According to the most recent census data I could find, the homeownership rate among the millennial generation is 47.9 percent. The homeownership rate among Victoria Hugo-Vidals is now 100 percent.

I know that my street cred as a real millennial lies partially in the fact that I live with my mom, but becoming a homeowner before I turn 30 (which I am scheduled to do in September) is definitely the most baby boomer-ish thing I have ever done. And when my mom first became a homeowner, she had the benefit of being married to a lawyer. I did this by myself, as a secretary. I earned every penny of the down payment myself; and my name is the only one on the mortgage.

Keeping a lid on this for the past two months has been incredibly difficult (anyone with the misfortune to have interacted with me personally in the last few months has heard about nothing but The Great Housing Quest of 2022) but the closing has happened, the papers have been signed (and signed … and signed …) and it’s official. I am now the proud owner  of a 1993 sky-blue two-bedroom one-bathroom single-wide mobile home in Wiscasset. No, not the postcard part. I’m on just under two slightly swampy acres between the speedway and the dump.

But as iconic millennial character Shrek once put it, “it’s MY swamp!”

The inside of the house is a museum of early 1990s interior design (every room has a different floral wallpaper) but the preservation of the original decor is indicative of preservation throughout. The previous owner of the home took very good care of it. I never had the blessing of meeting her but she was clearly a fastidious woman and I am honored to take up residence here. She also left three teddy bears in a curio cabinet – one dressed as a sailor, one in a little disco suit, and one in a raincoat. They are like me and my siblings in bear form (I am the disco suit one, obviously).

As soon as I saw those guardian totems at the house walk-through I knew this house was the one for me. I just liked their vibe. Now, will I be doing some redecorating? Of course. My mom keeps sending me articles from HGTV and if I don’t start doing something soon I’m pretty sure she’s going to break into the house and start wainscoting. But the teal wall-to-wall carpeting is growing on me.

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The house is just under 900 square feet, which will make it very cheap to heat and cool, and has also made purchasing furniture pretty easy. I got a sofa and a chair for the living room and boom! No room for any more furniture.

My dog Janey isn’t going to be able to move in for a few weeks – we wanted to get all the furniture delivered first, since her worst nightmare is strange men walking around her house – but she’s been for a visit. The first thing she did when she arrived was enthusiastically roll around on the front lawn, which I took as a good sign. The second thing she did was run around the house and under the deck (did I mention there was a deck?). Any critters lodging under there have officially been served an eviction notice.

The neighborhood I’m in is quiet and rural, but close enough to important services that I feel comfortable. (Janey’s new vet is going to be five minutes away, which I’m sure will come in handy in case the Wiscasset porcupines are as combative as Buxton’s). The neighbors have been welcoming. The part of Wiscasset I’m in feels a lot like Buxton, but much more affordable. This chunk of the American Dream was under $150,000.

I’m feeling grateful, and proud, and lucky, and stressed (the to-do and to-buy list just keeps growing!) I also feel guilty. There are so few affordable properties on the market right now, and so many people looking to buy them, that the fact that I scored this home means someone else didn’t. We all desperately need to help create more affordable housing, both for renting and for owning. What I’ve bought with this mortgage isn’t just a home, it’s security and predictability.

Unlike a landlord (say, for example, the absolute ghouls who own and operate Redbank Village in South Portland), the bank can’t just randomly decide to jack up my payments by $400 a month because they feel like making more money. I’ve worked hard for this, no doubt about it. I’ve been working overtime at multiple jobs and running side hustles for years. But there are a lot of other millennials who work just as hard as me and who haven’t received my lucky break. They are no less deserving of the American Dream than I am.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:
[email protected]
Twitter: @mainemillennial


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