At the time of this writing, the millennial generation is currently $1.4 trillion deep in student loan debt. Couple that with the fact that the average home sells for nearly 10 times what they did in 1968, and you've got a nearly unreachable American dream of homeownership for the current crop of middle-aged adults.
But it's not impossible. If you want to own your own home, there are a few steps to take to give yourself the best chance of it happening.
1. Use Government Programs
If you're buying your first home, the federal government will allow you to take advantage of a loan from the Federal Housing Administration, which caps the interest rate at around 3%. For example, a $210,000 will only cost you a down payment of $6,300 - well within reach of most working millennials.
2. Enlist For Service
Joining the military has several perks, but one of them is the ability to obtain a V.A. loan which offers substantially better rates than traditional loans in gratitude for time served. In addition, the G.I. Bill can also help with expenses if you have money left from your time in school.
3. Ask for Your Inheritance
The prodigal son had one thing right: your parents most likely have money socked away for you after they pass from this life, but you'll have to ask for it. While they may not give you all of their estate, they may provide you with some financial assistance to get started.
4. Improve Your Credit Score
A higher credit score is indicative of financial responsibility, and banks will look at that to determine the risk/reward of giving you a loan in the first place. If you want to get the best loan at the cheapest rates, you'll need to do everything you can to get your credit score glow.
5. Get a Budget
This is good financial advice in general, but especially if you plan on buying a house. Sit down with all of your income and expenses and figure out exactly what size of home you can afford. You may be a few years off from your goal, or you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find out.
6. Move Out of Town
Real estate in urban and industrial areas is notoriously expensive, so if you want to get more home for your dollar, consider moving to smaller bedroom communities just outside of the city center. Suburbs offer a ton of advantages for a slightly longer commute, one of them being cheaper housing.
7. Look Into State Programs
FHA loans are great, but you should also take some time to check out the tax savings and incentives that your state offers as well. Some will even offer additional grants or subsidies to set down roots; check here to see if your state is one of them.