My siblings and I were blessed to have grown up in a nice home in one of the better communities of my hometown. As a young man, it didn't seem like such a big deal to me that our home was paid off. As I grew up, however, I realized that most of my friend's parents still had huge mortgages in addition to a lot of consumer debt. Now that my wife and I have our own mortgage, I have an even greater appreciation for what they were able to achieve.
My parents ended up selling that house years ago and purchased a new home in a retirement community on a beautiful golf course. During a recent conversation with them, I learned that they only have a ~$23K balance on their mortgage and will likely have it paid off soon. Wow! Most people are lucky if they pay off one house in their lifetime and my parents are going to have done it twice.