We often post about knowing when the time is right to buy your first home. Deciding between renting and buying can be a daunting task for many. So, if you know that the time is right for you to buy, you may now be feeling the pressure to choose whether to buy a ‘starter home’ or a ‘forever home’.
Possibly, this analogy could help: think of the first car that you purchased by yourself. Did you choose a compact sedan with good gas mileage, perfect for weekend trips and parallel parking in new cities? Or did you opt for a larger, safe SUV that can seat five with room to spare, complete with a maintenance package to keep it in great condition for many years to come? Both options are great choices, it just depends on what you are looking for, and what you are planning for your future.
You can think of a starter home as a jumping off point in homeownership. When you buy a starter home, you probably don’t intend to live there for more than a few years. However, with a forever home, you’ll likely plan on living there for many years – maybe even for the rest of your life! When comparing the two options, have in mind how much time you intend to live in the home, and how that fits into your goals.
Reasons to Choose a Starter Home
- Potentially More Affordable Than a Forever Home
Condos and small houses are a favorite starter home among first-time homebuyers. A smaller house is likely to fit your budget better, and if you’re single or have a small family, a one to two-bedroom home may be all you need anyway.
- Desire to Start Investing in Your Future
You can think of a mortgage payment as an investment in your future, and with every payment, you own more and more of the house.
- Improve Your Investment Without Commitment
If you want to help increase the value of your starter home, consider making some upgrades. The key to home improvements in starter homes is to focus on those with a reasonable return on investment. Before you gut the bathroom for a complete remodel, consider making less drastic upgrades like replacing the tile and sink. Another thing to consider when making upgrades is to choose designs and materials that will appeal to most homebuyers. You’ll want to save those personal touches for your forever home!
Reasons to Choose a Forever Home
- Have or Plan to Have a Family
Space for a growing family is one of the most common reasons to buy a forever home. A condo for a 3-person family might be okay for a while, but eventually, you’ll want more space in case you add to your family. With your forever home, you can have a yard for kids to play in and a dining room large enough to entertain in.
- You’re Ready to Set Roots
It’s comforting to know that you won’t be moving any time soon. You can settle in, make lasting friendships with your neighbors, upgrade your home just the way you like it knowing that this is your home to do with as you please.
If you’re still not sure if you should buy a starter home or forever home, that’s okay! The most important thing is that you get pre-approved for a home loan first.