Is It Time to Buy a Starter Home or Your Forever Home?
You’re getting ready to buy a house - but what if you’re torn between buying a starter home or a forever home? Perhaps you want to save money upfront by choosing a Lewisville-Clemmons starter home, but your partner hopes to stay in the area long-term and wants to buy a forever home. Or maybe you don’t want to end up house hunting again later in life, so you’re leaning towards a Winston-Salem forever home - yet you’re wondering if a starter home could appreciate in value, making it a good investment.
If you need guidance throughout the house-hunting process, working with the experienced real estate agents at Green Haven Realty will make home-buying a breeze! In the meantime, here are a few factors to consider if you’re struggling to decide between buying a starter home or a forever home.
Lewisville, NC Real Estate Agent Showing Home Buyers a House for Sale
Understand the Home Buying Process
Before you make any concrete decisions about what type of property to look for in the Lewisville-Clemmons area, it’s important to take some time to learn about the ins and outs of the home-buying process. After all, if you’re a first-time homebuyer, you might not even know where to begin!
Prior to looking at homes, you’ll need to save up a down payment. Depending on the average home price in your area, you will likely have to set aside thousands of dollars in order to make an offer on a property. However, even if your budget is tight, you don’t have to give up on your dreams of homeownership. Instead of trying to save entirely on your own, you can seek out financial assistance.
There are several types of down payment assistance. You could apply for grants, take out a loan, or qualify for special tax credits. The kind of assistance that you’re eligible for will depend on your job title and career history, your income, where you live or plan to buy a home, and the type of home you want to buy.
What exactly does it mean to call a property a “starter home?” Basically, a buyer who views a property as a starter home does not anticipate that they will live there permanently. They may plan to move into a bigger home when they have children, or they might expect that they will eventually have to move for their careers. Further, home buyers may decide to keep their starter home as an investment property to develop passive income. Starter homes are generally smaller and cheaper, so people buying starter homes sometimes have an easier time getting a foot in the door of the housing market. However, in the current “seller’s market”, starter homes are very competitive with high demand from first time home buyers.
What are the other perks of buying a starter home? If your starter home is on the smaller side, your utility costs will likely be lower, and your property will require less maintenance, cleaning, and general upkeep. This can cut down on your monthly spending and help you save more money in the long run. If you do move in the future, you could also hold on to your starter home and rent it out for a little extra income.
Cons of a Starter Home
There are plenty of benefits to buying a starter home. However, there are some drawbacks you should be aware of, too. For example, Plancorp states that you may not build as much equity in your starter home as you hoped, especially if you expect to move within the next seven to ten years. This time frame is typically not long enough to guarantee significant appreciation on your home’s value.
Furthermore, if your home’s price increases due to inflation, you may not actually turn a profit on it when it comes time to sell, because you’ll need to spend most of this money on your new, more expensive home. And while renting it out might seem like a good idea, being a landlord isn’t for everyone!
Do you see yourself living in a particular area long-term? If so, you might be thinking about buying your forever home in the Lewisville-Clemmons area. A “forever home” is a property that you intend to stay at indefinitely. It’s large enough to accommodate for potential lifestyle changes in the future, such as having children or allowing your senior parents to move in. It’s also generally located in a neighborhood that already has the amenities you want, rather than an “up and coming” area that might improve in the future.
What are the upsides of moving into your forever home? First of all, the home buying process is stressful - and if you settle down somewhere permanently, you probably won’t have to go through it again! Of course, plans can change unexpectedly, but choosing a forever home can eliminate future stress and anxiety from your life. Furthermore, Garage Living states that the security and peace of mind that comes with purchasing your forever home is invaluable - you can customize the space as you like, without worrying about the market value of different renovations.
Buying a forever home might seem like a natural fit for you and your family if you can envision yourself living in the same place for decades to come. But no matter how much you love your current neighborhood, you need to be realistic about your odds of settling down there. Purchasing a home can be a very emotional decision, but if you’re going to invest lots of money into a forever home, you need to make sure that you are truly committed to this choice - otherwise, it could set you back financially.
Additionally, you might not have enough money to invest in a forever home right now. If your budget is tight, it may be best to look for a starter home. You can always upgrade later when you’ve built up your savings or moved up in your career to reach a higher salary bracket.
Now that you know a few of the primary pros and cons to buying a starter home or forever home, you can start assessing your family’s current situation to determine what’s best for you. Think about whether or not you will likely be able to stay in your current area for over a decade or more. Consider whether a small starter home would provide plenty of space for you now, or if your family needs more room.
Finally, be honest with yourself about the prospect of moving again in the future. Would a second move a few years down the line put you under a high level of stress, or can your family handle the stress of moving with ease?
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You’ve considered the emotional and logistical factors that could affect your decision. But now, it’s time to take a look at the hard numbers and think about the financial aspect of this choice. Go over your savings to determine how much you could afford to spend on a downpayment. If you can only afford a small down payment right now, you may want to go for a starter home rather than stretching your budget for a forever home. Remember, you’ll also need to cover additional closing costs, so as you budget for the house-hunting process, don’t forget about these expenses.
Now, you need to calculate your monthly expenses. How much could you afford to spend on your mortgage per month? If your current rental payments are already a burden, you might want to look for a starter home that could come with cheaper monthly bills. However, if you have plenty of wiggle room in your budget right now, you may be ready to buy your forever home.
What if you truly love where you live, but you simply can’t afford the higher costs of a forever home right now? Purchasing a starter home on a large lot could represent the perfect middle ground. That way, you can build an addition to your home later in life when you need more space. If you do choose to go down this route, you’ll want to start saving little by little for renovations shortly after moving in. You may also want to consider carrying out certain minor upgrades on a DIY basis to save money.
What if you’ve gone over the pros and cons of starter homes and forever homes, and you’ve completed a few decision-making exercises, yet you’re still not sure which choice is best for your family? It may be time to meet with a financial advisor and bring up some of your burning questions with your real estate agent. By getting expert advice from multiple third-party sources, you can make a choice that fulfills your family’s needs.
Tony and Kim Green, Realtors and the owners of Green Haven Realty, have authored a book, and offer it here for free:
A home is most likely the biggest purchase you will make in your life. That’s why it’s important to think through every aspect of this major decision. If you’re unsure of whether a starter home or forever home is right for you, take some time to go over these different pros and cons so that you can make a truly informed choice.
Whether you’re looking for a starter home or your forever home, Green Haven Realty can help you find the right property. Call us today at 336-462-9544 to get started!