This blog post was written in partnership with Unison, a home co-investing company offering a smarter, better way to homeownership. If you’re an aspiring home buyer or a current homeowner looking for ways to leverage the most out of your investment, be sure to check them out to learn more about what they’re doing to disrupt home finance.
Why I wanted to become a homeowner
I still remember when my parents bought our first family home. Every Sunday, after church, we would drive around town, looking at neighborhoods, exploring different parts of the city, and discuss the pros and cons. Well, my parents would discuss, I just wanted to get back home and out of my Sunday dress.
I remember my parents taking on part-time jobs to save for the down payment. My mom took an evening shift at Waffle House and my dad started delivering papers for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Then one day we drove into the community that would become our home. We spoke to the agent in the model home and chose our lot. For the next few weeks, every other Sunday, we visited as the home was built from the ground up. When we finally moved in, I was so excited. Since that moment, I knew that I would become a homeowner as well. And I was willing to do what I had to do to save for my own down payment. But my journey was a little different.
It would be several years before I achieved my dream of being a homeowner. By the way, if you’d like to reach your dream sooner rather than later, you should definitely check out the contest opportunity with my partners over at Unison.
They are hosting the #UnisonDreamHomeContest and awarding a winner with $25,000 towards a down payment!
Getting Uncomfortable with Apartment Living
Throughout my 20s and most of my 30s I lived in an apartment. While I did what I could to make it my own, I still felt like it was not permanently mine. There were several frustrations that started to bug me more and more like:
- Loud noises
- Hauling groceries up 3 flights of stairs
- And looking for a parking spot (especially when it was raining)
These small annoyances started to build up and I decided to start saving for a home. But then I met my husband. He was on his way to Memphis for work and suddenly I went from looking for a home in Atlanta, to searching for one in Memphis.
How we started shopping for a house in a city we had never lived in before
My first thought was, “How are we going to shop for a home in a location we’ve never been?” Fortunately, we found a very nice REALTOR who specializes in relocations. She searched properties, sent us ideas, and set up viewings. We flew to Memphis for a weekend to explore the city and see the properties. That’s when we found the perfect home for us.
How we chose our home
We weighed a few factors before we decided on our ultimate location. Not only did we want something in a neighborhood with good schools, but the home also needed to be close enough to my husband’s job, and not too far from the city.
As a self-employed entrepreneur, I just wanted to be close to a Target.
These factors were just a few that we considered when thinking about the quality of life we wanted as homeowners.
One of the biggest factors was the cost of buying a home. Most start with a specific price range in mind, but once you start choosing the most desirable neighborhoods, the home values might be out of budget.
We had to get serious with what we could afford. I wish we had heard about Unison previously, but at the time, we hadn’t. (It would have been nice to have a partner co-invest in the downpayment for our house for us!) Instead, we had to do some deep reflecting on what made financial sense as we invested in our future home.
Ultimately, we chose a nice home that needed a little work. A fresh coat of paint, new floors and an upgraded kitchen set made a nice move-in gift.
Things I Love About Homeownership
These days I get to enjoy the benefits of homeownership. It feels really good, especially when I contrast it to living in an apartment.
- We live in a quiet neighborhood
- I can walk directly into the house without using flights of stairs
- I even get to pull directly into the garage, which is a nice benefit when it’s raining
I absolutely love where we live. I even spent some time in the first year to plant a few shrubs that are growing so nicely now. They bloom in early spring and again in late summer. It seems small but I still remember trying to grow mint and basil on my apartment balcony and wishing I had some dirt of my own.
Our neighbors are the nicest people. They bring us tomatoes from their yard and even some homemade treats at Christmas time. Sometimes we walk in the neighborhood or hang out on the back porch as the sun sets. I’m truly blessed and happy to live where we do.
As a millennial who once saved almost every extra cent to afford a down payment, I understand the long road to becoming a homeowner. That’s why I’m excited to partner with Unison on this post. They are making that long road a little shorter with their partnership program which can help you reach the funds required for that down payment a lot sooner.
Unison is a home co-investing company offering a smarter, better way to homeownership. If you’re an aspiring home buyer or a current homeowner looking for ways to leverage the most out of your investment, be sure to check them out to learn more about what they’re doing to disrupt the home finance industry.