Buying a home often feels like the ultimate American dream—a place to call your own, free from any demanding landlords or rent increases cramping your lifestyle. But how far would you actually go in order to afford a place of your own? Well, if a recent study by Unison is to be believed, quite a lot: In their National Home Buying Survey, the company surveyed 1,000 potential new home buyers, and determined that due to the financial struggles of saving up for a down payment, many people are willing to give up a lot more than you’d expect in order to buy a home.
The report asked a combination of gen X-ers, baby boomers, and millennials the question: “What would you give up if you were gifted a 10 percent down payment?” The results? A shocking 44 percent would give up their dream car, 38 percent would give up vacationing for the next five years, and 22 percent would even give up their right to vote. Surprisingly, only 9 percent would give up their driver’s license.
The study also divided the sample by generation, in order to see whether there was a stark difference in the amount millennials would give up for a home versus any other generation. The results established that baby boomers were less likely to give up certain luxuries in order to afford a home, potentially because they had more money saved up, as opposed to millennials just starting out in their careers. An example? Twenty six percent of millennials would give up their right to vote in order to buy a home, as compared to 20 percent of gen X-ers and just 7 percent of baby boomers.
But finance expert and co-founder of Stash Wealth, Priya Malani, isn’t so convinced. As she mostly deals with millennial clientele, she insists that from her experience, these findings aren’t exactly accurate. “We actually see quite the opposite at Stash—most HENRYs (high earners, not rich yet) don’t want to compromise. For those who want to buy a home (since this study was assessed based on interested home buyers), we notice that they want to be on track to buying a house without having to give up their current lifestyle—SoulCycle, vacationing, and enjoying life,” Malani tells Domino. “In fact, they are often willing to rent for longer in order to be able to save toward a place, if it means minimizing the amount of compromise.”
The reason for this? A lack of flexibility when you buy a home. “Having the ability to pick up and move without much holding you back is extremely exciting and valuable,” says Malani. “Having a home is like having a child—it requires time, energy, and other resources to maintain it properly.”
And if you’re one of those people who put a lot of emphasis on buying a home, don’t give up your right to vote, for one (it is truly mindboggling that people would consider this!). Malani suggests automating a specific amount into a high-yield savings account on a regular basis, so that you don’t spend that money, but instead use it to gain interest that you can later use to buy the home of your dreams. “If your home goal is four to five years out or more, you could consider investing the money to help it grow more than it would in a high-yield savings account,” says Malani.
If, right now, you can’t see yourself moving into anything in your price range, Malani insists that it’s far more economical to rent and save aggressively, or work to increase your income. “Renting isn’t throwing money away,” she says. “You’re getting a place to live, and you may be able to save more money by renting, which can go toward other goals you have. More often than not, people are shocked by how expensive it is to maintain a home: We have countless stories of clients who buy their first place, only to have to tap into their emergency funds in the first year because the basement floods, or because the home is in need of many upgrades.”
Want to see the full (shocking!) results of the study, in order to determine what’s important to you? Check it out here.
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