According to a recent survey, people who belong to the Generation X and  Generation Y demographics haven’t been deterred by the housing market downturn  at all.

genyA  Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate survey last summer of 1,001 Americans between the ages of 18-35 found that 75 percent of Gen X  and Y respondents believe owning a home is a key indicator of success; 69  percent said the recent housing downturn made them more knowledgeable about  homeownership than their parents were at their age.

And it turns out that Gen X-ers and Y-ers are more motivated than some older  generations give them credit for. The survey revealed that Gen X-ers and Gen  Y-ers are willing to take second jobs (40 percent said they would) or move in  with their parents (23 percent) in order to buy into the American Dream of  owning a home.

The real estate market during the past  five years was certainly scary, especially for younger and less experienced home buyers.  And so, a lot of people in Gen X and Gen Y sat on the sidelines. But the market  has definitely bounced back, and many believe that now is a great time to buy.  You just have to be savvy about it.

Here are five tips to help Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers buy into the American  Dream.

Have a five-year plan

Unlike the boom years, don’t assume a home purchased today will appreciate in value within five years. If  you’re unsure about your five-year plans, it’s better to rent.

Use technology creatively

It’s well-documented that Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers start their home search  online. Real estate listings sites, mortgage calculators and  valuation tools such as Zillow’s Zestimate® home value are typically places a  buyer starts. But, once you’re in the market, there are tons of online  resources.

Less obvious tools, such as Google  Street View, can help, too. It once helped a client realize that the home she  wanted to buy in San  Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood may not be as safe as she thought.  Google Street View revealed that there were previously bars on the windows of  the ground-floor apartment.

Beware of information overload

Using the Internet and apps, home  buyers today have an unprecedented amount of data available. Sometimes, however,  it’s too much and can cause the buyer to shoot themselves in the foot. For  example, a buyer might learn that the seller  stands to make a 10 percent profit in a short amount of time.

Even though the profit is in line with current market values, that  information might cause the buyer to make a low offer and kick themselves a  month later for missing out on a great house.

Don’t assume you don’t need a real estate agent

Because so much information is online, many Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers might  think they can buy a home on their own. However, the role of the agent  is no longer about finding the listings. It’s about presenting the offer and  getting it accepted, getting through inspections  and getting the deal done.

A real estate transaction can go 50 different ways now. A good agent will  steer a buyer on the right path. A savvy agent will know the ins and outs of any  local market better than an uninformed buyer with a full-time job and family.  It’s their business to be in the know, and it’s what they do all day long.

Experienced agents will have a strong network in the local market that can  give you the added edge. Good agents like to work with other good agents.  Finally, keep in mind that a listing  agent might not even consider working with an unrepresented buyer.

Look for opportunities to increase the home’s value

Baby boomers and preceding generations could more or less count on staying in  their homes for many years and, in turn, their homes’ steady increase in value  over time. After the market downturn, however, that’s not the case.

Because they’re so mobile, Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers in particular should steer  clear of buying the best home on the best block. Instead, look for ways to add  value. Look at homes that don’t show well, are marketed poorly or are outdated.  Don’t be afraid of doing light remodeling or making smart improvements that will  add value. If you have to sell your home sooner than you’d planned, you’re  covered.

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