Looking to own your own home? Our agents are here to answer your questions about being a first-time home buyer.

If you’ve been stuck in a renting rut, you’re not alone.

In 2016, homeownership rates reached a 50-year low of 62.9% in the second quarter according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This means that roughly 37.1% of household heads did not own a house. Whether they were renting or living with parents, 31.1% of people were missing out on a major investment.

This is beginning to change. For the first time since 2004, homeownership rates began to rise again in 2017- reaching 64.2% in the fourth quarter. Surprisingly, the biggest increase in home ownership came from people under the age of 35 years old.

Millennials are shifting away from renting and towards home ownership- and for good reason, too. Homeownership provides you with a long-term investment. You can end up making money in the long run by owning instead of renting.

If you’re looking to make the jump from renting to owning, you probably have some questions. We asked some of our top agents for their advice to get you started.

Where do I start?

“Often times we, as Realtors, are their first phone call,” says Realtor® Mindi Kessenich. “The first thing I do is make sure they are connected with a lender that they know and trust. I then sit down with them to go over the entire process, and explain all of the things I take care of for them.”

Before beginning to start your house hunt, you need to sit down with a lender. A lender will go through your finances with you to help you figure out what you can afford. Some banks even offer free credit counseling to help get you where you need to be.

Once you get pre-approved for a loan, you can start searching for the perfect house.

How much will buying a house cost?

Buying a house may be more affordable than you think.

“Renters are frequently surprised that their future mortgage payment could be at or below their current rent!” says Realtor® John Nelson. Oftentimes, for about the same monthly payment you could be putting money into a house you own instead of giving it away to a landlord.

Your first house may not be your dream home, but you can find something that will fit your needs.

What if I don’t have enough money for a downpayment?

Many people think that they don’t have enough money or good enough credit to buy a house, but they’re often surprised by the amount of options lenders have for them. Realtor® Kari Moseman breaks down some options for first-time home buyers.

“I always suggest they speak with a great lender that offers the Downpayment Plus Program. The Down Payment Plus Program is such an amazing opportunity for buyers to take advantage of if they meet income criteria. With a $2,000 contribution, they can receive up to $6,000 in grants which equals $8,000 for their down payment!”

Depending on your location, there may be some local grants for you to consider. “For my buyers in Beloit, I also suggest the look into the First Time Home Buyers program available through Neighborhood Works. Neighborhood Works has programs that can grant up to $5,000 towards a down payment.  With these two programs alone, a buyer in the Beloit community could potentially take advantage of $11,000, yes $11,000 in grants to help with down payments!”

These are just two of the many grants and programs available to first-time home buyers. Do your research and talk to your lender to see what you might be eligible for.

What are the benefits of owning a home?

The biggest benefit of home ownership is that you are essentially putting money back into your own pocket. When talking with clients, John says “It’s important to me that they understand that the money they put into their home is theirs in the long run.” Owning your own home is an investment, which means that the money you put into it over time goes directly to building your own equity.

Owning your home can also make you money. Mindi says,”The Real Estate Market is cyclical in nature, so you are guaranteed to come out ahead if you can potentially hold onto the investment long term.” Especially in a competitive market or if renovations were done, many people end up selling their home for more than they bought it. This extra money can help you make a larger downpayment on your next home.

Home ownership gives you the power to design your home however you’d like. You can paint the walls, install new cabinets, and even hang a picture frame without needing to ask your landlord. “You have the freedom to make this house your home in any fashion you wish and to me, that was the most rewarding part of owning my first home,” says Kari.

Finally, home ownership is something to be proud of. You worked hard to earn it and now you have a house to show off. Mindi says “I am constantly working towards improving my little plot on this planet!”

Have another question for our agents? Ready to get started on your home buying journey? Click here to contact us today!

Featured Agents

realtor wisconsinMindi Kessenich

Licensed Wisconsin REALTOR®

mobile: 608-206-4294

John Nelson

Licensed Wisconsin REALTOR®

mobile: 608-371-7721

wisconsin realtor kari mosemanKari Moseman

Licensed Wisconsin REALTOR®

mobile: 608-931-6885


U.S. Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/files/currenthvspress.pdf