Why Are So Many Millennials and First-Time Buyers Getting Left Behind?

Millennials represent the largest demographic group of first-time homebuyers,  yet in recent years,  according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), their share of home purchases has dropped to a 30-year low.   Why?

There are many reasons – ranging from rising home prices, flat wages, high student debt – to a very arduous mortgage process.  But, as I talk to millennials,  I find the biggest reason is they are unaware of the opportunities that exist today in the marketplace.

And why is it so important that you own a home?    

As we have seen with aging baby boomers, the home they purchased when they were young has become the most significant retirement asset sustaining them in old age.

Millennials are losing out at a time when it has become even more critical to own -because, unlike their parents’ retirement, fixed pensions are a thing of the past.  Indeed,  the growing inequality we hear so much about is partially driven by millennials’  lack of property ownership.   

Real Estate, purchased with OPM (Other People’s Money, i.e. a bank) and held for the long term,  is the best investment a millennial can make today and is absolutely essential if you are going to have enough money to sustain you in old age.

Getting a mortgage these days is not like what your parents experienced.  You can thank the great sub-prime mortgage meltdown..  But, that was 8 years ago, and while the mortgage process is still tough, many things have changed for the better.  Several programs have been launched in recent years with the first-time homebuyer in mind.

For some reason, millennials are unaware of the opportunities.  What I often hear is,  “I don’t qualify for a mortgage.”  I challenge that statement every time I hear it.  Here is some practical advice to help you prepare for the purchase of your first home:



  • Take advantage of the “Fair Credit Reporting Act.” The three major credit repositories (Experian, Transunion, Equifax) by law must provide consumers with annual credit reports upon request.   Simply google “My free credit report”  
  • Take a look at your credit report.  You may be surprised what you find.  Past credit problems need to be resolved.  Contact the creditors and try to work things out
  • Credit scores:  620 and above is considered “prime.”  If you are below this, you need to work at getting your credit repaired.  There are many ways to do this – get with an expert to show you how.  If you are above 680, then you rule the world
  • Put yourself on a strict savings plan.  Today you can buy a home with minimal cash investment but you still need to establish a savings pattern.  Be careful of making large deposits – you have to account for your cash
  • Pay down your debts the best you can.  Less debt means you can qualify for more and paying down credit cards will improve your credit score
  • Get your tax returns filed as soon as possible.  You will need this to qualify, especially if you earn variable income,  such as commissions.  Be careful not to “write off” too many expenses as this will hurt you in qualifying
  • Avoid taking on any new credit.  Postpone the purchase of that new car (depreciating asset) so you can buy Real Estate (appreciating asset).



  • Purchase a condo with as little as 3% down
  • 100% of the down payment can come from a gift given by a family member
  • If your spouse has terrible credit and can’t go on the loan – we can still use the income as a compensating factor
  • Up to 6% of the closing costs can be paid by the Seller.  This means you can get into a house with almost no cash
  • Have you ever served in the military?  VA loans offer 100% financing
  • No credit score?  Limited credit?  You can build alternative credit with cell phone bills, cable, utilities, car insurance, etc.
  • In certain market areas you may qualify for a 100% USDA loan
  • Manatee County offers down payment assistance programs for the moderate and low-income borrowers with easier qualification parameters.

There are plenty of opportunities for first-time homebuyers.  Don’t miss out on the American dream!  The biggest mistake young people make is that they don’t believe they will ever get old.  You need to get that retirement asset in place sooner than later.  Don’t wait, do it today.  

By Steve Buonanno, Realtor,  Coastline West Realty of Florida

Email: stevebuonanno@aol.com

Phone: 904-599-3890

About Steve:   With over 30 years of residential Real Estate Finance experience, and a licensed Realtor, Steve can help you throughout the entire process from prequalification to home shopping to the closing table.  Committed to excellent personalized service,  Steve can help you achieve the American dream.

Interested in buying or selling a home in the Bradenton, FL area? Call Us Today! (941) 251-4949 • Email: rebeccasamler@gmail.com