Fischer: Young homeowners the exception, but are inspiring nonetheless
For the past year, we have been watching the ongoing construction of an enormous home on the only empty lot in our neighborhood. This is not because we have nothing to do but watch paint dry; rather, it is due to the consistent and ongoing entourage of large construction equipment that has been blocking our narrow road leading to our home.
A few weeks ago, a few of us in the neighborhood took a walk to the home to take a look at the process. This is where we met our future neighbors, the young couple building this monstrosity of a home. Did you catch the phrase “young couple?” This couple could not be over 25 years old. I’m over twice that (barely, mind you) and have worked my entire life to land in my dream home, and these kids are building theirs while in their mid-20s. For the record, my dream home is not 10,000 square feet, but theirs is.
It is not jealousy, but rather curiosity that has settled in. When I think back to my mid-20s, I had just finished college (I was on the seven-year plan since I was on the pay-as-you-go “scholarship”) and was working for a buck over minimum wage at a local television station. I was not in a position to buy a home.
The truth is, just over half of first-time homebuyers get some financial assistance from a family member. Whether it is a trust fund, an early inheritance or a simple gift, a full 52% of first-time home purchasers last year received help to purchase their home. However, it is possible, even at a very young age, to purchase a home without either parental help or robbing a bank. In fact, just last night I returned home after a walkthrough on a home inspection for a client who is purchasing his first home at the age of 20. All on his own.
Ten years ago, I helped this boy’s parents find a home. I remember this kid. He was only 10 years old at the time, but he left an impression. Both he and his brother were quiet but sagacious. This kid, in particular, wanted to be involved in every step of the process. He listened, alert and interested and absorbed in all.
Fast forward 10 years. He has not only saved enough for a down payment, but he also has enough of a down payment to qualify for a conventional loan (a more preferable loan type in this market, since it does require a larger down payment than a government-backed loan) and to pay his own closing costs to boot — all this while paying rent on his own place. This is nothing short of inspiring.
This little dude, not so little anymore, (come to think of it, I believe he towered over me even when he was 10 years old) chose a career path right out of high school. He began to do subcontracting work and he had the foresight, as well as some good parental training, to begin saving right away. He set a goal, worked the steps to obtain it and now he is almost there. It didn’t come easy or without serious sacrifice on his part, or even without roadblocks along the way. In fact, the first home we got under contract turned out to be a nice, ruby red shade of lipstick on a pretty, pink pig. We had to cancel the contract and move on. This one, however, has had inspections done, repairs have been addressed and the appraisal should be back any day. He is on his way.
While this isn’t the path for everyone, I do believe that everyone can find a path to obtaining the great American dream of homeownership. Whether it happens at age 20 or age 72 (which is a story for another day), it is possible; and owning real estate is almost always one of the best financial investments a person can make.
Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or Jen@jen-fischer.com.