Just getting started or starting to slow down, there's a mortgage strategy that's right for you.
Buying a home is stressful, no matter who you are or how excited you happen to be about it. There's the inspection, the appraisal, and the mountains of paperwork for underwriting. And then you have to pack and move! But depending on your age group, you probably have a set of circumstances that make your situation a little different from others around you.
Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers face different hurdles in securing a mortgage, but they can be overcome with a good bit of planning well in advance. Here's what you need to know about buying a home at any age.
Millennials: The Newest Home Buyers on the Block
Millennials have been thought of as kids for quite some time, but many of the kids have officially grown up. This generation, born between 1980 and 2000, has some members well into their 30s now. The younger edge of millennials might not think about buying a house for a while yet, but many on the other end of the spectrum are more than ready.
The biggest issue facing Millennials is cash. According to Main St., rents have skyrocketed but wages really haven't improved much. Having spent the earliest part of their working years surviving the recession, there's a shortage of dollars. But dollars are what you need to close on a mortgage.
People in this age group have a couple of options. Either save up the traditional 20 percent down, which will likely take a while, or opt for a low-money-down loan and pay more for it.
With 20 percent down, buyers avoid PMI or mortgage insurance, which is required by most lenders as security in case of loan default. But without it, many buyers can still get financing, just with more expensive terms. There will be PMI, and the interest rate might also be a bit higher than it would for someone with a larger down payment.
Generation X: Settled in but Living Larger
People in Generation X are well along in their careers and are earning much better than a decade ago. Many have growing families, and have likely owned at least one house already.
If they were home owners during the recession, property value might have taken a hit. Market Watch explains that it's been much more difficult for this generation to get established. But with the improving real estate market, selling an existing home might be easier than it was a few years ago.
Generation Xers can also be cash poor, but for different reasons. There's likely an existing mortgage or high-dollar rent. Credit cards, vehicle loan payments, and maybe saving for retirement and college for the kids also take a chunk out of the old paycheck. A lot of cash flows out from people born between 1964 and 1980.
For this group of home buyers, there's the same quandary but with a bit more in the way of options. A low-down payment loan that costs more in the long run means a huge down payment isn't mandatory. But if there is an existing home to sell, the profits can roll toward the down payment, taking some of the sting out of home buying.
For Baby Boomers, a whole new phase of life is just getting started.
Baby Boomers: Scaling Back and Loving It
The Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, is very diverse. Some are full-steam-ahead in their careers, being in their late 50s. Some are enjoying a career pace that's beginning to relax, and some are already retired. Not every Baby Boomer is ready to scale back, but for many, it's already in the plan.
For this generation, retirement is either here or it's on its way in a few years. Some people choose to downsize at retirement, once the kids are grown and living on less money becomes a reality. But many want to age in place, says USA Today.
On the plus side, Baby Boomers often have considerable equity in their homes. Selling could bring a tidy sum, which could take a major chunk out of the asking price for smaller digs.
For people who don't want to move but do want a more comfortable lifestyle with less money flowing out, a reverse mortgage might be the answer. There are a lot of pros and cons to this approach, so it's wise to talk through all of it with a mortgage adviser or financial planner.
Home ownership is still the American dream for a lot of people, whether they're just getting started in life or they're starting to ease off the throttle and coast. But with so many options, nearly anyone in a reasonably sound financial situation with good credit can get a mortgage or make an existing home a lot more comfortable.
Millennials who want to get out of the renting cycle must decide between waiting longer and saving up, or taking the plunge along with higher costs. Both choices have their advantages. Paying more for a mortgage could yield benefits in the long run as opposed to renting. Generation X folks are short on cash too, but an existing home offers some financial leverage. Sell, and you'll have cash toward the next down payment.
As for the Baby Boomer generation, there are plenty of advantages. A home with a lot of equity could take a significant chunk out of the price for a new, smaller one. Or with a reverse mortgage, staying put could be profitable.
Eppraisal is a veritable clearinghouse of information for buying and selling homes. Check out our mortgage articles and learn more about the options that are available to you.