A recent survey found that just 13% of millennials feel knowledgeable about the homebuying process (REALTORS, 2019). The good news for the rest of the 87% is that many resources are available to help get up-to-speed and informed about the process – and to learn that it all might be simpler than you think. Beyond the stories and experiences shared by your families and friends, here are three more simple ways to grow your knowledge of the homebuying process.
1. Local housing agencies and nonprofits
A good place to start is with your local homebuyer agencies, many of which offer free online and classroom workshops for people new to homebuying. Each of these partners has training available to teach homebuyers about home inspections, lending options, the purchasing process and even budgeting.
Many of these agencies offer incentives or programs for qualifying homebuyers, so you might find yourself walking out of training with some additional dollars toward your purchase.
I recommend these key resources regionally:
- Minnesota Housing and Finance Agency (MHFA)
- Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Agency
- North Dakota Housing Agency
- Habitat for Humanity
Another great resource is the Framework Online Homebuyer Course. For a small fee, this course from the Housing Partnership Network and Minnesota Homeownership Center is a HUD-approved resource for homebuyer education.
2. New media sources
A variety of impartial podcasts and even YouTube series are available, often for free. I really like the “How to Buy a House” podcast series from National Public Radio.
This series was just launched a few months ago, and includes helpful tips related to everything from mortgage loans to the basic steps of the homebuying process. It’s all in relatable language that is easy to digest.
After you’re up to speed on the basics, you might also check out the “Real Estate Today” podcast from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Forbes lists this as a top podcast for buying or selling a home, and there are even several episodes devoted solely to millennials as they enter their homebuying years.
3. The experts
Real estate agents and mortgage lenders work in the trenches of homebuying on a daily basis, and have seen ups, downs, pitfalls and successes. Engage these subject matter experts early and often as you seek to gain knowledge of the homebuying process.
Ask your mortgage lender for a referral to a professional real estate agent who can educate you on the process. You can also post on social media to your friends and colleagues to get recommendations. Simply put out there: “Do you have a good real estate agent who you would recommend,” and you’ll likely get many responses from satisfied homebuyer friends. Spend some time calling these referrals and finding one who seems like a good match for your style and needs.
If you still need to find a mortgage lender, you can search for mortgage bankers on our Find a Banker page by filtering the search for the mortgage specialty. I usually tell homebuyers to not be afraid to meet with more than one mortgage lender to make sure you’re working with someone who feels like a trusted confidante.
And finally, visit our Homebuyer Resource Center. You can find everything from a downloadable homebuyer’s guide, to more information about the mortgage process.