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Home Buying Surprises for Gen Y

In previous spotlights, Gen Y couples Amy and Brad Schermetzler and Kelsey and Rob Vandersteen told FRP why Gen Y is a huge driver for the housing recovery. Steena and John Cirves are another Gen Y couple who recently bought their first home and give us another look at this segment's purchasing power.

FRP: Is this your first home?
Steena Cirves: Yes!

FRP: Why did you decide to buy?
SC: After years of dealing with the annoyance of upstairs, downstairs and next-door neighbors, and being in a buyer’s market, it was time. I work in a financial institution and know that mortgage rates are at an all-time low, and are expected to start going back up soon.

FRP: Did you consider waiting to buying? Why or why not?
SC: In a sense we waited. We dabbled with the idea of buying in 2009, but quickly realized we didn’t have enough funds saved for a down payment. As soon as I felt comfortable with how much money I saved, I started to look more seriously.

FRP: What were the incentives to buy?
SC: Unfortunately none. Though it’s nice to not have yappy dogs barking in the apartment above me anymore!

FRP: What were your must-haves for your home?
SC: A garage, a basement, enough space, and a yard for the dog.

FRP: Does your house have those must-haves? Anything you had to give up?
SC: My house has those and a bonus three-season porch! A porch was originally on my must-have list, but as we looked, that came off the list. I’m happy to consider my three-season porch a bonus for the house.

FRP: What surprised you about the home buying process?
SC: How much money that we needed to drop before anything was really final. We paid $1,000 for earnest money, $350 for an inspection; it just seemed like a lot of money when things still felt up in the air.

FRP: What did you like about the process? Didn’t like?
SC: I really enjoyed hopping into my realtor’s van and seeing a lot of houses. I had the perfect realtor, and I was almost sad when we were done looking. I didn’t like the waiting to hear if my offer was accepted or not; it’s a nerve-racking process!

FRP: How long did it take for you to buy a home – start to finish? Was this what you expected?
SC: We started looking in October 2011, and closed in May 2012. Our offer on the house was made in March. Once the offer was accepted, we ended up agreeing with the seller to wait until May. It took a lot longer than I thought, but it worked out well with all the other things going on in my life.

FRP: Reports say Gen Y will drive the housing market recovery. That’s you! Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

SC: I think Gen Y is certainly in the market for the idea of owning a house, but I've had conversations with some of my peers who have no clue about saving money. As a person in the financial institution industry, I'm lucky to have general knowledge about saving for life in general, whether it's for that first home, college, that dream vacation, and even retirement. Gen Y is a smart crowd, and I'm looking forward to them being my neighbors.