DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Financial expert shares advice with first-time homebuyers in Utah

Jan 14, 2022, 10:06 AM | Updated: 10:10 am
first-time homebuyers...
A “for sale” sign is displayed outside of a house in Layton on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. Photo: Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The scene for first-time homebuyers seems to be going from bad to worse.

Five years ago, in order to afford a median-priced house in Salt Lake County, the potential buyer had to make around $58,000 per year. But in 2021, the same buyer now has to make $101,400.

Shane Stewart, a certified financial planner for Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators, joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Debbie to share his advice on the first steps to take in getting your finances in order to buy a home in Utah’s high-priced housing market.

First-time millennial homebuyer? In Utah and across the nation, it’s tough!

The median home price for Salt Lake residents over the last year was $564,062 and projected to rise to over $600,000 in the next 12 months, according to realtor.com.

Stewart advised first-time homebuyers to keep doing their homework on what price house they can afford in terms of down payment and mortgage. Perhaps sharing costs with a roommate or two? Visit a bank or credit lender and have a good-faith estimate done to see what the first-time homebuyer can afford and what is needed to get into a particular house.

“There are programs where [first-time homebuyers] can buy without money down, and they may just need a little bit of the closing costs,” Stewart said.

Roommate wanted

If the first-time homebuyer can’t afford the house without a roommate, should that first-timer buy the home? Dave asked.

“I know a few young folks who do that,” Stewart said. “They bought a home. They have a couple of roommates. It’s basically paying their mortgage, and it works out really well. It is actually financially a pretty good decision for an unmarried person.”

Scarcity attitude

With homes seemingly out-of-reach due to high prices, a scarcity mindset sets in, Stewart explained. In other words, the thinking is: If I don’t get a home now, I may never get one because prices will always go up.

“And that is not true,” he said. “Markets are cyclical, and they can come back down.”

His advice: Be patient, stay calm and keep shopping.

Because buying a home is so much of an emotional decision, is it a good idea for a first-time homebuyer, who likely can’t afford one, to hire an expert who can put the emotions aside? Dave asked.

“Absolutely,” Stewart said.”. . .  Just go ask. Walk into your local bank or credit union and ask their lenders to give you some coaching on that. What you can afford and what you should afford are two different things. . . Talk to a financial planner-type person. Many people have those available at their employer or some sort of coach . . . who takes the emotion out of it.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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