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Starter Homes

I do like to watch the shows where the home renovation experts help young couples who are just starting out by helping them pick a house they’d like to modernize for them, but sometimes that show leaves me scratching my head. The typical show has a newly married couple in their early 20’s, sometimes with a small child, looking for a 1.6-million-dollar starter home, and the couple is legit embarrassed as they shake their heads and sadly admit that’s all the money they have to work with budget wise. In what world are newly married young couples carrying around that kind of money? For a starter home? What’s your next actual home going to be like? In prior generations, our starter “home” was either a scary, dismal apartment on the brink of being condemned, or a one room shack that served as the kitchen, living room, and bedroom if you pulled your bed down from the wall where it was hanging in suspension like a nocturnal bat in a cave. I remember our one son’s $530/month per tenant apartment in college actually had a sizable hole in the floor in the bathroom that let you see the entire living room on the story below it, yet he was thrilled to live in that two-story apartment building with a bunch of his friends. The furniture the couples use nowadays after the renovation looks straight out of a magazine. The furniture we had in starter homes came from either a corner of the street where people put old couches out with a “Please Take this Eyesore for Free” sign on it, or we squirreled up enough change to hit a garage sale to find the least offensive smelling couch that looked like it probably survived a flood at one point of its long, sad life. You had no idea it was filled with stray cats until you brought it home, sat on it, and Fluffy jumped out looking to be fed. We didn’t have accent pillows either. Not only was that a luxury, but what accent color would actually go with a horrid, teal-greenish brown couch with flattened, ripped cushions? Or those stiff, scratchy couches that had a whole barn scene mural on them. That was your artwork and furniture wrapped into one…a real penny saver right there. But what drives me nuts on the show is when the experts take their young clients to a home in the neighborhood they want, and explain to them that after purchasing the home, their remaining renovation budget of $500,000 will be used to make the house look like they want….but the couple is skeptical!! They can’t see the experts’ vision beyond the original ugly carpet in front of them! Are you kidding me? Your renovation budget costs more than my house and vehicles combined, and you can’t get past the carpet color? Have they never watched the show before? Boy I sure hope these young couples can limp through life with that “small” budget to start out their new lives with; I’m certainly routing for them! Do you remember your first place or your first furniture?

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