My husband and I don’t fit the can’t-afford-to-buy-a-house millennial stereotype—thanks to our two incomes and relatively low debt, were able to purchase a starter home early in our relationship.
We looked at 10 houses in one day, and when we walked into the 10th, it blew all the others away. It was in a quiet neighborhood on a corner lot, which was slightly elevated, and out every window you could see only trees and conservation areas. We moved in and giddily unpacked. This was the perfect home to start our life.
It wasn’t long before we realized that, while the home was great, the part of town where it was located just wasn’t right for us. The neighborhood was quiet… too quiet. There were no other residents our age, and all the restaurants, breweries and entertainment we enjoyed were a 20-minute drive away. Our only restaurant options were fast food or bad barbecue, and we found ourselves bored, watching Netflix more often than not.
We realized we wanted a neighborhood like the ones our parents and grandparents talked about: everyone knowing and caring about their neighbors coming together for dinner and game nights, and having the things we enjoyed within a walkable distance. We heard descriptions like this about a historic neighborhood near downtown and decided it was our best bet.
We happened to close on our house right before Hurricane Irma, and after the storm we rushed downtown to check the damage. The house was fine, but we found a massive oak limb blocking our road. Just minutes later, a small group of people walking around with handsaws was outside cutting it up and dragging it to the curb. We pitched in and learned they were neighbors trying to clear the roads so cars and power trucks could get through. On the community’s Facebook page, others were offering food and coffee, showers and guest bedrooms to those without power. It was proof we’d picked the right place.
We’re now the proud owners of a home built in 1904 and doing our best to take care of her (I like to call her Grandma when she gets fussy about something) in what I believe to be the best neighborhood in the world. We have neighbors who are becoming like family, and frequent social events like Sunday concerts in the park, First Friday cocktail parties and Porch Beer Crew get-togethers. Did you happen to see that viral video of the middle-aged man dancing to “Wow” by Post Malone? He lives here, too. Because of the tight-knit culture in this neighborhood, you can meet some truly awesome people here.
So, my advice to other millennials looking for “home” would be to seek out pockets of community within a city that our parents and grandparents would be surprised to know still exist—with neighbors that welcome you, watch out for you and make you feel truly at home.