Vail Daily column: Is it time to buy a home?

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

As a Generation Y Echo Boomer (30-plus-year-old) potential home buyer, I wonder if I am out of touch with the rest of my generation and economic trends in general. I am working hard to buy my first home. My friends that live on the Front Range say they would rather get an apartment/condo downtown, ride the light rail and invest their money in the stock market. I have always wanted to have my own home with a garage and a yard but now I am wondering if I am out of touch with the “wave of the future.” I would like to hear what you would say to my friends, since I am guessing you are in favor of home buying as you are a Realtor.

Dear “Generation Y,”

I don’t think the lifestyle or type of home is nearly as important as the fact that it is a wise investment to buy your first home as soon as it is logical and possible.

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Living in downtown Denver, Boulder or any urban city, does not necessarily mean that you friends are not “homeowners” as they may have purchased a condo “home.” Obviously, their dream is a little different from your picture of what a home should look like, not to mention very different from your choice of the best place to live in this state. The reality is that many of us started with our first “home” as a condo, even in this valley. I don’t think the lifestyle or type of home is nearly as important as the fact that it is a wise investment to buy your first home as soon as it is logical and possible.

In response to your question, according to the “2014 National Association of Realtors Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Study,” Generation Y makes up the largest separate percentage of homebuyers in the nation. These Echo Boomers are also seen as very optimistic about the housing market and some are moving up to larger homes when possible. So, you are actually right on target for your generation’s goal of home ownership. Actually being part of the majority is not as significant as the fact that you are actually making a wise decision.

To make my point, I would like to mention that one of my financial advisors tells his clients to decrease debt and save until they can buy a home as their first and possibly most important investment. Once they complete that purchase, they can start to work on their investment portfolio. He tells the story of his mother recently needing to move into a retirement home. She was able to have great choices and the financial capability to do so because she had paid off her home and its sale provided all of the money she needed for the transition. I know this retirement home issue is a ways off in your case, but take it from someone “a little older,” that time goes by quicker than you think.

I applaud you on your goal choice and I know you will do well. Be sure to get a competent Realtor to help you make the best investment you can make and get the most for your money in today’s market. Best of luck!

Joan Harned is an owner-broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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