Millennial home buyers often have regrets, mainly because they underestimated the hidden costs associated with buying and owning a home. (Photo: Shutterstock).

Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2000, are the largest generation America has seen. In fact, there are over 83 million millennials in the United States. They are also fast becoming this country’s most prominent first-time homebuyers; however, according to CNBC, 63 percent of millennial home buyers have regrets, mainly because they underestimated the hidden costs associated with buying and owning a home.

“Finding your dream home only to learn it’s outside your financial reach can be a nightmare,” said Athena Brownson, a Realtor at New Era Group at Your Castle Real Estate in Denver.

To help guide millennials and first-time buyers through the homebuying process, Brownson shares the following tips.

Get pre-approved

“The first and most crucial step is to get pre-approved by a reputable lender, stressed Brownson, who grew up in a family of residential developers, builders and interior designers. “A qualified lender will walk you through the financial responsibilities of purchasing a home so you will know exactly what your closing costs and monthly mortgage costs will be before going under contract.”

Furthermore, it is imperative to find a lender that has worked with their Realtor on numerous occasions. “In today’s real estate world, one in four deals are falling out due to financing,” added Brownson. “Ensure you find a lender that won’t overpromise and underdeliver.”

Opt for smaller square footage

Brownson further notes that statistically, the smaller the square footage of a home, the more it appreciates. Millennials are generally busy people and don’t have a lot of time for home maintenance. “Typically, they buy homes between 1,100 to 1,700 square feet and opt for townhomes that have a HOA. Not having to maintain the exterior is a huge plus,” stated Brownson.

Understand the buying process

Whether the house is new or very old, the buyer needs to know how the structure is holding up. “You need to know what work has been done on the house and what will bring value to the property. Make sure you have gone through the buying process with your agent so you know what to expect. My buyer flow chart is what I like to review with my clients,” said Brownson, who has an interior design background but grew up in construction and understands how to inspect the bones of a property. “Make sure to have your Realtor help you schedule an inspection with a licensed inspector.”

Interview the Realtor and be prepared to make an offer

This helps one learn about the Realtor’s experience and availability for showings. Do they have backup? How many buyers have they successfully represented? “Have your Realtor set you up on an automatic search that e-mails you properties daily,” concluded Brownson. “If you find a property you like, see it as soon as possible and be ready to write an offer if you love it. In Denver it is common to get more than one offer in the first few days on the market.”

By Athena Brownson. Athena is a Realtor at New Era Group, Your Castle Real Estate. She is a Colorado native that works with both buyers and sellers. For more information, call 303. 919.9344 or visit