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Insecurities Lie Within the Buying Process

One of the most stressful experiences in life can be searching for and buying a home. First, prospective homeowners must look at homes in their price range, and nowadays, there may be multiple contracts on the home they would like to purchase. Then, there are all the details they have to provide in order to get a loan, such as credit history, income, and assets.

To better understand the psychology of the home-buying experience, NerdWallet released its first Home Buyer Reality Report on Thursday, which analyzed each step of the journey to homeownership, from home shopping through the lending process. It looked at the roadblocks to mortgage pre-approval, why some borrowers never make it to the closing table, and why others have regrets even after they become homeowners.

“According to our research, borrowers who don’t understand the mortgage process or don’t know enough about their own credit history tend to hit obstacles or be rejected when applying for mortgages,” says Tim Manni, a mortgage expert at NerdWallet.

“They also tend to feel regret after their deal is done, even if they succeeded in buying a home,” Manni adds. “That tells me borrowers aren’t doing enough research—on themselves or the mortgage process—before applying for a home loan.”

To better understand the feelings various people have regarding purchasing a home, NerdWallet commissioned a survey conducted online by Harris Poll. The report was based on a survey of more than 2,200 people, 1,300 of whom had applied for a mortgage, and more than 1,400 who are current homeowners.

Of those who had applied for a mortgage, 6 percent reported being denied — among them, 50 percent say they were denied on their first try, and one-quarter (25 percent) say they were denied more than once.

The majority of mortgage applicants who have been denied a mortgage (79 percent) received an explanation from their mortgage professional for why their loan was denied. Forty-one percent thought their denial was unfair and 33 percent felt it was embarrassing. One the other hand, more than one-third (35 percent) said it encouraged them to improve their financial situation.

Among mortgage applicants who had been denied, the top three reasons for denial were due to (1) a high debt-to-income ratio (52 percent), (2) issues with credit history and score (39 percent), and (3) having insufficient income (25 percent.

The survey found that of mortgage applicants who had been denied a mortgage, 31 percent were surprised they were denied. The rejection, however, doesn’t seem to deter Americans from pursuing their dreams, as 33 percent said they knew the next steps and actions they needed to take to purchase or refinance a home.

Other facts revealed were that there are distinctively different experiences and emotions among millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers when it comes to navigating the home-buying process.

In fact, 11 percent of millennial homeowners said they no longer felt financially secure after purchasing their home, and that roughly 3 in 5 millennial (57 percent) and Gen X (61 percent) homeowners indicated they had regrets, saying they would do things differently the next time around in the home-buying process, in comparison to only 38 percent of baby boomers.

Interestingly enough, Gen X mortgage applicants were less likely to report having a positive experience (26 percent) with the mortgage process than millennial applicants (39 percent), but although there was a difference in experience, Gen Xers were just as likely to be approved for a home loan (91 percent) as millennials (89 percent).

About Author: Sandra Lane

Sandra Lane has extensive experience covering the default servicing industry. She contributed regularly to DS News' predecessor, REO Magazine, from 2004 to 2006, covering local market trends, the effects of macroeconomic shifts on market conditions, and "big-picture" analyses of industry-driving indicators. But her understanding of the mortgage and real estate business extends even beyond those pre-crisis days. She is a former real estate broker and grew up in what she calls "a real estate family." A journalism graduate of the University of North Texas, she has written articles for various newspapers and trade journals, as well as company communications for several major corporations.

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