Want to hear what it's like on the homeowning frontlines? Here are personal thoughts and anecdotes from several young prospective, former, or current homeowners in greater Portland.
On why they wanted to buy:
"I got really sick of paying rent, which is essentially paying someone else's mortgage. Because I'm young — and have gotten lucky with apartments — I've only spent about $14,000 in rent over my lifetime. But that's $14,000 I'll never see again. It doesn't even help my credit score that I paid that rent on time! I also love home improvement projects, and it killed me that when I got the urge to tear up the carpet or change the tile in my apartment, I couldn't do it. And even if I got permission to, it would have been a worthless investment. Now I'm close to owning my dream fixer-upper — a historic renovated barn with plenty of room for improvement. I watch HGTV almost every night and walk the aisles of Home Depot on the weekends, my eyes wide with possibility!"
Bridget Burns, 25, account executive, Portland Phoenix; in the process of securing a loan for a home in Kennebunk, which is currently owned by her parents.
"I grew up in the Portland area, left for some years, and returned in 1999. It took me nine years to decide that I really do like living here, and I should make it a long-term plan. I've never made much of an effort to personalize any apartments I've lived in, so the idea of taking ownership in my home, creating a garden, and having more space was a really natural next step."
Nat May, 36, executive director, SPACE Gallery; bought a house in South Portland in October 2008.
"I am a single girl with seriously strong nesting tendencies ... I figured, hey — I have a good job, I love the city I live in, my family is here, I have great friends nearby, I don't see myself wanting to leave the area in the next five to seven years."
Kelly McGinty, 29, retail operation manager, Zane; signed on her Back Cove home in June 2007 (she rents two rooms to help pay her mortgage).
"It was something I'd always wanted. I'm a nester by nature, and pretty handy with remodeling, and I just knew it made good economic sense over the long run not to continue paying rent. It was also one of my top reasons for leaving San Francisco and coming to Maine; owning a home in many parts of the country just isn't a reality and Maine real estate is still very reasonable compared to most markets. At the time I thought I was a real smarty-pants, getting into the action-jackson, securing my economic future, and all that crap. I've always been told that owning a house was one of the wisest decisions an adult can make and I still hold to that theory, mostly..."
Jed Rathband, 36, founder, Stone's Throw Consulting, and registered real-estate broker with Keller Williams; bought a house in East Bayside in March, 2006 (he rents to housemates to help pay his mortgage).