I met my husband in my early 20s and he was in the process of purchasing his grandmother’s old house in Milford, Connecticut.  Excited to keep the house in the family, his grandmother let him buy the house for a very decent price. It was an exciting time for him, and for us.  

It was a modest size Cape about one mile from the beach and we considered it our starter home.  I remember my first visit to the house.  As I entered the front door all I saw was pink – pink carpet, pink walls, and a pink celling.  The house was indeed a handyman special.  It needed new, well, everything – new wiring to be brought up to code, insulation, sheetrock, flooring, kitchen cabinets, yes everything.  I suggested hiring contractors to do the work but after learning how expensive it was, we decided to do most the work ourselves.  We put a plan and a timeline together then applied for a Sikorsky Credit Union home equity loan.  We sunk all our time and money into this house.  At the same time, our friends were purchasing big, beautiful homes that were move-in ready.  But along with their big, beautiful home, came a big (not so beautiful) mortgage payment.  

Over time my feelings for this house quickly went from excitement to a thorn in my side.  We spent our weekends grouting tile, while our friends were out having fun evenings. But after 2 years of hard work, our home was finally done!  Looking back, it was a fun project to take on with my husband.  I learned a lot about sheetrocking and tongue & groove flooring.  We saved a lot of money doing the work ourselves.  

In more recent years, I’ve heard financial experts say it’s a sound financial decision to “keep your starter home, as your forever home” and we did just that.  After 15 years and 3 kids later, we currently live mortgage free!  

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