Americans are now renting homes for an average of six years before buying, which is a huge jump compared to the 1970s when the average was around 2.6 years. However, it’s difficult to find those numbers surprising as we are all aware that times have changed since the 70s. Nonetheless, the American Dream of buying a home remains the same, and for one young couple in Brooks County, that dream finally became a reality.
For Chris and Lisa McMillon, happiness has never been too hard to come by. They fell in love in high school and have been renting happily together since they were 18 years old. Eight years later they finally had the opportunity to invest in their own home just before tying the knot on April 11, 2015. Today, they are enjoying life together just the same, but home ownership certainly has its perks.
“When I pull up in my yard, it’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that it’s my house,” Lisa said. “If something tears up, we don’t have to wait on the landlord to take care of it. We can put things wherever we want them. We make our own choices for everything. We’re really enjoying it.”
Prior to buying their home, the McMillons rented two different houses. The couple got their degrees and found steady paying jobs, Chris at a floor covering company and Lisa as a bank teller. All along they knew that they would eventually want to invest in a home together, so as the responsible couple they were, they saved, saved, and saved some more. Two years before they got married, they moved in with Chris’s grandparents to expedite the saving process even more, and little did they know, their preparedness would allow them to buy the home of their dreams when they least expected it.
“We knew we wanted to buy a house, but we were planning to wait until after our wedding to begin looking,” Lisa said. “But a friend of my grandmother who is also a realtor in town contacted me about a great deal on a foreclosure. So we went out that afternoon, and we fell in love with it. We told her we wanted to go forward with it.”
Comparatively speaking, Lisa and Chris were ahead of the game by buying their first home at around the age of 26. Today, the average age of a first-time homebuyer is about 33 years old, which is considered the front end of the Millennial generation. The median income of first-time buyers is approximately $54,340, which is actually about the same of that in the 70s when adjusted for inflation.
“For Chris and I, the house just came along at the right time, and since we had been saving, we actually had the money for it,” Lisa said. “But you have to remember the things you’ll have to spend on once you buy the house too. You’ll have to pay to fix this and that, you have to pay to have things cleaned, and then there’s the cost of moving. You don’t really think about those things before.”
However, two years later the couple’s home is everything and more that they dreamed it would be.
“What I really love about my house is it’s an open floorplan, and I love my front porch, which has a big brick stairway attached,” Lisa said. “We also have a deck, which part of it came with the house, but Chris extended it. We also put in a pool and a private fence. The house has three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a breakfast nook. It’s not a huge house, but it’s definitely bigger than we’ve ever had before. I’m very proud to say this is my first house.”
The couple’s home is in the outskirts of Brooks County, and while a large home was never something they sought after, they did need a home big enough for themselves plus one. Today, Lisa and Chris are expecting their first child, a baby girl who will arrive in June.
“I can’t wait just to have family time – me, him, and the baby,” Lisa said. “It’s been us for so long, so it’s going to be different to have something new to love. She will be something else to get up to every day and know that someone else just loves you and is waiting on you to take care of. I just can’t wait to hold her.”
Home Is Where the Heart Is
Health & Life | April/May 2017
Written by: Sarah Turner