Millennial homebuyers are biting off more than they can chew — and twice as likely to get stressed out about homeownership than baby boomers. According to a new survey by Clever Real Estate, more than half of millennials (51%) admitted to feeling some kind of buyer's remorse after purchasing a home, while for boomers, that number was just 20%.
Buyers’ remorse for homebuyers
The main source of stress and buyers remorse comes from higher-than-expected mortgage payments. Two out of three millennial homebuyers said they put a down payment of less than 20% on their home — resulting in additional monthly private mortgage insurance payments until they hit 20% equity in their home. By contrast, 19% of baby boomers put 50% or more down when they bought a home.
An added source of stress comes from surprise maintenance bills. Forty-three percent of millennials said they were not expecting to spend as much as they were on utility bills, repairs and general upkeep of their property.
“Younger buyers are eager to take advantage of historically low interest rates, so they're ignoring costs outside of their ‘PITI’ or principal, insurance, taxes, and insurance. In fact, one in four millennials don’t have $1,000 saved for repairs,” says Thomas O’Shaughnessy, a research analyst for the study.
A generation fixed on fixer-uppers
“There's no denying HGTV and other renovation/remodeling shows have a big impact on millennial homebuyers, but millennials are more interested in buying homes and fixing them up than buying the perfect home,” says O’Shaughnessy.
Within the next five years, millennials are planning 49% more house renovation projects than baby boomers. The biggest problem with that is they’re relying on more loans and credit cards to finance these projects that oftentimes end up costing a lot more than expected.
“There's nothing wrong with buying a fixer-upper if you're handy and know the actual costs of renovation, but you need to do your research on the costs and your neighborhood,” says O’Shaughnessy. What you don’t want to do is take on high-interest debt in hopes that your home will appreciate in value or do more work than your home will likely sell for in your location.
He also urges homeowners to think twice before taking your renovations out of the scope it requires: “Are you going to do work that makes your home worth $300,000 in a $100,000 neighborhood? In other words, the cost of your projects needs to be in line with your local housing market.”
Jeanie Ahn is a senior reporter and producer at Yahoo Finance, covering personal finance and women in business. Follow her on Twitter @jeanie531.