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Millennials have gained a reputation as long-term renters; with countless articles littering the Internet claiming that their resistance to commitment is ruining the housing market, the reality is a bit more nuanced. While it is true that many are concerned and unsure of the decision to sink all of their money into a building that they are fully responsible for (especially considering pensions are non-existent these days), the simple fact of the matter is that millennials still made up around 33% of all home buyers in 2017.

The old adage continues to ring true, even for those emerging into adulthood who want to own a home but are worried about all the unknowns: knowledge is power. While the key here is research, there is a lot out there to learn, so we’re going to break down some of the best ways you can reduce the stress of home ownership before you commit to a mortgage.

  1. Shop around. Once you have a tentative budget in mind, shopping becomes the easiest and most fun aspect of the process. Compile a list of your Must-Haves, but keep it reasonable; everybody would love to have a hot tub and heated bathroom floors, but those are (usually) impossible to find within an achievable budget — and be sure to stick to that budget. Remember: don’t rush the process. A house is the biggest financial investment you will ever make, so take your time until you find a place that is just right — you don’t want to regret your decision so soon after making it.
  2. Request a pest control service. Ensuring your home is pest-free is an extremely beneficial forward-thinking act. Most purchase agreements include a mandatory health inspection (called an inspection contingency) to check the condition of electrical, finish, plumbing, structural, and ventilation elements. Since termites are one of the main risks to a home — and 94% of new homes are built with wooden frames — guaranteeing their absence can save you a lot of money and trouble down the line.
  3. Look for metal roofing. Although metal roofing may bump the asking price up, it is well worth the cost. Metal roofs are extremely lightweight, require no seasonal maintenance, are generally backed by a 20 to 50-year warranty, and — for the environmentally conscious — are usually comprised of a minimum of 25% recycled materials. While your neighbors struggle with snow, leaks, and damage that requires expensive repairs (or entire replacements) you’ll be sitting pretty with the same roof for half a century.
  4. Attend home trade shows. Trade shows may seem like a boring way to spend an afternoon, but they can really make a difference when it comes to the quality of life in your new home. Being advertised to through television is impersonal and allows consumers to easily lose interest, but physically being in front of the product, whether it’s double-pane windows, tiles and fixtures, or bathtubs and showers, forces you to engage with and pay attention to it; it’s unsurprising that 93% of consumers state live events as being more impactful. Additionally, you have an expert on hand to answer any questions you may have. Whether you use the information to search for these features in prospective homes, or simply note them as money-saving updates to be had in the future, trade shows are well worth the time.

Owning a home is chock full of responsibilities, but taking your time to learn as much as you can before making that big purchase can help you avoid and prevent a few of them. Your home is supposed an area you feel safe, happy, and comfortable; don’t rush the buying process or you’ll risk buying the exact opposite.

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