Justin Billingsley lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He was originally born in Ireland, but his parents immigrated to the United States when he was only two years old. They moved to Wyoming until he was four. They then moved to Arizona and he has spent his entire life there. His parents owned a marketing company all throughout his childhood. He grew up around their passion for marketing and entrepreneurial spirit. Justin Billingsley grew up dreaming of owning his own business and being his own boss. He studied sociology and business at ASU and he also has his master’s in communication studies. He was taught how to do marketing by his mother, who is also in the industry. He also did many online marketing internships during his summers in college, which greatly helped his build his resume and provide valuable experience for later in his career.

He is self-employed and does freelance work online. He does online marketing for multiple small businesses. He also writes content for various blogs and owns a small online marketing company, with all his employees working online. He helps multiple online businesses succeed in the industry. He believes that small businesses should be encouraged. Justin Billingsley believes that small business start-ups and growth are good for an economy. He actively works to help small businesses grow their brand and he has helped many companies increase their sales by 50% or more. He works from home and homeschools his daughter, Ella. Ella is 16 now and will be going off to college soon. Justin Billingsley is currently doing whatever he can to help his daughter get through school without racking up any student debt.

In what city/state was your first house located and approximately what year did you buy it?

I bought my house in Downtown Phoenix back in 2002. It was close to 12th street and Indian school a very convenient 10-minute drive from downtown Phoenix.

What was your living situation prior to buying your first house? Where/with whom/etc.?

I was living with my new wife and we were expecting our first child. We were living in a small apartment when my wife became pregnant with my first and only child.

What motivated you to purchase your first house?

My wife became pregnant soon after we got married. We wanted a house that would be suitable for a family of three, since we only intended to have one child. This house was the perfect size, it was in an adorable neighborhood which we felt would be perfect to raise our child in.

How did you go about getting the money together to buy it?

My wife and I began saving up our money for a down payment through working two jobs. We worked tirelessly to allow ourselves to save up enough money for a down payment. We got approved for the mortgage and the rest is history.  We were also given a $5000 gift from my parents.

When you purchased, were you thinking of it as an investment or as a place to start a family. Please elaborate.

I looked at it as a place to start my family. It was large enough to raise a child in, while also being an appropriate size for me and my wife to live together once our child moved out. I planned to live in that house for life. Looking back at it, my house was a good investment. The upgrades we made to the house did nothing but help the value of our house go up.

What are 3 things you liked most about the house?

I love the large spacious closet in the master bedroom. It is almost like a small room in there. I loved the simple backyard, which was small and extremely relaxing to just go outside and read a book in. I liked the simple layout of the house, it was small and felt cozy.

Was there anything you didn’t like about it?

There was an alleyway behind our house which was filthy.  We also had a problem with roof rats in that area.  We had to treat the house twice.

Did you make any improvements or major renovations to the house?

The house was old built in 1946.  It had some vintage charm which was great, but it did give us some headaches along the way and there were times when I was really worried about what we would find or what would break next.

In the year 2010, we completely renovated our house. We replaced the carpet with tile. We painted the walls beige and upgraded the kitchen. The master bedroom’s bathroom was completely upgraded, with new wall tiles and utilities. We replaced most of the plumbing and added a new A/C unit in 2016 as the old one was struggling.  If you have ever been to Phoenix, then you will know that being without air conditioning is never ever an option from April to September.

Please share 1-2 of your fondest/funniest memories from living there.

I remember all the fun times my daughter and I had together when she was little. I work from home and I homeschool my daughter. We used to always play board games and hide and go seek during the day after she was finished with her schoolwork.

When she was around five or six, I remember once I was baking cookies with her. After I mixed up all the cookie dough, I washed my hands. The next minute, I turned around the both my child and the bowl of cookie dough was missing! My wife and I searched all over the house. I remember I was looking in the closet when my wife said, “I found her!” I could tell she was shouting from the backyard, so I went out there to see what was going on. I saw her sitting on the patio floor with cookie dough all around her mouth. She was giggling and we all had a good laugh.

Do you still live there, or did you sell it or renting it?

Yes, we are still in our home. We love it we expect to here for a long time.

What advice would you give other first-time home buyers?

Make sure you are very secure in your careers and you know that you will consistently make enough to pay the mortgage. Make sure you really weigh in your options. You need to have a good understanding of what your wants and needs are in a home before you make such a big decision.  Do not be house poor. Life is too short to simply pay just for a roof over your head.  Make sure you have some residual income to take some trips, go out to eat occasionally and run a reliable car.