Finding the perfect first home can be a huge undertaking. You need to decide on what you are looking for and where you would like to live. Although it doesn’t need to be forever, likely five to seven years, you’ll want to make sure you enjoy your time living there.
I know it can be scary, and overwhelming, but there are ways to help you pick the right starter home. I want to share a few with you.
- Room to grow
Although you may not be looking to expand your family today, things may change in a few years. Whether it’s a new baby, or the need to help care for your elderly parents, we all don’t know what the future may hold. This is why I strongly suggest buying as much house as you can reasonably afford. Talking with a lender, like Stanford Mortgage, can get you pre-approved, so you will know what amount you’ll qualify for.
Remember that this is the purchasing power you need to buy space, which is more significant than fancy finishes or updated kitchens. You can always consider knocking out a wall to create an open floor plan, but trying to add space to your home is not only extremely expensive but a major undertaking.
- Low maintenance
We would love to say we could predict exactly how much your maintenance costs will amount to, but it is always the great unknown. The rule to follow is, “the older the house, the more it will cost to keep running.” If you are a skilled handyman or have some construction experience (or the will to learn), you may get the advantage here. Otherwise, it may be smarter to make sure your home is of newer construction, preferably less than ten years old.
If your budget allows a little more room for cost, you may want to consider brand-new construction. This will cost more, but parts are typically covered by a warranty. “Standard coverage would be a one-year warranty for labor and materials, two years’ protection for mechanical defects, like plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems, and ten years for structural defects,” states Realtor.com.
Either way that you decide, it is of the utmost importance to hire a skilled home inspector to thoroughly detect potential issues.
- Manageable monthly expenses
It’s easy to get swept up into the allure of your dream home, but it is extremely important to focus on those monthly expenses might be before you sign that contract. What monthly expenses could there be? Well, there’s the mortgage, real estate taxes, insurance premiums, utilities, and of course maintenance costs. Keep in mind these are subject to increase, so when you are budgeting you may want to allow some room for these costs.
My job is to ensure you love your home from day one and I like to make sure my clients know what they are getting into before anything is permanent. That may mean buying something smaller, older, or a different location than you previously thought. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Easy transition
Another thing you might want to consider is how different your lifestyle may change from living at the new location. Moving is stressful, and no one wants to do it, let alone having to move shortly after if the location doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Consider this:
- Does the new location add hours to my work life? Am I okay with that?
- Is the new location further (or closer) from friends and family?
- Is the new location further (or closer) from activities I enjoy or would frequently participate in?
Picking a home that would drop you into a totally unfamiliar lifestyle and location may be doing more bad than good. Unless you embrace change! Remember to think about these points before you get handed the keys. You’ll be glad you did!
Interested in buying or selling a home? Fall is a great time – serious shoppers and less inventory create a win-win for both parties! Contact me today, let’s explore your options!