Millennial Housing Experiences: Working with an Agent

In part 2 of the series, REcolorado shares the story of another Millennial first-time home buyer. Brittany Shur shares her experience buying and selling three homes in Denver. Over the course of four years, her family bought three and sold two homes as the Denver housing market continued to boom. She shares her experience and advice for first-time home buyers for finding a home in a fast paced market.

Millennials Speak Out!

According to Zillow Group’s Consumer Housing Trends Report, some 42 percent of those looking to buy a home are first-time homebuyers. Some 42 percent of those buyers are Millennials. With the Millennial generation being a dominant piece of the housing market puzzle, what makes them different from their older generation counterparts? Three of REAL Trends’ Millennial team members talk about their home-buying experiences. [Part 2 of 3 – Read Part 1 (New Construction) and Read Part 3 (Rent or Buy)]

Housing Experiences: Working with a REALTOR

Brittany Shur, 27, director of digital marketing

Married to Ben and mom to Logan

Riding the real estate wave—that’s how I explain our moving behavior over the past four years. My husband and I, Millennial home buyers in the Denver market, have experienced the process of buying and selling a home from a unique vantage point.

We bought our first home in 2013, just as real estate in Denver began its quick ascent to its peak in 2015. We checked the boxes of a typical new home buyer—early 20s and ready to turn our escalating rent payments into a sound investment in homeownership. We bought a small, but well-kept 1,000-square-foot townhome just south of Denver near the foothills. We had plans to live there for five or six years before upgrading. However, two years later, we found ourselves sitting on over $50,000 in equity without putting in any effort. Knowing we wanted to start a family soon, we decided to see if selling our home and buying something bigger made financial sense.

Candis Self of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate helped us buy our first home had stayed in contact with us, sending Christmas cards and monthly e-newsletters and stopping by a year after we purchased to see how we had decorated and made the home our own. Her efforts paid off, because we chose to contact her immediately when we were selling. We were part of the 73 percent of people who say they would use the same agent again.

It wasn’t just her communications that kept her top of mind. It was also the attention and care she gave us.

Any first-time home buyer knows that buying a home is daunting. Our agent walked us through the process as
if we were her own children and took our needs and desires to heart. We used her again to sell our townhome and purchase a small, single-family home minutes away.

The process of buying our second home was somewhat more cumbersome. We lost 13 homes in the bidding process and became accustomed to offering anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 over list price. The 2015 Denver real estate market was a jungle! Finally, in 2015, we purchased our second home.

Two years later, just as we had settled into our new place, we found ourselves new parents of a bouncing baby boy and overcome by baby gadgets in every room. Desperately wanting more space and sitting this time on over $100,000 in equity, we decided to make our third and final move (at least for the foreseeable future!). Two months ago, we sold our home and upgraded to a larger home, complete with plenty of space for our little guy to grow.

Lessons Learned in the Home Buying Experience

With all that said, here are the three things that stayed consistent from each of our buying experiences.

  1. First, our agent proved herself by walking us through the process the first time, helping us to navigate an infuriating and ruthless market in 2015 and, most recently, getting us to the closing table when our stubborn buyer threw many obstacles in our way.
  2. Second, each time we purchased a home, I found the home first on a portal and immediately contacted my agent. Working in real estate, I know many of you may find your ears bleeding after reading that, but we can’t deny the important role real estate portals play in the home-buying experience—not only for Millennials, but for all consumers. When I asked my agent about her thoughts on my portal usage, I was surprised by her answer. According to her, it didn’t make a bit of difference how I found the home (a portal, a sign in a front yard or her personal website), as long as I contacted her to see the home, make an offer and eventually close.
  3. Finally, each time we bought a home I did my research. Whether that meant researching the neighborhood, crime rate, school ratings or even the projected home values over the next few years, I wanted to know in what I was investing. My husband and I have always viewed our home as our biggest asset and financial responsibility and that meant fully understanding the commitment to homeownership, the neighborhood and the home we had chosen.

I can say without a doubt that our Realtor® truly provided us with honest feedback, knowledge and experience that helped us progress quickly to the home of our dreams. I cannot fathom maneuvering through this experience without her guidance. The commission we paid was more than worth the ease that she provided throughout all five transactions.

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2017