This Site Helps Millennials Buy Homes

Photo: Getty Images.
We recently learned that most millennials dream of owning multiple homes during their lifetimes, according to a report from Bank of America. "Older" millennials (those between ages 25 and 34) are planning ahead financially for those homes; 40% have started saving for a down payment. On top of that, one-third of millennials are already homeowners. So much for that whole "living in the parents' basement" stereotype.
Aiming to cater to millennial home buyers, Zillow Group just launched a new website called RealEstate.com, which differs from its competitors, such as Trulia and Redfin, in two major ways: 1. You can search for homes by the "all-in" price, which includes not just the "sticker cost," but also utilities, taxes, HOAs, property taxes, and all those other fees you may not think of right away. 2. It's the first big real estate website to translate listings to Spanish and Chinese, with more languages to be rolled out soon.
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"There's this age-old lore that millennials don't want to buy things," Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow Group Chief Marketing Officer, tells Refinery29. "[But] folks are buying homes for many of the same reasons their parents did — homeownership is a reflection of themselves and, for them, fundamental to the American Dream." According to 2016's Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, millennials actually make up more than half of all home buyers today and 56% of first-time home buyers.
Here's what the website looked like for me when I searched for homes in Washington, D.C.'s Adams Morgan neighborhood and clicked on a listing: Note the all-in monthly pricing feature.
Screenshot.
Here's what the website looks like translated to Spanish.
Screenshot courtesy of Zillow.
What should first-time homebuyers watch out for? Wacksman said that newbies are far more likely to go over budget than repeat buyers (about 40% to 25%), not understanding all the costs and the competitiveness of the market. He also noted that affordability is a top driver in choosing a home, even more so than living in a safe neighborhood.
When it comes to what types of homes millennials are buying, Wacksman noted that the tiny-home trend — while fascinating — is a bit overblown. Millennials, in general, are buying pretty normal homes rather than small "starter homes," he said. They're spending more on homes than Baby Boomers and just 11% less than Generation X.
Currently the website is only available in browser mode, but Zillow eventually plans to roll out an app version. (Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin all have apps.) We're crossing our fingers for that one, since we only really browse through home listings on those long subway rides.
Screenshot courtesy of Zillow.
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