Dig Baton Rouge

Buying Smart, Selling High

By Nick BeJeaux

Buying your first house in your 20s is possible, and what’s more, it can be easy – if you go about it with your head instead of your heart.

To aid intrepid millennials in their quest for a smart buy, Keller-Williams realtor and adventurer Adam Pitts founded The Summit Group – so named for his love of climbing mountains.

“It’s basically an education-based company that I started for the expressed purpose of providing a free resource that helps people learn about various financial topics, ” he said. “It’s not just real estate, but that is our focus right now.”

The Group provides a variety of “experiences” that reveal the complexities of buying a home for the first time, the loan process for a mortgage, real estate investment, and (eventually) other investing opportunities. Other topics also include end-of-life planning and financial literacy, depending on the availability of speakers. By the way, end-of-life planning may not sound relevant to 20-somethings, but can you honestly guarantee that you’ll make it to the end of this year?

“The course on financial literacy and how that affects credit reports is incredibly important,” said Jake Holinga, a loan officer with Assurance Financial. “Students and even adults in their late 20s and early 30s don’t understand a credit card and managing debt can affect their credit over the next seven to ten years. We want to give them that learning experience and that knowledge – again, for free – because from what I’ve seen there’s nothing being taught in these areas in high schools or colleges.”

“The reality is if you can make a smart first-home purchase you can really set yourself up for life – that isn’t an exaggeration.”

Hollinga works as Pitts’ right hand man in the group and teaches would-be homebuyers everything they need to know on the financial end of buying a home.

The group is anchored on four events per month with smaller classes happening in between. The first is an introduction to home buying; second is real estate investment – the information offered in these courses does not change. During the investor’s club meeting and financial literacy courses, the information provided depends on the speaker.

Pitts said that the focus of these classes is not to create a marketing platform for his firm, but won’t complain if it expands his client base.

“Again, the focus of this is providing free education on these topics – there is no charge for what we do,” said Pitts. “Even if they’re not looking to buy a home, these financial subjects in one way or another affect people’s lives in a significant way.”

People from every demographic attend the group’s classes, but Pitts particularly likes to see younger folks in his classes.

“What I see a lot in real estate is that a lot of people get out of school, find a job and say ‘Oh, I just want to go buy a house’ – so they go buy a house, but they don’t make a smart purchase,” he said. “The reality is if you can make a smart first-home purchase you can really set yourself up for life – that isn’t an exaggeration.”

For example, Pitts bought his first home three years ago in the city of Walker. It wasn’t his first, second, third or fourth choice, but he’s closing its sale on Monday and he stands to make $40,000 more than what he initially paid for the house – making every penny he spent on mortgage payments back, and then some. However, younger buyers tend to struggle profiting off of their first home because they set the bar way too high.

“Too often I see young buyers that go after houses that are way out of their price range and they think, ‘They’ll come down on the price’ – in real estate, you can generally get several thousand off the price, just not $10,000, although that is sometimes possible as well,” said Pitts. “The biggest misconception that I see, though, is first time buyers thinking their first home will be their dream home – your first home needs to be a smart buy.”

Another misconception is that actually buying a house is complicated, scary and absolutely harrowing. On your own, this is absolutely true, but Holinga’s end of The Summit Group can help you navigate through that maze.

“Buying a house is only scary when you do it without putting finances first,” he said.

In the end, under layers of financial mysteries and real estate lingo, The Summit Group aims to teach how to make wise buying decisions, which will eventually pay for themselves.

“The wise move is often the move that is uncomfortable in the short term, but in the long term it will yield the greatest reward – in the housing market, that is exceptionally true,” said Pitts.

For more information on The Summit Group and its classes visit www.summitgroupbr.com

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