Helping millennials to become homeowners

by. Tina Powers

The twin challenges of rising student debt and a shaky job market make the latest generation of American adults leery about taking on the additional debt of a home mortgage. We’ve all read articles about how this generation is going to be known as perennial renters. So, it may come as a surprise to see the results of the 2012 American Dream survey, an ongoing study conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Trulia. It reveals the welcome news that 72% of 18-34 year olds say they still dream of owning a home and 31% of today’s renters plan to buy in the next two years.

How can credit unions use this information to increase their purchase mortgage business?

Build the relationship. Position your credit union to be the primary source of financial products and services, as well as advice, for Millennial members now. That way, when they are ready to own their own home, they will turn to their credit union first.

Invest in online services. Millennials want convenience. Offer one convenient location on your website that help them understand the process of home buying from start to finish – including searching for home, finding a realtor, getting pre-qualified, etc. Help them find the home of their dreams, not just finance it.

Provide financial education for new home buyers. Host seminars specifically for renters who want to understand the process of transitioning from a renter to a homeowner. Possible topics could include calculating rent-vs.-buy decisions and understanding credit ratings, as well as providing advice about living expenses you may incur once you are a homeowner, such as lawn care, maintenance and HOA fees.

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