by Jennifer Stojanovich Realtor, Better Homes Realty
Buying your first home is so exciting. However, the process can be a little intimidating when you’re doing it for the first time. Arm yourself with knowledge. Here’s what you need to know about starter homes when you’re ready to begin your search.
Be realistic about your budget. We all have champagne dreams and caviar wishes. Buying a home can be a very emotional decision, but it needs to be grounded in reality. Be honest with yourself about how much you can reasonably afford. Don’t forget to factor in expenses like repairs, maintenance, and insurance. It’s awful when you’re stressed about making monthly payments. Give yourself some wiggle room by buying what’s in your price range.
Be honest about what you need. Maybe you’d love to have an indoor swimming pool and a three-car garage. But do you really need it? It’s important to get very clear about your needs vs. your wants. Sit down and make a list of your requirements. Consider how many bedrooms you need, what size yard will work for you, and the best location. Then make a wish list. This can include items like a playroom for the kids or a basement man cave. While these things would be nice to have, you can certainly live without them. Remember, you are looking for your first home, not necessarily your dream home. You can always trade up later.
Be willing to compromise. It’s extremely rare for homebuyers to find the “perfect” home that checks off every item on their list. If you’re waiting to find that perfect home, you may be searching for a long time. Instead, you need to be willing to make some compromises. When you’re looking at houses, use your imagination. Think about how you can personalize the house once you move in. If it doesn’t have everything you need, like a garage, is it something you can build? If there’s no separate room for a home office, can you create one in the basement or in the space under the stairs? If your kids really want a pool, is that something that can be added next summer? Get creative when you’re on the hunt, and look at each property with an open mind.
Be aware of the future. Of course, you’re buying a home to fit your needs now, but think about the future as well. Are you planning to expand your family? Then you should consider that when determining the number of bedrooms and the school district. You should also think about the resale value of the home. We call them “starter” homes for a reason. Most people live in them when they’re just starting out and move into another home after they’ve become a little more established in their lives and careers. For that reason, think about how easy or difficult it may be to sell this home down the line. Your future self will thank you.