An article by Tracey Barbour for the Alaska Business Monthly (Younger buyers partial to homeownership, home-buyer education, online resources: akbizmag.com; September 2017) describes the growing phenomenon of millennial homeownership. Not surprisingly, many millennial home buyers are taking advantage of home buyer assistance programs. Because millennials grew up with the internet, you might think that they would rely less on professionals when home buying. But the opposite seems to be true.
A majority of millennials prefer to connect with a single point-of-contact when applying for a mortgage (and likely when dealing with real estate agents). However, millennials do rely on the internet when it comes to understanding the home buying process. They spend copious amounts of time doing their own research.
It’s not just millennials, but most home buyers are taking advantage of online and digital resources to learn about the home buying process. Maybe it’s because we live in an era of information overload that home buyers are more aware of the many factors that need to be considered before buying a home. Regardless, the abundance of “home buying process” resources are helping home buyers decide if they are suited to buy a home, assisting with financial planning of buying a home, finding down payment assistance, mortgage application information and so much more.
It used to be that if you were a first-time home buyer, you relied heavily on your real estate agent for the education of the home buying process. You placed a great deal of trust on their guidance. The home buying process was envisioned as a step-by-step formula to purchasing a house. The purpose of explaining home buying as a process was to reduce the major aspects of home buying into distinct parts and make it seem simple and trouble-free.
Today, the standard “home buying process” as explained by real estate agents seems nebulous and lacking detail. Maybe even a little pedestrian. Maybe it’s because real estate agents tried to make their job easy and have control, but the word “process” incorrectly suggests that there is an exact order that is “one size fits all.” However, the home buying process is more aptly described by adapting the “timey-wimey” quote of the 2007 episode of Dr. Who (Blink) to say “People assume that home buying is a strict progression of cause to effect, but it is more like a big ball of home buying stuff.”
Moreover, all home buyers are different. Not just in their preferences, but also in their needs and expectations. And thus, home buyers will experience the process differently. One thing I can confirm from eighteen years of listing and selling homes is that all transactions are different.
But don’t discount the value of the traditional “home buying process” meme. Consider it a framework of mini-processes that are critical to buying a home. Each mini-process will be proceeding at its own pace parallel to other processes.
Choose your buyer agent well. The role of your buyer agent should go beyond helping you visit homes and writing an offer. Your agent should be there every step of the way to settlement helping you maneuver through the “big ball of home buying stuff.”
When going through the home buying process you can encounter pitfalls and setbacks that are time consuming and emotionally draining. Your agent should be able to offer guidance on coping and resolving any potential issues.
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Success in Potomac, MD. You can access more information at DanKrell.com