First house blues: Are 20-somethings ready to buy their first home?
"No one ever says the cost of a home is more than a mortgage," he says.
Patrick Ruffner, national relocation manager for Guaranteed Rate in Chicago, says in an email that homeowners often consider their future mortgage payment. "But there are many costs of homeownership a buyer must take into consideration in addition to the mortgage," he says. "These include annual property taxes, homeowner's insurance, utilities and upkeep of the home."
Natali says his first home's water heater went out that first year. "I had no idea how much they cost," he says.
So he says people should not take the highest mortgage amount they qualify for as their purchasing target but to shoot lower to give some financial room to maneuver.
Striegnitz was able to put 20 percent down on her home for two reasons. One, her parents helped pay for her education, allowing her to graduate from college without a lot of student debt. John P. Evans, a sales associate at Gloria Nilson & Co. Real Estate in Pt. Pleasant Beach, N.J., says in an email that student loan debt is causing some 20-somethings to delay buying a home. "Not just the monthly payments but many have defaulted and hurt their credit," he says, "so they are taking longer in making the decision to buy a home until they get themselves to a better position financially."
The other reason Striegnitz had the money for the down payment is she saved for it.
"I saved religiously ever since I was a kid," she says.
When she got her first job out of college, she lived as if she were still tight on money and put the rest away. This enabled her to have a low payment — and now that she has purchased a second home, having put down 20 percent on the first home enables her now to rent it out at a good profit.
Another thing to consider is stability. Ruffner says people shouldn't buy a home if they are planning on moving within two to three years. "If your company has a history of relocating people," he says, "or you plan to make a change in location in the near future, buying may not be your best option."
Lalli says uncertainty is part of being in your 20s. "When you are older you have a little clearer vision of how the future looks and how long you will be somewhere," he says.
In their 20s, people may have the uncertainty of possible marriage, whether or not they will have children and how will their career shape up. The older a person gets, the more factors they have to consider, Lalli says.
Debra Kroon, a Realtor with Yosemite West Real Estate in Oakhurst, Calif., says buying a home creates stability. "Nothing gives one a sense of independence and security quite like buying a home," she says in an email.
"The home could be seen as permanent," she says, "but could be only for 10 years. Or is this a stepping stone toward a different home following a major life event?"
Natali says homeownership is still a token of the American Dream for most people — but that from the 20-somethings he interacts with, they don't think of homes primarily as a status symbol. "They are a pretty practical generation," he says.