Angie's List: Millennial Homeowners

With home ownership at its lowest level since 1965, millennials figure heavily into that equation. We do see that not everyone from that generation is content just paying rent, and many have embraced home remodeling.

While the National Association of Realtors says the median age of first-time homebuyers is 31 years old, Matthew and Erica Waggoner got in the game in their mid-20s, and after living in their first house for five years, bought and renovated a 1920s residence.

“I can tell you Matt and I were not one of those people that ever thought we would do this, ever,” Erica says. “We had some friends that renovated a home, so we got to see kind of what they were doing.”

Before jumping in, the couple with two young kids made sure the numbers made sense.

“When considering how much you can afford in a house, remember to look at the big picture,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks says. “It’s not just the mortgage. It’s the insurance, the property taxes, and as a rule of thumb, homeowners spend about 3 percent of the value of their home in repair and maintenance each year.”

The Waggoners added 1,000 square feet and an open floor plan that suited their needs.

“We’re a family that loves to host, and so having the ability to have 20 or 30 people in a room, we absolutely love,” Matthew says.

The couple did what they could, but knew when to go with a pro.

“If you don’t really know what you’re doing, I mean Matt and I both just wanted to go the route where we hired someone because that’s what their expertise is,” Erica says.

The remodel brought some cross-generational pride from Matthew’s 92-year-old grandfather, who visited throughout construction.

“He said, ‘I’m so proud that you’re so proud that you’ve made this a home,” Matthew says.

While buying a house is often an emotional decision, regardless of age, Angie says to always keep a level head so you can make the right choices.