In all the excitement of daily living, did you miss some of our blog posts in 2014? Here’s a year-end roundup: the year’s best news on student loan debt and homeownership, our best rubber-meets-road tips for homebuyers, our Levelheaded Homebuyers of the Year, and more.
What would you like to see us cover in 2015? Let us know, and we’ll see what we can do.
Top News: Millennials Have the Power
In 2014 we learned that the homebuyer landscape is officially shifting—to the next generation. If you’re an informed, creative 20- or 30-something with your sights set on a fixer-upper that you can put your stamp on, you’re not alone. “Millennials” (aka Generation Y) like to DIY, want to own a home, and in the next 15 years will come to outnumber Baby Boomers by some 20 million. A fact that contractors, designers, remodelers, etc. are well aware of. Meaning? The home market is about to reshape itself to suit your needs. Read more.
Biggest Surprise: Cities Ain’t So Green
It had become the conventional wisdom: it's greener to buy a home in the city than the suburbs. Choosing the city was supposed to make your carbon footprint petite, because city dwellers have smaller homes and take public transportation. But new analyses showed that while city dwellers do indeed drive less and use less energy at home, their carbon footprint ends up bigger because they consume more energy outside the home, and because they’re more affluent, using more resources overall. A reminder that our carbon footprints are everywhere. Read more.
Coolest Makeover: Suburbs
In our “city vs. suburbs” series, we learned that it’s too simple to say that Millennials are all about the big city. The fastest-growing cities in the United States don’t look like New York or LA or Chicago. They are less dense—and therefore more affordable for young homebuyers. They look kind of like . . . suburbs. But they function like cities. Suburban communities have been busy retrofitting themselves with urban-esque functionality, creating walkable downtown areas and putting everyday needs nearby. Everything you like in a city, for a fraction of the mortgage. Read more.
Best News on Debt
For our series on buying a home when you’ve got student loan debt, we got some encouraging perspective and advice from Kathy Cummings, senior vice president of homeownership solutions and education executive at Bank of America. She laid two big myths to rest: that you need 20 percent down, and that it’s hard to qualify. There are homebuyer programs out there that you’ve never heard of, and qualifying for a mortgage is very much a case-by-case proposition. So don’t count yourself out of homeownership until you’ve consulted a pro. Read more.
Levelheaded Homebuyers of the Year
Also on the topic of homeownership and student loan debt: We interviewed first-time homebuyer Katie, who with her husband, Alex, was a case study in doing it right. They made all the right moves and are comfortably paying for a modest but definitely equity-building condo in Boston right now—despite a double dose of both undergrad and grad debt in the household to the tune of $80,000-plus. Read more.
Best Rubber-Meets-Road Advice
The best time to buy is whenever you are really prepped and ready. But assuming that, we talked to Stephanie Hanson, senior housing counselor at Community Development Corporation of Utah, about buying a home during peak homebuying season. She outlined the pros and cons, plus three must-dos if you decide to go for it. Read more.