• Jessica Vantiegham

Livin' The Dream

Did you know that June was homeownership month? You know when I found that out? Two years ago. Bad Realtor, I know. 

This year I decided to figure out the backstory…whether it was legit or another made up celebration to further certain interested parties…turns out it’s a little of both.   National Homeownership Week began in 1995 as a strategy of President Clinton’s administration to increase homeownership across the nation. In 2002, President Bush expanded the observance to the entire month of June.  Obviously, this was done for economic factors as well as political....but, it got me thinking about homeownership and all it entails...both as someone in the profession and a homeowner herself. 

Owning a home myself seemed like an impossible mission as a little girl. Let’s just say that a double wide trailer would have been a huge upgrade from government housing where I spent my formative years. I won’t get into the details, but you could chalk it down to a single mother who had zero ambition to do more with her life nor improve that of her children’s lives. Fast forward to when I rented my first apartment at 17…it was not glamorous, but it was mine and I was intent on making it pretty. I painted, landscaped, and updated fixtures.  My landlord ended up increasing rent for the next poor soul.   Improving and making a space my own would be the first thing I did with each new lease I signed until i was able to finally buy my first home…all by myself.   

I cannot convey to you how much pride I had in myself while signing those documents that would land me squarely into the quintessential “American Dream.” To know that I was an official homeowner. That I did it without a single donated penny from family, a spouse, or a partner. And that it was the direct result of bettering myself, my career and circumstances that landed me at that closing table. My pride and reno junkie persona overrode any of the icky feels that comes with signing off on a 30-year mortgage note. It was this amazing new world where I could do more than paint the walls a different color. I could knock down walls and tear up landscaping.    My name was officially on a deed. 

My husband and I have since owned many homes. It is a running joke with anyone who knows me that we move every two years like clockwork. It’s true. I love the change of scenery and the ability to take on projects, improve and repeat it all over again. My husband once told me he takes comfort in the fact that we will have no option but to stay put when we enter a nursing home. I had to gently remind him that they have different suites within those communities. 

Homeownership can mean a variety of things to each and every one of us.  It ranges from something as monumental as putting down roots or as pragmatic as building equity.  One meaning that every single client has in common with each other is this: it is a place to call home. A little piece of land or space in a building that becomes their safe spot from the world to love, grow and relax. 

Becoming a Realtor® has been nothing short of a dream job for me and not because I couldn’t hack it in the real world. Prior to becoming a Realtor, I held positions in corporate America for nearly 20 years. I helped ring the New York Stock Exchange Bell, traveled all over the country and met a ton of impressively successful people….but helping my clients close on a home they love is one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career. Hands down. And I get to do it over and over.

So, for all of my homeowner friends, clients and colleagues…Happy Homeownership Month! For those of you thinking about making the leap…let’s talk. 

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