Getting married at only 19 years old, buying a home wasn’t an option for the Butler family. Like most newlyweds in that time period, we rented. Now, that worked very well. Then, we realized that just maybe we could someday own our own home.
When that day finally arrived, we ended up purchasing a home from my grandparents — a home they lived in for 50 years. It was the same home my mother grew up in. I remember it well — 4338 Sorg Road. Isn’t it funny how an address can stay with you.
It was nothing elaborate, just a nice, clean home. It served us well for more than 10 years. However, it was a long drive to town, had no central air, and the heating was not that efficient. I am sure there was a list of many other negatives. But, for the most part it was our home and we loved it. That was our “starter home.”
Today, I am not even sure if a “starter home” is even a thing. It appears to me that couples seem to be financially so far ahead of those of us that purchased our “starter homes” in the past. Young families are buying more expensive homes than the ones we could afford back then. Your first thought may be like mine was — they should have to start out like we did, clear at the bottom. But, why should they? Don’t we want our children to have more than we did? Do we really want them to struggle like we did?
Things have progressed so much since 1980. My wife’s grandfather, Herb Countryman used to call it, “setting up housekeeping.” Younger families seem to have so much more right at jump street than we did — better cars, better jobs, and yes, better houses. This is not to say they won’t make some of the same mistakes we did. We all know they will. But hey, didn’t we learn, and learn well from them? Learning from someone else’s mistakes just does not work. We have to learn from our own.
When I became a real estate agent there were several programs in place for what we called “first time” home buyers. Most of those are gone today. I am sure it’s because it not as needed as it once was. Most first-time home buyers are good to go without the help of programs from days past. Most will have good credit, ample income, and most anything else needed to qualify.
This isn’t to say if you are reading this without all of your financial ducks in a row that home ownership is not an option. It still may be. All you must do is to take the first step to see where you are at financially. Your answer may be a no today. But, it could turn into a yes tomorrow. We have all heard that word “no” many times in our lives. And I am very sure we will hear it again in the future.
When I drive by 4338 Sorg Road, my mind never goes to all the things we didn’t have with that house. It does go to seeing the kids playing in the yard and riding their bikes on that small, less traveled road. I remember all the good times and things we did as a young family struggling to keep our heads above the water. If you ask my children what their favorite home was, it is always that first house on Sorg Road.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.