In the Market: Useful money habits for millennials

Nneka Madus
Posted by Nneka Madus
Mortgage Market Analyst

This weekly feature is a real estate information roundup from a millennial’s point of view. When a young professional moves from Indianapolis (median home price $125K) to San Francisco (median price $1 million), you can expect an adventure. Nneka Madus, an analyst in Bank of the West’s Mortgage Division, did just that and has plenty to share in her quest to own a home in San Francisco.

Nneka Madus with her mother.

I got a head start saving for a down payment without even realizing it! When I decided that I was going to pursue business school, I moved back into my mom’s house to save money. Living at home had its challenges — I was still my mom’s baby and being questioned about things like staying out late — but my savings really did grow. It turns out, my story isn’t unique to those in my generation. Samantha Raphelson from NPR does a fantastic job covering this new dynamic of kids moving back home. It may not be the ideal situation, but for kids that move home, saving money now may really help create financial security in the future.

Going by much of the news, it appears millennials are getting everything wrong. We are portrayed as slackers, narcissistic, and pretty much the reason why the housing market isn’t booming (I beg to differ). Here’s an encouraging view: Kimberly Palmer’s recent article featured in U.S. News & World Report highlights six smart financial strategies that our generation is employing. I can confidently say that I do three of the six consistently. I never pay full price for anything, for example, thanks to Amazon and coupon sites like RetailMeNot.com. Using these financial strategies now may help you prepare for long-term goals, including homeownership.

Some millennials shun credit; others haven’t been around long enough to have a credit history that is broad enough to qualify for a mortgage. So what is a couple to do when they get married and decide to buy a home, but they have thin credit histories? Don Taylor, a personal finance adviser from Bankrate.com, offers tips to one couple tackling this issue millennials and other first-time homebuyers may face.

Buyer’s remorse is common in everyday purchases — for example, I just bought this fuchsia striped shirt on sale (aka non-returnable) and realized when I got home that the shirt didn’t go with the cognac-colored pumps that I wanted to wear out that night. No biggie, it’s just a shirt (I found something better to wear anyway). But for home buyers, remorse can have a much more significant impact — financially, emotionally, even physically. Les Christie from CNNMoney reports that 80% of homebuyers recently surveyed had at least one regret. He explains that many of these issues may have been avoided. If you’re married or moving in with a significant other, house hunting becomes doubly complicated by balancing two people’s needs and wants. One tip? Know your give-in points.

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