What I learned by becoming a homeowner as a Millennial
I am proud to say I am now a member of land gentry class, or in other words, my partner and I bought a home! As you may have surmised from the title of this blog post I am in my twenties. I’m a proud new homeowner but I recognize that this isn’t the “norm” these days for my fellow Millennials.
The White House published a report that described “15 Economic Facts about Millennials” which stated Millennials are less likely than previous generations of young adults to become homeowners.
I’m not shocked by that. I’ll add to the White House list with a few bullet points of my own:
Young adults have a lot of student loan debt and that makes it hard to move forward in the mortgage loan process.
They lived through the housing collapse and are wary of the housing market.
Millennials are less likely to be looking for a nest to settle down in because they probably are not thinking about kids.
So, why the heck did I choose to become a homeowner if my generation seems to be collectively not buying homes? Well, the number one reason for me was gaining the ability to shape and take ownership of where I live. I wanted to have control of my dwelling- what it looks like, what appliances I have, and what sort of environmental footprint I’m leaving behind.
My home purchase was well-timed and I benefited from the very market that makes my peers nervous. I found interest rates are low and there were a lot of homes for sale in our price range!
With that in mind my partner and I both believe strongly that reducing our carbon footprint at home is important. While we ultimately bought an older home, we kept in mind the potential for environmentally conscious upgrades throughout the buying process.
Not all homes are created equal.
This might seem obvious but I did not really understand that there was a huge difference from one home to the next when it comes to how they are heated, how much electricity they use, or how well insulated they are!
Understanding the home energy “score” of each home we looked at was important. Sure, the architecture and how the rooms look was a big factor, but knowing that a house had a new furnace,heat pump or an energy efficient hot water heater was a necessity.
And perhaps you’re building a new home. Why not build that home with your energy score in mind? Cutting back on energy costs saves money. Given our mission to make solar easy and accessible to all Vermonters, we atSunCommon wrote this piece about building a home with solar that’s easily shared with your contractor or architect.
The roof matters
It may shock you that I wanted a home that could go solar. So I focused my search to homes with rooflines ideal for solar. That meant looking for a house that faced the right direction (SOUTH!) and was not totally surrounded by trees.
I’m lucky because I was able to bug my coworkers in the solar design team to look at every house we toured, so I was able to pull up the address on Google Maps and find out if solar was an option. Don’t have buddies in the solar industry? Fear not, that’s why SunCommonoffers free in-home solar site evaluations. It’s easy.
Timing is everything
Another obvious, but not so obvious, point is that timing matters. Whether you lock in your interest rate (thanks for waiting until January Federal Reserve!) or want to take advantage of fantastic Federal solar incentives, when you sign on the dotted line matters.
The best KWH is the one never used
As soon as we moved in my partner and I swapped out all of the old light bulbs for Energy Star certified LED bulbs. Not only was it nice to have some added brightness, our electric bill will be even smaller than before. What a nice house-warming gift! Had we waited until our solar installation, SunCommon would’ve done that for us!
Another cool thing is that a program called“Weatherize Upper Valley” is starting up in January, and we are all signed up for a free home energy walk thru! Any homeowner can sign up for a free walk through here.
Buying a home is a really emotional thing - more emotional than I had expected it to be. Knowing where you are in life and if you are ready to commit to a home, a town, and a lifestyle is key to home buying success. And hey, you might have the answers to those questions at age 22, like me, or age 52. Now if anyone has any helpful tips for cleaning out gutters… I’m all ears!
Happy home buying!
This blog is written and sponsored by Suncommon.com