Here's Why 'Stop Renting, Start Buying' Is Every Millennial's Guide To Home Buying

The common misconception is that you're too broke to buy a house in your 20s. But according to broker and owner of Blisss Life Realty, Tonya Brown, "homeownership is the corner stone to building wealth." The fact is, with the right information about the market and knowing what you can actually afford, you can make your budget work for you. 

Let's face it, homeownership among millennials, and African-American millennials in particular, is waning. In spite of the numbers, Tonya Brown created a step-by-step guide for young buyers looking to stop renting and start buying.

"I wanted to give young people, especially millennials, a foundation. Often times I get a lot of questions from first-time buyers with no idea where or how to go about purchasing a home," she said. And after 15 years in business, you can bet that she knows a few things about how to buy a home but most importantly, how to keep it. 

In her 8-step safeguard guide for potential homeowners, Brown is very adamant about covering all the bases necessary to get soon-to-be homeowners into the right home. Readers can expect to learn the benefits of having a good agent, common mistakes to avoid and how doing your homework on  mortgage programs and lenders can save you in the long run. 


If you haven't already made your way over to Amazon to purchase the book, consider these helpful hints when making the decision to invest in a home. Here are some words of advice from real estate veteran Tonya Brown:

1. "You have to start buying if you want to start building wealth." Real estate continues to be the best bet to buliding wealth. To many buy­ing a home rep­res­ents security and a ladder to fin­an­cial suc­cess. When it comes to building equity, ensuring your family has access to good schools and opportunities, the benefits rent­ing don't compete. 

2. "Understand that you're not going to buy your dream house in your 20s." But what you are doing is putting yourself in a position to  buy your dream home in the future. There really is no substitute for homeownership. Buying property and forced savings are investments in yourself and your future. 

3. "Most people think it's way harder than it actually is." According to The New York Times, the housing market has managed to bounce back. Slowly but surely, a strong recovery can be reflected in sales and prices. Consumers and experts are more confident in making investments now than they have been in past years. 

3. "You're definitely going to want to look at your net income to know what you're really working with."  Mortgage lenders will look at all of your earnings and debts. There are front-end and back-end ratios, lifestyle factors and credit checks. It's easy to get in over your head. It can be a little overwhelming if you dont know your stuff (but no need to fret, that's what this book is all about). 

4. "Don't end up with the loan products that are not ideal for you." There are plenty of first-time buyer programs out there. There are opportunirties to get the down payment covered. You don't have to make a ton of money to buy a home but you do have to do your homework and you do need to know what not to do. 

5. "Get the house before you get the car." According to Brown, "a house will never make you not qualify for a car. But a car will make you not qualify for a house…or at least lessen how much you're approved for." In layman's terms, avoid the luxury cars. Cars always depreciate after you buy them, you have a better chance at getting a return on your investment with a home. 







Inheritly Yours: What To Do If Your New Home Is Handed Down To You

It's no sprawling estate, but it is paid for and now it's yours.  Before you turn your nose up at the house or the neighborhood, you should really consider the impact this little gem could have on your life.  Taxes and old wiring aside, there are many benefits to investing in a renovation and turning this gem into something you'd really love.

If the house is in the same city and you are renting, your prayers have been answered.  A few updates with the money you will be saving every month will make this project more than worth your while.

Here are some steps to get you moving in the right direction:

First, you'll need to have the house inspected by a licensed professional.  Pretend you are going to sell the house and get honest feedback about the value of the house and the condition of its build.

Next, bring in a contractor or remodeler.  If there are a lot of things that need to be fixed, you're going to want to know about them up front so you can budget in the expenses.

And if you're furnishing the house yourself, sign up for a decorating class to get help planning and organizing the project.  

Armed with all the information you need to fully grasp the scope of the project, set a date and get started.

A client of mine just inherited this home in east Atlanta.  She lives in New York and has a condo in Puerto Rico.  She plans to move to Atlanta when the house is done and start a family. After weeks of getting apprasials and quotes, she is ready to start selecting finishes for the floor and walls. I suggested she let us follow the project here on Pinkeggshell and if all goes well, we'll be sharing her progress as the project comes together.

My client is in a position to move and take advantage of the property,  but if you are already living in your dream house, here are a few more things you can do with the property before putting out a for rent sign.  

If the house is close and is fairly small like the one my client inherited, consider making it into your own personal retreat: a yoga, spin or dance studio or consider having your own private gym.  You can meet the trainer there or invite your girlfriends over for a spin class.  Install a massage table and have a masseuse meet you there once a week.  Meditate, pray, read.  Do what ever calms your spirit.  Then lock up and head back out into the world.

List it on Airbnb.  For years I've created turn-key corporate condos for the film industry in Atlanta.  Hotels are nice, but there's something really special about a private get away for just you and your family.  The key to making this a hot property is to splurge on the luxuries.  Purchase soft linens and plush towels.  Sprinkle lavender in the closets and put matching dishes in the cupboards.  Do everything you can to make your guest feel they are at a home, where they are truly cared for. 

Open it up to family and friends for baby showers and wedding receptions.  I would love to have a house with a multipurpose living room and kitchen and an extra bedroom.  Many of you know that I split my time between Nashville, Houston and Oxford.  I use to be in Atlanta more, but somehow it's be inched out of the equation.  At any rate, when I'm in Oxford, I see 1st hand the value of a second property.  Oxford is OLE MISS territory and every fall house, rooms and barns are rented out to Rebel and SEC fans for top dollar.  A property that could sit dormant for 6 months could easily generate in one season enough money to cover the cost of owning the house for an entire year. 

My brothers and sisters all went to school at Ole Miss and on any given weekend they travel down with friends and family to catch the game.  

And if football isn't your thing or you don't live in a city where hotel rooms are limited, use your new space to hold parties or book club meetings.  

There is so much that can be done and if you're lucky enough to be given a house, I think it's worth you taking a look at and coming up with a plan to make it an asset.