Homeowners are living the American Dream. It’s true. As bad as that leaky faucet or how crazy your neighbors may be, it’s still the quintessential financial dream of nearly anyone you speak to who doesn’t own a home.
Now, as a parent, you want to raise your child/children under the roof of that American Dream. They grow up, go to school, make friends, play sports or maybe they’re in the arts. Whatever their interests, your interests are making sure they grow up safe, healthy and happy.
That’s absolutely your job and absolutely what you should be doing. What we may not think about however, is when the proper age is to talk to your child about home ownership. This is a topic that is becoming of great importance as we have seen how Millennials have not been buying homes anywhere near the rate of the previous generations. The question of parents needs to be asked,
“What are we doing to ensure our children will be homeowners in their adult life?”
It’s an easy conversation to have and you can raise children to become homeowners, if you take the right steps. It’s as much about state of mind as it about financial resources. Getting your child to live like a homeowner will set them up to reach that dream because they’ll believe it of themselves. We all know how resourceful kids can be when they want something. That doesn’t change in adulthood if that ‘something’ is wanted bad enough.
Take for example the difference in the past few years. Millennials are finally making their way into the housing market. They’re showing up in real numbers on the real estate buying and selling scene. There were many valid reasons that they weren’t buying or selling homes before, staggering student debt being one of them. Now, however, they’re settling into homes at a new rate.
When should I start?
Raising your child as a homeowner isn’t just about money. It’s also about being responsible around the house. That makes the answer to this question: ‘immediately!”
When you’re child is a toddler or you’re beginning to train their mindset that in adulthood, they’ll be a homeowner, it’s about introducing them to different tasks you do as a homeowner Here are 3 easy steps that you can start at any age:
- Let them help around the house.
Homeowners fix, repair, clean, organize, tidy up and care about the appearance of a home. When you involve children in this process, talk to them about what you’re doing and get their input. It can be as small as having your five year-old help you with a toy hammer on a repair. When they have a sense of accomplishment for caring for their home now, they’ll understand that when they grow up, they’ll be caring for their own home.
2. Introduce them to different types of houses.
Different types homes have distinct defining features. When you’re watching a show where people are buying a home, talk to your child about the different type of homes and those features that you see. Chat about what they’re seeing or what each room is actually called and other tidbits about the home. You’re not creating mini-Realtors®. You’re just talking with your child about houses. It’s no big deal, except that it is a big deal, because besides raising a homeowner, your child is enjoying the time you’re actually just… talking.
3. Talk about the bills you’re paying each month
Now, this is the point where you have to resist the urge to blame them for the high price of the electric bill. Though they’re probably a good bit to blame, what you’re doing is showing another part of the responsibilities that come with home ownership. Talk about your mortgage bill and how it’s broken down. Do your taxes come out of it? Older children will love this and younger children will be fascinated by what you’re saying. Even if your money comes out automatically, check your account and make sure it’s been withdrawn and for the proper amount. It’s about including your child in that repetitive tasks that stem from being a homeowner.
These tips are subtle and done early enough, a child will grow with the belief that being a homeowner as an adult is an absolute.