During an online chat with other real estate professionals last week, the question of the true value of homeownership was raised. My son, Bill, and I each chimed in unaware of the other’s response. It was interesting how the different generations valued homeownership for slightly different reasons. Below, are both responses.
I want to weigh in as a 20-something who recently purchased a home for the first time.
While the financial reasons (wealth-building, not wanting to throw away rent payments every month, that owning is actually cheaper than renting in many markets right now) certainly had an impact on our decision, I think there are too many that are quick to dismiss the non-financial reasons that my peers and I discuss more often than people think.
There’s a very good reason why my wife and I host more parties than my friends who live in apartments (space). There’s a reason why we get more compliments about our house than our renting friends (freedom to choose our own stuff). We have the greatest dog in the world, while I hear “I can’t wait to get a house because I’ve always wanted my own puppy but I can’t right now”.
As a “young” buyer, do I want to make a smart decision? Of course. Do I want to understand the numbers and feel confident with the purchase? Sure. But that’s not what I woke up dreaming about 2 years ago. I woke up dreaming about the house that my wife and I can raise a family in; the house where we’re going to have barbecues with all our neighbors.
We woke up talking about the house that finally allowed my wife to get the dog she’s wanted since she was a kid (and that I fell in love with). We started picking out bedroom colors for our future babies.
You want advice for helping more young buyers? Ask them what their dreams are. What are their goals? What do they wake up talking to their partner about? Help them realize this and you only have to show them that the financials make sense (we’re not looking to make a quick buck on the house we’re living in).
Isn’t this what real estate is about anyway? Helping people realize their dreams? That’s what it was always about in my house growing up (thanks Steve). That’s what my wife grew up thinking. That’s what my friends (all in the first time home buyer range) think. Why not talk to them about this?
Sorry for the rant everyone. Figured I had a spot for the voice of the young buyer to be heard by the industry’s elite and I couldn’t pass that up. Thanks for reading.
Do I think that homeownership is right for everyone? No, I don’t.
Do I think people who can’t afford a house should buy one anyway? No, I don’t.
However, I do believe for the majority of families that homeownership is important. Instead of giving you the links to the numerous studies I have that delineate the benefits of homeownership, I’ll give you one anecdotal story – my own.
Guess where I got the seed money to start my real estate company? My home.
Guess where I got the money for Bill’s college education? My home.
Guess where my younger son, Steven, moved to when he couldn’t find gainful employment after college? My home.
Guess where my older son, Bill, and his wife (and cat & dog) moved to when Sandy ravaged their house? My home.
Guess where I got the down payment for a winter getaway in South Beach for my wife and me? My home.
The home I struggled to buy over 20 years ago has financed my business, put two sons through college and enabled me to buy a winter escape in Florida. And during that whole time, it also allowed me to provide my family shelter during their times of need.
Do I firmly believe in the value of homeownership? Yes, I do!!