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what (finally) owning a home means to me…

what (finally) owning a home means to me / oh joy!

what (finally) owning a home means to me / oh joy!

The home is my most favorite place to be. I'm the person who throws on my PJ's as soon as I get home, and jumps into my bed to relax as soon as my kids go to bed. Some of my all-time favorite memories are being at home having dinner with my family catching up on our day and having friends over and talking about anything and everything while our kids play. Today, in partnership with Unison, I'm reminiscing about our long journey towards home ownership and what it means to me to be finally (almost) a home owner…

The other day, on Facebook, a friend who is a real estate agent asked this question of her fellow Facebook friends…

"How old were you when you bought your first home?"

The answers surprised me. "22! 26! 32!" exclaimed the group.

I was floored. There are people who can buy a house in their 20's?! 30's sounded better to me, but I just turned 40 this year and have not yet lived in a home that I own. Sure, I prioritized the earlier years of my adulthood differently. I started a business at age 26 with no savings and have always put most of the money I earned back into my business to help grow my team. I have also always lived in large cities that are very expensive to buy in. From New York to Philly to San Diego to Los Angeles, I never made it easy on myself to try and save up for a home in a city with reasonable real estate prices. It wasn't until we were outbid multiple times on our attempt to finally buy a house in Los Angeles 5 years ago, that we decided on the very long and crazy process of building a house instead…because, as crazy as it sounds, that's actually cheaper to do in LA than to buy an existing one!

what (finally) owning a home means to me / oh joy!

Now that we are just a couple months away from finally having our very first (and forever) house to call our own, the emotions here are real. We'll be saying goodbye to our only other home in Los Angeles that we have been renting for 9 years since first moving to LA. In the summer of 2010, we found it on a whim. We got this place before we had kids with no intention of staying as long as we have. But the rent was cheap (for our neighborhood), and it allowed us to save and save and save for a house. But as every year passed, I longed simply for a backyard for my kids to play in, a kitchen and outdoor area where I could have friends hang out, drop by, or stay for dinner. Regardless of what this home lacked in space or amenities, it's the place both of our babies have called home since the beginning of their lives, and it will always have a special place in our hearts.

what (finally) owning a home means to me / oh joy!

Every week for almost two years, I have been walking through this new home we are building that will soon be ours. While it's been the most financially stressful experience of my life, I see this home as such an amazing representation of our patience and our hard work over the last decade to finally get to this place.

Owning a home always comes back to connection for me—connecting with my family, having my kids have a place to play together and connect as sisters, and inviting friends, family, and co-workers over and being able to connect with them. And, I can't wait for all the memories this new, forever home will bring for us.

Now's your chance to share what owning a home means for you! In partnership with Unison, you can enter the #UnisonDreamHomeContest for your chance to win $25K towards buying a home or to remodel your existing home. Find out more on their website right here!

{Color Photos by Lily Glass, black and white photo by Katherine Rose. Written by Joy Cho.}


  1. So excited to see the choices you’ve made for your home come together! It’s been fun following along—can’t believe it’s been two years. I used to think doing things by a certain age meant something, but then I realized life happens. For me, I thought having goals and meeting a ‘# under #’ benchmarker was aspirational… until I received a cancer diagnosis at age 28. Everyone’s on their own timeline, and also the circumstances change. I graduated into a recession making career goals a bit more challenging than folks graduating even a few years before or after me. And up until that recession, as we know, getting a home loan was very easy even if you were young or had bad financial habits. Truly age is a number and it’s all relative. Cheesy, I know, but home really is where the love is ❤️

  2. Hi Lauren,
    Thank you for sharing I so agree! I gave up a long time ago on putting any expectations on myself and what I think I “should” be doing by any certain age…babies, home ownership, etc. It’s all about what makes sense for you and YOUR life!


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