As an immigrant millennial, I have a complicated relationship with the idea of homeownership.
In 1999, my parents bought their first home with the full-time paychecks of four adults. In 1999. Many of the adults in my life have immigrated from India without college degrees. The ones who came with degrees have struggled to translate those skills into careers in America, so the probability of them buying a home today seems highly unlikely.
Given my family background, even thinking about buying a home was a big dream. To be able to do it, a real dream come true. I have two entities to thank for getting me to this point in my life: Landed and my cousin who said “good luck” when I first told him I wanted to buy a home in the Bay Area.
I love a good challenge. So, since my cousin’s remark on May 18th, 2019, I became obsessed with attaining homeownership. The idea started to form in 2018 when I joined Landed. To anyone out there who feels like homeownership is unrealistic - it is possible! Whatever your situation, set some goals, create a timeline, and you can make it happen. We’re here to support you along the way.
My family and I go to temple in West Oakland. I have seen that neighborhood change before my eyes for over a decade. Although I knew that’s where my heart was set on living, I was struggling to decide between a new townhome or an older, single family home. I asked potential agents “if this is my first home, not my forever home, what are the pros and cons I should weigh regarding different types of properties?” It was that first, big question I had that initiated my conversations with Edward Ong, a Landed partner agent, along with some family members who work in real estate – I have a cousin who is an agent and an uncle who is a broker. Although Edward is a Landed partner agent who has supported many of our educator homebuyers, he also works with various homebuyers outside of Landed from Monterey to Vallejo. Just after posing this initial question, I knew Edward would be realistic and support me in understanding all of the things along my homebuying journey - however big or small - in a way my family members would not.
My family, while well-intentioned, was not listening to my needs. They encouraged me to target investment properties. So, when it got to the point of looking at seller disclosures, inspection reports and such, they were not the most helpful. My family focused on the price of homes being a “good deal,” but overlooked some potential issues with properties. Working at Landed has taught me a thing or two about how to spot significant red flags in property disclosure documents, no matter how nicely a home is staged for an open house.
Edward, on the other hand, took the time to answer questions on pages 23, 27, 89, 123, and more. Unlike my family members, he was able to talk to me about the greater market trends in a rational way - with data, proof points, and historical trends. My family just wanted me to trust them throughout the process. “We’ve been in the Bay and the real estate business for longer than you have been around, trust us,” is essentially what they would say.
Buying a home is a huge decision, and relying on trust did not feel like the best thing to do. I was able to buy a new townhouse in West Oakland. I am five minutes walking distance from the temple where my father still cooks and I visit as frequently as I can. I have seen this neighborhood transform from what it once was, and I’m eternally grateful to be able to reside in this community that means so much to me. I will not say reclaim, as it was never my land. However, it has always been my community and I do view being able to buy in this quickly changing neighborhood a way of shifting my family’s narrative in a small way. I have seen the amount of care and diligence our partner agents bring to supporting our homebuyers. Whether you are using Landed’s down payment program or not, we build the most supportive team around you, including our agents.