Talking about home ownership without the chest-puff

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The humble brag. If you’re not sure what that is, just ask anyone who has been frustratingly locked out of the housing market due to prices and mortgage rates and does NOT smile and nod when you say, “We now own a home — well, okay. Along with the bank.” It’s a statement that tells your friend you achieved what they have not, but with a caveat that you also have a mortgage.

You continue your humble brag by talking about a few home improvement projects that constantly have you filling up a cart at Home Depot. And while you act like you’re complaining, your renter friend might see it as a boast.

Is this a millennial thing? Probably. Realtor.com’s Sally Jones touches on the topic. “Given the current real estate environment, it will be no surprise that homeownership is becoming quite the status symbol,” she says. “In fact, a good mortgage rate is said to be the latest humble brag, shared at house parties and social events.”

Going even further, some people post about it on their dating profiles. But if you look at big discussion forums like Reddit, you’ll find it filled with countless testy posts from those who hate it. Jones cites one critic of this boasting practice: “What is with all of the profiles identifying that they are a ‘homeowner’ or ‘have a mortgage’?” posts someone who identifies herself as a 31-year-old woman from the Washington, DC, area. “It seems very odd/off-putting. … Are we supposed to applaud you for ‘adulting’?”

Those of us who bought homes when rates were significantly lower or were able to refinance during the pandemic may never have considered our purchases a badge of affluence. But if you are one of those who recently closed escrow, what does bragging about it achieve? Jones did some sleuthing on the topic.

The path has not changed much. You’re born, you grow up, you do what it takes to go to college or get a great job, you meet the right person, and you either move in together or get married (well, sometimes both). Then your goal is to “settle down” which usually means buying a home. Homeownership has been the adult, wealth-building “brass ring” for as long as it has been attainable for middle-class Americans.

Jones offers some history, however: “By the late 1940s, being able to purchase your own affordable “starter home” was key to achieving the American dream,” she says. “Buying a house became a symbol of social mobility, a sign that you were solidly middle class—and climbing the wealth ladder.” She says that after the 1950s, buying a home, while not exactly easy, was an achievable dream for many Americans of all classes.

While real estate has always been volatile (some of us recall the double-digit sky-high mortgage rates in the 1980s and easily remember the housing crisis of 2007–08), today’s wallet-busting housing costs, low home inventory, and mortgage interest rates are the highest they’ve been in years—making buying a home that much harder.

Jones offers an example: “In 2021, a homebuyer with a 20% down payment and a 2.5% mortgage interest rate on a 30-year loan for a $500,000 home would have been looking at a $1,975 monthly mortgage payment. Fast-forward to today, with a mortgage and that last figure rises to a hefty $3,056.” Incomes may have gone up, but not enough to match that hit to the budget.

Apartment building projects are everywhere these days — especially in the suburbs, where people want to live but can’t afford to buy. With mortgage rates predicted to stay relatively high and some buyers fearing they’ve missed their opportunity, you can see why talking about being a homeowner and/or having a low mortgage interest rate would rankle buyers stuck on the sidelines.

Thus, instead of expecting kudos, the humble brag that intends to impress elicits envy instead. “It’s even more painful when the home in question was purchased in the “before times”—before and during COVID-19, when home prices hadn’t peaked yet and when interest rates were at historic lows,” says Jones.

To see how the home-owning humble brag sounds to others, Jones took a look at how it affects a potential partner. 48-year-old Susan (from Kansas) says seeing that a potential date has a home certainly doesn’t hurt. “I am a busy, single mom who occasionally goes on dating sites,” she says. “I prefer a man that is a homeowner, and those statements don’t bother me! It conveys responsibility and that they have put roots down.”

But 27-year-old Pennsylvanian Jeremy thinks it could go either way. “They may be looking to convey responsibility or gloat about owning a home as well,” he says.

“Like it or not, one’s dating profile is competing with all other dating profiles, and everyone is trying to find a way to stand out from the rest,” says dating guru and author Kevin Darné, who adds that it might say as much about the values of the braggart as it does about their wannabe love match.

Why do we humble-brag? While it’s a form of self-promotion, many believe it’s also a plea to make you think more highly of them. Instead, it can have the opposite effect, according to Jones. Cornell University’s Övül Sezer studies what she terms “impression (mis)management” — the mistakes people make when trying to impress others.

Sezer actually led a team of researchers studying humble bragging and learned that a brag wrapped in a complaint or false humility is perceived as worse than bald self-promotion.

“The proliferation of humble bragging in social media, the workplace, and everyday life suggests that people believe it to be an effective self-promotion strategy. Yet we show that people readily denigrate humble braggers,” according to Sezer.

Let’s face it: Some people respond negatively to any form of bragging. The thing is, all people from all walks of life are likely to find humble bragging even worse, according to Sezer’s research. Because, in addition to seeming insecure, humble braggarts also sound insincere.

So how can you SHARE the fact that you bought a great home for a sweet price and snagged a low rate? You are, after all, one to be envied in these harsh housing market conditions.

Jones says to keep it simple. Be sincere. When you’re talking to people, wait until you’ve established a connection and let homeownership come up naturally in the conversation. Perhaps even wait to be asked. At that point, honestly revealing your lucky status will be icing on the cake.

Realtor, TBWS


All information furnished has been forwarded to you and is provided by thetbwsgroup only for informational purposes. Forecasting shall be considered as events which may be expected but not guaranteed. Neither the forwarding party and/or company nor thetbwsgroup assume any responsibility to any person who relies on information or forecasting contained in this report and disclaims all liability in respect to decisions or actions, or lack thereof based on any or all of the contents of this report.

J.C. Mier The Mortgage GOAT

Branch Manager/ Loan Officer

NMLS: 258527

Alpha Loan Group- Alterra Home Loans

14800 Quorum Drive, Suite 110, Dallas TX 75254

Company NMLS: 258527 /133739

Office: 469-628-4544

Cell: 469-628-4544

Email: jc@themortgagegoat.net

Web: http://www.themortgageGOAT.net

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J.C. Mier The Mortgage GOAT

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Branch Manager/ Loan Officer

NMLS: 258527

Cell: 469-628-4544


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