Young family says buying first home 'feels really good'

Jonathan and Tiffany Lavy and their children, Shea and Brayden.

Jonathan and Tiffany Lavy and their two kids, eight-year-old daughter Shea and five-year-old son Brayden, live in a three-bedroom, two-bath starter home they own, and they’re nailing one of the prime goals they had before buying: They’re only paying a little more per month than they’d been paying in rent.

“We’d had a couple of rental houses since we moved to the Stephenville area and they were all old and needed updating,” Tiffany said, “and we paid close to a thousand dollars a month. At the end of the year, we had nothing to show for it. We just didn’t want to be tenants anymore.

“So we started looking to buy in 2010 but didn’t find anything until 2011. That was hardcore, looking at several houses a week for six to eight months. It was tough.”

They wanted something around $100,000 that was better than their rental home, Tiffany said, but quickly found out that was impossible.

“It was very frustrating,” she said.

But then they drove by the Amber Homes sign at the entrance to the Lake Wood development north of Highway 281 that advertises “Homes starting in the $130's.”

“We’d never thought about building, thinking it would be too expensive. But our realtor, Heidi Olsen, called the people at Amber Homes and they said our price range was actually a possibility,” she explains. “So we ended up building and it turned out to be a great experience.”

Tiffany says, “We feel a real sense of pride in home ownership now. It’s just a great feeling. Plus it’s an investment and there are tax advantages. Being tenants, we had none of that.

“Ours was the third house built on this street and now there’s not a single vacant lot on it, so we grew with the neighborhood. It feels really good," she said. "Everybody watches out for the kids and we’ve built such good relationships here. If I need a cup of sugar, I can just walk over and borrow a cup.”