Hey. I’m one of the adorable little homes in a hip, up-and-coming neighborhood that are within walking distance to your workplace, artisan tea shops, and the local grocery co-op. You graduated college in 2014, right as the housing market bounced back from the recession and market rates started climbing.

You decided to take a chance on a prestigious year-long internship in the city to set you apart from other candidates in the future. This position required you to work 60+ hours a week for minimum wage with no benefits, BUT you did get a killer letter of recommendation from the assistant manager of the firm, which eventually helped you land a coveted entry-level position at another agency.

Unfortunately, “entry-level” translates to about $19 an hour which, unfortunately, can’t afford the median $400,000 home prices here in the area. Guess you’ll be living outside the city for a bit longer than expected. HMU if your boss decides to give you a fair wage increase that’s adjusted for the standard cost of living!”

“You could have bought me, a cute, brick bungalow in 2009 during the housing slump for next to nothing when you were 21; unfortunately, you were simultaneously laid off from your first “big-girl job” because you had just entered the workforce and were therefore expendable. Too bad you faced six months of unemployment and then had to bounce between minimum-wage jobs for a few years until the economy got back onto its feet.

Couldn’t you buy one now? Oh, the housing market is now out of reach for you? Oh man. Bad timing, I guess.”

“Hi. I was a three-bedroom starter home in 2015 in a great little neighborhood. You were two years out of college, saving every penny you could between the expenses of moving into an apartment with one roommate (instead of the usual four) and starting to pay off your student loans. You had $10,000 saved up and you proudly went to the local credit union to finance a loan.

However, you found out that because you had been so responsible during college, living beneath your means and never putting anything on a Visa card, you had no credit history. You mentioned that you’ve been paying off your student loans and were actually ahead of the payment schedule, but that didn’t impress them. You tried to open a credit card with five different banks, but they were all too nervous to give you one since you didn’t have any credit history. Maybe next year!”

“So, I saw you graduate with a sought-after degree in IT; the job prospects were wide open for you! You applied for jobs in all the booming tech cities: Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Reno, San Fran, NYC, Salt Lake, etc. The entry-level positions pay well, around $70,000 starting.

Unfortunately, the housing prices in these areas are sky-rocketing. You’ll be able to afford it, but you’ll have to put off having kids for a bit as your expenses will be strapped. Oh well.”

“Yo, it’s me: the brand-new condo that sits on the same lot that rent-controlled housing used to be on. But don’t worry: if management chooses to spontaneously hike rent to keep up with demand, they’ll tell you a month in advance.

I may look pretty and modern, but my walls are paper-thin and there’s not technically enough parking spaces for all of the tenants here. Good thing we’re on the bus line! There is a community pool, but it will only be open from May 31-September 1st (weather pending). However, please be sure to take year-round advantage of the workout room! A guy named Tony is usually down there for at least two hours a day, and he’s very friendly; he loves to get to know all of the female tenants in the complex.

He’ll show you around, but here’s the basic rundown of the facility: there’s one treadmill, one elliptical, a staticky TV, and a set of barbells. Often, the machines break down, but if you get ahold of the property manager, they’ll send someone to check on it within two-six weeks. If you complain and threaten to move if they don’t speed things up, they won’t care; there’s a waiting list to move in since the city is getting overcrowded.”

“Hello there, I’m the 1970s tract home you just bought last year. I originally sold for $43,000 and you, as the second owner of this place, just paid $410,000 for me. Man, the previous owners are STOKED! Thanks to you, these Baby Boomers are starting their retirement off right by buying a Mercedes RV and a cabin on a lake that they outfitted with high-end appliances and top-of-the-line furnishings.

Meanwhile, I come with all the original pipes, wood paneling, and carpet! You better plan on putting at least another $30,000 into remodeling me because, let me tell you, my roof ain’t what it used to be. Also, the original owners enjoyed the heat; they never bothered to install an air conditioning unit. You’re definitely going to want to look into getting one of those because these decades-old single-pane windows don’t do much for keeping out the summer temps.

Guess you won’t be going on any weekend getaways or dining out anytime soon; gotta lock down those extra expenses. Good luck saving for your retirement!”