Millennials Are Sharing How They Bought Their Homes, And Surprise, It Wasn't By Skipping Avocado Toast

Millennials have been lagging behind older generations in home ownership for years. But that doesn't mean none of us are buying houses. In fact, according to the 2020 US Census, 43% of millennials were homeowners.
HBO / Via giphy.com
As someone new to the housing market, I was really curious to hear how other millennials managed to buy their homes. So I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share how they did it, and I was blown away by the hundreds of responses and incredibly diverse stories. Here are some of the most interesting answers:
1. This person received free rent by working as an apartment complex manager, which helped him save on a down payment.
“I went to a work-study college where I didn't pay tuition. My husband had scholarships and his parents helped fund his education, so neither of us had student loans when we got married. We rented for a while until my husband got a more permanent job but he ended up going back to school (full scholarship). Then he bought our house in a nice suburb shortly after he found out I was pregnant. We bought about eight months before the pandemic hit, and I. I'm grateful we did that. Real estate prices have skyrocketed in our area and I'm not sure we could afford to shop now.”
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2. This person took advantage of two different first-time homebuyer mortgage programs that make homeownership more affordable.
"I won't lie to you all, for my husband and I it was a mixture of serious sacrifice, star alignment and decision-making. When we applied for the loan, we applied for it in his name because my loan was crap at the time. And we used both the USDA loan and first home purchase assistance. Between the loan and the first home purchase assistance, we didn't require a down payment at all.
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I know we got lucky with a few things, but my suggestions to everyone are: 1.) Save. You always need money, be it for a down payment, furniture or repairs. Start saving as soon as possible. 2.) I'm sorry but you might not get your dream home. You may have to make some sacrifices to be a millennial homeowner. My home is not pretty or fancy. But it's mine (and my husband's). 3.) Take advantage of so many homebuyer loans and assistance programs that you may qualify for. Talk to your agent and really do your homework!"
—Rachel bass drum
3. This person made money for their down payment by working as a surrogate mother.
“I bought my apartment in San Diego in 2014. I paid about $210,000 for it. I already had a kid by then, so I did a couple of surrogate pregnancies. I've earned enough to pay off all my debts and my house. If you have good pregnancies, I STRONGLY recommend it. It's really a win-win situation for everyone. And helping someone achieve their dream of having a baby is so rewarding in itself."
—andreamae88
4. And this couple went into #Vanlife, traveling to work and saving up for a fixer upper.
"My husband and I quit our jobs, bought and converted a camper van and have been living a full time van life for two years!!
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5. This person bought their rental home when their landlord wanted to sell.
“We rented a house for a year and then the owners told us they wanted to sell. We made them a fair offer before they listed it, wrote a heartfelt letter explaining how much we loved living in the house and they accepted. We had to borrow $30,000 from my mother and were fortunate to receive another $10,000 as a gift from my grandparents. My husband and I make $180,000 a year together, but this purchase would not have been possible without the help of my family. We're eternally grateful."
—kaelynelizabeth23
6. This person got a down payment by asking for cash in lieu of wedding gifts.
"For our wedding, we asked for gifts of money rather than setting up any kind of gift list. Some people didn't really like it and probably found it cheesy, but we were able to put a down payment on our house with it. Also, I live in North Dakota, so houses here are pretty cheap compared to other places in the US, and we commute 40 minutes to work every day. If our house was in the city where we work, we would have paid double or triple the price for it. So we looked at houses in smaller towns in the area. We've saved an incredible amount of money and our mortgage is half the rent of our apartment.
The story goes on

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