Debunking the Biggest Homebuying Myths

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The process of buying or selling a home is incredibly complex, especially for those diving in for the first time. That’s why it might not come as a shock to learn that many misconceptions and myths persist regarding various steps of the homebuying process. Here are the most pervasive points of confusion for homebuyers of all stripes:

Down payments

A recent survey of mortgage industry executives from Genworth Mortgage Insurance revealed some surprising insights from real estate professionals related to the typical consumer:

  • 28 percent said most consumers hold the incorrect assumption that the 20 percent down payment is an absolute requirement for any home purchase.
  • At the same time, 41 percent said that even among consumers familiar with low down payment options, it was still common to assume that buying a home was difficult without putting 20 percent down.

Nearly 40 percent of industry professionals surveyed said misconceptions such as these were contributing factors in the lack of demand among first-time homebuyers. This was a notably more common belief among mortgage professionals than the notion that low inventory or excess student debt was to blame for sluggish demand in this sector.

“There are various low down payment options available today that allow prospective homebuyers to reach their dreams of homeownership sooner,” Genworth CEO Rohit Gupta said in a statement. “It is crucial that, as an industry, we proactively educate eligible borrowers about solutions that will enable them to buy a home when they’re ready.”

Buying and selling

Other common points of confusion center around what it takes to facilitate the buying or selling process. Zillow found that younger homebuyers may be led to conclude that they don’t need a real estate agent, and can instead conduct all the necessary research online.

While the internet and new real estate services have made the homebuying process smoother in some ways, they still haven’t replaced the experience and hands-on ability of a good real estate agent.

“It’s no longer about agents having access to the proprietary data — it’s all out there,” Zillow explained. “But since buying a home is such an infrequent transaction in your life, you need someone along on your journey who knows and studies the market, understands the process and can act as an adviser to help you interpret the data.”

In a similar vein, Zillow noted that the practice of hosting an open house for prospective buyers had also been falling by the wayside. This trend may have also been set off by new digital services that offer virtual tours of homes from the comfort of a desktop computer. But of course, this pales in comparison to the experience of seeing a home up close and in-person. After all, this is a place that could be your own for many years to come, so it’s essential to know how it looks and feels.

Buying a home is full of questions but light on easy answers. Working with a trusted professional throughout the process is a great way to ease that burden.

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