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Millennials have gotten a reputation of hopping from apartment rental to apartment rental, but in reality, they make up a large portion of the home-buying industry.

In a survey conducted by Coldwell Banker, one in four couples aged 18-34 are signing deeds for their new homes before they get married.

Although it’s becoming more common, it is no simple task for millennials to afford a home with loans and debts looming over them. If you’re about to dive into the home-buying market, read these tips so that you don’t break the bank.

1. Be A Smart Shopper

In order to know that you are getting a good price for your home, you’ll need to know how it compares to other homes in the area. Hire a licensed real estate agent to help you navigate the market. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) offers a Multiple Listing Service that shows comprehensive real estate data and insights.

You can conduct detailed property searches on your own by going on websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Homegain. These sites will show you the estimated value of different homes in the area. When you are house shopping, consider if the neighborhood will be an advantage when you’re eventually ready to resell. You don’t want the home to be a burden to unload when you’re ready to move on to your next home.

2. Take The Down Payment Seriously

The 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generation Trends Report conducted by the NAR showed that 13% of all buyers pointed to saving for the down payment as the most difficult step in the home buying process.

Young couples tend to save for years before beginning the search for a home. The saving pays off in the long run, as a larger down payment on a house means a shorter duration for your mortgage, lower monthly payments, and a lower interest rate. Typically, buyers put down anywhere from 3% to 20% of the total mortgage cost.

3. Pay Off Your Debts

When you have your finances in order, buying a home will become much easier. Student loans are the most common challenge that millennials face when they want to buy a home. The national student loan debt is $1.48 trillion, and as of 2016, the average student loan debt was $37,172 per graduate. According to the NAR, credit card debt and car loans are tied for second in preventing millennials from affording a down payment.

Paying off as much debt as possible will also improve your credit score, which is essential in getting a good mortgage rate. Purchasing a home will likely be the most expensive purchase you make, and adding it to a mountain of existing debt will only create problems in the future when you face the additional expenses of maintaining that home.

Every millennial who has the dream of owning a home deserves the ability to afford that dream, and they can. By taking time to pay down existing loans and with careful planning for the most affordable home, any millennial can settle into the home of their dreams.

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