What to Look for When Buying a Starter Home

Buying your first home is likely the biggest investment you will ever make. Therefore, it’s important that you make the right choices when choosing a starter home. Since your starter home is not intended as a forever home, there are some important features that first time buyers should be on the lookout for. Following are a few things to consider when hunting for your starter home.


Don’t go biting off more than you can chew. The biggest factor when choosing a starter home is whether or not you will actually be able to afford it. First time buyers don’t have any equity to roll into a new home, therefore coming up with a down payment along with the financial burdens of owning a home should be their first priority. The best way to figure out whether or not the mortgage is affordable is to use a mortgage calculator, which helps to break down the monthly payments based on taxes and insurance. This will help determine a firm target price to aim for.

Location, Location, Location

Where you choose to purchase your starter home is crucial for multiple different reasons. The biggest of those being equity. Equity is the most important thing you will gain from your first home. So you want to find a neighborhood with stability, where there aren’t many “For Sale” or “For Rent” signs, and people have been living there for extended periods of time. These are the areas that are going to get you the best return when you eventually sell your home.

You will also want to consider security. How safe do you feel in the neighborhood? If you don’t feel comfortable and secure living in the neighborhood, chances are other buyers are going to feel the same way. Since this is just a starter home, you always want to be thinking about the future and the ease with which you can resell your home. Don’t be afraid to be selective!

Move -In Ready

Most first time home buyers are working within a limited budget and can’t afford to put a ton of money into a “fixer upper”, especially if you aren’t all that handy around the house. Be realistic about your ability to maintain the cost of owning a home. Often times, homeowners come armed to the gills with DIY projects that end up being too much to manage. Renovating a home is not inexpensive, quick or easy, so buying a move-in-ready home is highly recommended.

If you are forced to choose a home that is a project, prioritize the updates you are willing and can afford to make. Take a look at some of the big budget items which might cause you problems within the next seven to ten years, and make sure that they have recently been updated. This includes things such as the water heater, energy efficient windows, updated electrical wiring or a new roof. The bathrooms and kitchen are also important areas of a home to ensure are updated. These are two rooms that attract buyer’s attention the most.

Room for the Future

While a starter home is a place where you can settle to start a family or until your career takes off, most people tend to stay there for longer than anticipated. The average time a family spends in their first home ranges anywhere from seven to ten years. Therefore, when buying a starter home be sure to consider the kind of space that your family might need to grow into.

Even if you don’t plan on expanding your currently family, it’s smart to think about what future buyers might need. If you purchase a starter home with only one room, you are severely limiting the number of potential buyers you may have in the future.