Samara Behler holds up keys to a first time home buyer's home in Spokane, WA

The 6-Point Millennial (and Gen Z!) Prep Plan to Spokane Home Buying

Are you a Millennial or Gen Zer contemplating homeownership in Spokane, Washington? Congratulations on taking steps towards owning your own space in one of the Pacific Northwest's most delightful cities!  But, where to begin? The economic landscape of buying a home today is quite different than it was for our parents. Below, I’ll outline a few challenges that younger generations face, as well as give you a straightforward list of items to consider or have in place before beginning your Spokane home search.

Millennial and Gen Z Barriers to Home Ownership

Let’s face it, there are hurdles in homeownership that are unique to our younger generation. We aren’t just spending our days photographing our pets, eating avocado toast and contemplating “Gen Z Decor” - we have goals!  Thanks to increased purchases during the lowered interest rates during the pandemic, 52% of millennials currently own homes but that still leaves nearly half of us still on the road to ownership.  Our generation has been pinched by increased housing costs. Amplified by stagnant wage growth and hefty student loan debt make savings goals harder to reach. Younger generations also have delayed life milestones therefore many are buying on one income, not two. Many may feel homeownership is unattainable. I’m here to tell you that home ownership is attainable. 

Educating yourself, being frank about finances, and identifying your goals and priorities early on offer hope amidst the challenges, as our younger generations persist in navigating the complexities of entering the housing market.

Let’s jump into my list of items to check off before beginning your home search.

Educate Yourself on Spokane and Washington Home Buying

1. Get to know Spokane.

If you’ve lived in Spokane your whole life, you might already know what neighborhoods you prefer or what might work best within your budget. If you’re new to town, working with an experienced local realtor can help you understand the perks of different areas in Spokane, but you can educate yourself as well! I encourage clients to spend time in a potential neighborhood walking or checking out neighborhood shops and parks, paying attention to neighborhood vibes to make sure it feels like a good fit for you. 

New to town? Visit my Spokane Neighborhoods page to learn more about some of the new and historic neighborhoods that make Spokane so lovely or check out my recent blog features on some Spokane Neighborhoods:

2. Go back to (home buying) school.

It’s time to go back to school. Start educating yourself in two different ways; what does buying a home look like and educate yourself on Spokane!  The WA State Housing Finance Commission offers home buying classes for $50 that are available online or in person. If you feel completely out of the loop on what the process looks like, this is a great resource.

Home ownership is attainable for Millennial and Gen Z clients. And, we're not just talkin' tiny homes. ;)

Assess Your Financial Readiness (the smart way): 

3. Evaluate your financial situation.

This includes your credit score, income, and savings. Use online resources and consult with financial experts to understand how much you can afford and what mortgage options are available to you. This free annual credit reporting tool can be a helpful resource when you’re getting started. If you’re not ready to buy just yet, knowing where you stand financially is the first step in creating a plan to be able to purchase in one, two or five years. 

4. Explore homeownership assistance programs.

Down payments can be a barrier for first-time homeowners.  Government-backed programs and incentives for first-time homebuyers can help. The WA State Housing Finance Commission has programs that may be able to help you. These programs offer down payment assistance or favorable loan terms, making homeownership more accessible. 

Insider tip: Having a realtor by your side even early on can help you navigate these tools and resources. And, quality realtors have insider knowledge to make the process smoother. For example, I recommend all clients opt-out of credit bureau call lists to minimize unwanted calls and offers. This can help protect your privacy and reduce distractions during the home buying process.  

It's Time to Set your Goals

5. Set clear homeownership goals.

Yes, you want to buy a house, but what house? Start by defining what homeownership means to you. Are you looking for a starter home or your forever residence? Many Millennials are looking for starter homes, but it’s still important to consider factors like location, budget, and lifestyle preferences to determine what type of home you’ll be happy in for a handful of years. Generally speaking, it is wise to stay in a home for five years or more before reselling. 

6. Identify your must-haves AND items you’re willing to compromise on.

If an attached garage is an absolute must-have, you should NOT be looking at 1920’s fixer-upper in Perry District.  Make a list of non-negotiable features you want in a home, such as location, size, and amenities. Being clear about your preferences will help you and a good realtor narrow down your search and focus on properties that meet your criteria when you are ready to buy.

If you are a Millennial or Gen Zer who is interested in home ownership in the coming years, this list is a great place to start your journey.  Even with this list, it is SO helpful to have an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent to help guide you through this process and talk through how each of these items may fit into your path to home ownership. I truly enjoy talking to first time buyers about the ins and outs of home buying! Talking about what down payments look like in the real world (spoiler, it doesn't have to be 20%!) or the best dog-friendly neighborhoods in Spokane (there’s a lot of them!) give me great joy.  Please reach out to me if you want to schedule a call about what it looks like to work with Behler Homes. I’d be truly delighted to walk you through this process.

Work With Samara

Whether relocating locally or across the country, Samara is dedicated to ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience while helping her clients achieve their goals. Contact her today!

Follow Me on Instagram