true for first time homebuyers. A 2017 survey from the National Association of Realtors revealed that first time homebuyers made up more than 35 percent of all buyers in 2016, and millennials, who comprised almost a quarter (23 percent) of first time homebuyers, often face additional challenges with college loan debt and supporting growing families.
But, according to PNC regional mortgage manager Staci Titsworth, millennials should consider a number of financial and personal advantages for owning a home, which could make going through the process worthwhile.
Financial benefits of owning a home may include the ability to deduct mortgage interest payments, private mortgage insurance, points, some closing costs and property taxes, in addition to the consideration that a home may appreciate in value, making it a worthwhile investment.
“Considering the overall investment, it may be more feasible to buy a home than to rent when you take the complete financial picture into account," said Titsworth. “Often, a mortgage payment is less than a monthly rent payment, and there are several attractive first-time homebuyer programs available.”
Those programs for first-time buyers may include offers of smaller down payment options, reduced interest rates, lower closing costs or sometimes a combination of the three, which may make that first purchase a little easier to navigate.
“Beyond thinking of monthly payments alone, consumers should consider the quality of life aspect and longer-term investment of owning home because they often appreciate in value,” said Titsworth. “Being a homeowner means having the freedom to enhance your property and tailor it to your family's wants and needs. That’s when it becomes a home and not just a place to live."
To reduce the stress of managing the home buying process PNC offers help through a first-of-its kind, multi-faceted online tool, PNC Home Insight.
The first step in home buying is knowing what you can afford, and Home Insight’s Planner tool drives that knowledge by allowing individuals to input their personal financial information including income, savings and other financial obligations.
Once a customer inputs their financial information, Planner helps them find an affordable target monthly payment that works within their budget. Once they know their target payment, they can search for homes and see which ones work within their range, also taking into consideration real time rates.
Planner’s home search function includes more than the estimated monthly mortgage payment. It also factors in property taxes, condo fees if applicable and even estimates maintenance costs to give a truer picture of what it costs to own a home.
”The key differentiator here is that Home Insight Planner offers the budget and search tools all in one place. Often customers need to use different calculators and sites to manage these two functions. We’re saving them time in their busy lives by allowing potential buyers to search for homes that fit their criteria and help them to find the type of home they want and can afford,” Titsworth said.
Titsworth compares the home buying process to a triangle that includes the customer, loan officer and real estate agent.
“It’s very important for these three parties to work together seamlessly,” said Titsworth. “First-time buyers are especially eager strong communication throughout the process. Home Insight helps to connect the triad and gives them the tools to make that happen.”
Home Insight provides a timeline, from application to closing. The customer receives regular email updates on the status of their loan process and also key milestones throughout the process.
"Home Insight gives home buyers a sense of control, with convenient information at their fingertips,” Titsworth said. “This is a generation that relies heavily on technology. We're finding more and more that this generation does their research at any hour of the day and night, and Planner gives them the tools they need to search on their own terms.”
PNC Home Insight lets you set your budget, search for homes and save your favorites »
Millennials are generally more mobile and adventurous than older generations. Right now, we see millennials moving into cities. Older buildings are being converted to condos or townhouses and in many cities can often be a great opportunity for renters to consider becoming owners.
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