Times have changed and housing has become more expensive, while income levels haven’t kept up.
Shared housing was always the norm for me in my twenties but eventually, I was able to afford a small place of my own. It has become more difficult for the current generation to do the same.
That has led to some late nights, worrying about our adult children.
Our eldest son Mark has always been a saver.
He isn’t interested in accumulating things, has never felt the need to own a car and didn’t have a cell phone of his own until his mid-twenties.
He wasn’t interested in the traditional path of going to college or university and then getting a job in his chosen career. Online gaming has always been his focus. I didn’t always understand that this could be a possible career, thinking that it was a waste of time.
He works in the service industry, which offers mainly minimum wage positions. This allows him to choose to work early morning shifts as they suit his online schedule. He is able to live stream to different audiences in time zones all around the world.
Housing security has been a concern as rents have risen. The cost of a single bedroom in a shared home has moved out of reach for many young people.
To add to the stress, his roommates were partiers and he would often find someone passed out in the bathroom when he would get up for his early shift.
We had put aside some money for his education and Mark had added to it over the years, making a nice little nest egg. I encouraged him to consider purchasing a place of his own. At first, he wasn’t interested; I think it sounded too complicated, but about a year later, he came to me and said he’d like to take the leap.
We met with a realtor and he showed us a couple of two-bedroom apartments that our son could barely afford, even if he rented out one of the rooms. I was discouraged at how quickly real estate prices had gone up and I wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to swing it after all.
The realtor mentioned he had a listing for a two-bedroom coming up at a price closer to Mark’s budget. There was nothing else in that price range on the market so we were very interested.
The realtor told us the tenant had been there a long time, so the place needed some work.
He didn’t mention how much stuff she had.
The apartment was overflowing. There were large wall units in the living room, two couches and several overstuffed chairs. I found tires stored behind the TV.
The walls were sticky with smoke and there were holes in a couple of walls. The bathroom needed some repairs and the whole place needed paint.
We could see there was real potential underneath it all and I could tell Mark loved it. I met his glance and he gave me a nod.
The real estate market was hot and most places had been selling higher than list price. We were sure this one would too, so we wrote an offer for more than asking.
There would be other offers so we tried to make our offer competitive.
Sure enough, our realtor called to say the seller’s realtor was holding the offers until the Monday so more buyers could have a chance to view it.
Darn, we thought. More buyers meant more offers. That could mean we might not get the apartment and this one was perfect for Mark.
That night, I had a dream about an older couple, sitting at a table in their kitchen. It was cold inside, and rain-streaked the small window over the sink. There were a lot of papers in front of them and the man sighed as he sorted them into piles. He was talking about their apartment; wishing they could figure out how to sell it faster. Having a tenant made things a lot more complicated.
I realized it was all about the tenant.
In the morning, I called Mark and we went to meet with our realtor. We changed our offer to allow the tenant to remain in place and changed the dates to close the deal in under 30 days.
It was an ‘as-is’ offer.
The realtor was startled, but made the changes and sent it off.
That Monday, we received a call. The sellers loved our offer, especially the quick closing and our acceptance of the tenant. There was just one problem. There was another offer that was $5000 more than ours. Would we be willing to meet their price?
Of course we were. Mark is now a proud owner of his first apartment. It was possible, all because we listened to the dream.
Sometimes the universe conspires to make a dream come true.