First-Time homebuyer thankful to land dream home before Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 8:49 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Between cooking Thanksgiving dinner, shopping for presents and hanging lights, it may seem like finding your dream home is too good to be true.

According to the Northwest Illinois Alliance of Realtors:

Housing inventory across the Rockford region fell more than 20% between September 2021 and 2022. Nearly 600 homes available in 2021 dropped to more than 450 homes this past September.

The average three-month home price also rose from almost $180,000 in September 2021 to more than $192,000 two months ago.

Interest rates almost hit 7% at the end of October, the highest rate locally in 20 years.

For one Rockford man, that wasn’t the case for him this holiday season, despite all of those factors.

After eight months of searching for the right place, Craig Young lands his first home just in time to celebrate the holidays with his family.

“I’m thankful that we found this home. This is like thanksgiving and Christmas wrapped all into one.”

Young moved to Rockford from Florida in 2008 because the cost of living was cheaper. He lived in an apartment and planned to find another one but wanted something more for himself and his two kids.

“I had certain requirements because this is the biggest purchase of your life. You have to do it right.”

Young says he is thankful to get all of the amenities he wanted in the house plus a neighborhood group with added benefits.

“I didn’t feel the same as I felt about the other homes. I felt like this was the right house for me and my family.”

Young paid more than he wanted for his first home but says the money wasn’t a factor. He ended up making a lifelong friend: his realtor Felicia Esmond.

“After he signed his name on the dotted line, my relationship with him does not stop there. I will call him and say hey, how’s it going? How’s your family,” says Esmond.

The buying process might feel like an eternity but Young and Esmond say to be patient because things will all work out in the end.

“He and I have been searching for a while and the fact that we found something that exceeded his expectations was a huge plus,” says Esmond.

“If we don’t get another gift for the rest of the year. We don’t mind because we got the biggest gift we could ever get. Great relationship building new friendships and a beautiful new home,” says Young.

Craig says he is a late bloomer in the housing market. He is 45 years old. The average age for a Rockford homeowner in 2021 is 33 years old.

Some of the homes Young wanted were sold before he could put in an offer. He was outbid on a couple of homes on the market, while others failed a home inspection.