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The Homeownership Struggle for Parents with Children

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Summer is not all about vacations and fun, as Zillow reports that parents with children searching for a new home [1]this summer face more challenges, and more than 25% of them go over budget.

Zillow found that 25.6% of parents with children under the age of 18 went over budget when buying a new home. In comparison, 21.2% of parents without children reported to go over budget.

The report also found that 31.5% of parents with children were initially denied a mortgage, a large gap from 11.5% of parents without children.

Zillow states that two-thirds of buyers that have children under the age of 18 made sacrifices on their home search, including sacrificing a shorter commute (34.1%), a larger home (31.2%), and desired finishes (32.7%).

"Having kids is a major destabilizer in life – their needs are constantly changing and seemingly impossible to anticipate. Combine all that uncertainty with a massive financial decision that inevitably requires tough tradeoffs among a limited set of options and has to be wrapped up in time to move before school starts and you've got one of the biggest challenges around," said Skylar Olsen, Zillow's Director of Economic Research. "As markets cool, parents will have more time to breathe and reflect on what tradeoffs they're willing to make. With interest rates back down, they'll be more able to lock in an affordable monthly payment that will last through college. The trick is finding the home that still fills the family's needs as toddlers turn into kids, kids into teenagers, and teenagers into the young adults in your basement. Luckily, most buyer parents end up with a home they love."

Renters with children also experience troubles, as Zillow reports they fill out 1.9 times as many applications than renters without kids at home, and it takes them a month longer to find a home. Renters with children are more vulnerable financially, with 54.1% saying they couldn’t afford a $1,000 unexpected expense.