First-time homebuyers are discouraged by high home prices, higher interest rates and continuing inflation. According to the National Association of REALTORS, by mid-2022, first-timers made up only 26% of all homebuyers, the lowest number in 41 years. The age of first-timers rose from 33 to 36, an all-time high, while their median household income slipped to $71,000 from $86,000 year-over-year.
To help you get into a home of your own and start building equity, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professionals provide the following advice to first-timers:
- Get educated. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae offer no-cost learning modules that help first-timers qualify for some loans, pay lower down payments, qualify to buy with lower income or lower credit, get help with closing costs or down payment assistance, and more.
- Get into the market. You can’t build equity if you don’t own a home, so it’s better to purchase something now even if it isn’t your forever home. There will always be a market for starter homes, so you would do well to buy a smaller, older home in a less expensive location. The most first-timers ever recorded purchased homes in small towns (29%) and rural areas (19%).
- Get comfortable with compromises. Your first home doesn’t need to be your dream home, so choose the one you can live with for the next five years or so, to make up closing costs, transaction fees, etc. You can always improve the features and condition of your home later on.