Choosing Between a Starter House or Forever Home

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This post was written by guest author, Bob Shannon. If you'd like to reach him with regards to your own publication, please email [email protected].

Real estate can be confusing and overwhelming for new buyers. Navigating the current housing market may seem next to impossible at first, but understanding your needs and what you can afford can help to point you to the best house for you and your family. Read on for some insights from The Hardy Team.

Starter Homes

If you don't have much actual money to invest in your home, a starter home may be the right choice for you. Their smaller size means less land to maintain and usually fewer included amenities that need to be regularly repaired. After your home improvement projects are complete, these properties can be easily resold for a profit or rented out to tenants when you decide to move on to a new house.

To incentivize lower costs, these houses are often sold as-is. Waiving your right to request repairs in an escrow period may make the process quicker or more affordable, but you don't necessarily know what issues you'll be walking into on moving day. Consult a real estate professional like The Hardy Team before accepting an "as is" property, and do your best to have an inspection performed of the building and grounds.

Keep in mind that it may not always make financial sense to purchase a starter home. Regularly check on local housing prices. While you save for a home, you may be able to find better deals which can lower your living expenses.

Forever Homes

You may be financially solvent enough that your next move can be your last. If you're looking to put down roots, finding your forever home is well worth the extra expense. Though it will run you far more than a starter home, a house worthy of being the last one you live in will have features and conveniences that prove it to be a sound investment. This Old City notes your family will have room to grow, and you can expand the house if it comes with sufficient land.

In addition to the increased sticker price, forever homes have a few more easy-to-miss challenges. As you're responsible for your own repairs as a home buyer, your larger house will need repair services more often, and fixing these issues typically carries a greater expense. More land also means more maintenance. A riding lawn mower could be a good investment depending on the size of your yard.

Finding a Mortgage

Before committing to the type of house that you're looking for, Brevity Mortgages advises looking into what sort of mortgage you can expect to get. Financial institutions will check your debt-to-income ratio, credit score, income, and proposed budget when deciding what size loan they're willing to entrust to you. Shop around to find the best loan with the lowest interest rates you can find.

Protecting Your Home

You may also want to look into purchasing homeowner's insurance and home warranty plans. Homeowner's insurance can provide you with financial support to repair or replace broken or missing home features or belongings. Home warranties, on the other hand, cover repair costs for approved appliances in your house. If you're able to have the property inspected before purchase, take particular care in finding out if any of the appliances on-site are still covered by their manufacturer's warranties.

Starter Homes and Education

If you're advancing your education and considering housing options, think about buying a starter home near your campus or exploring online education opportunities that let you achieve your goals from any location. With the availability of remote learning, even advanced degrees such as MBAs and nursing masters degrees can be pursued online. These online programs are often less expensive and more flexible, aligning well with the budget constraints of those in the housing market.

Home buying isn't a decision that should be taken lightly, so make sure to thoroughly research your options. Keep in mind that a starter house can be sold or rented out when you're ready for your forever home. Make sure your choice is compatible with your budget and your life phase and start shopping for a mortgage, as well as a home warranty.

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