Planning Your Search for a Starter Home

Verani Realty

couple holding cut out of houseBrowsing real estate and think you know what you want in that first home?  With the popularity of Pinterest, it is easy to dream and plan for that big purchase. But a wise buyer also realizes that there is a difference between needs and wants when it comes to a starter home, and sometimes compromises must be made.

The typical starter home allows buyers that important first step into homeownership. You want to plan carefully for areas where you can compromise and identify those things where you cannot. Knowing where to compromise can mean the difference between becoming a homeowner or continuing to rent.

Here are some tips for first time home buyers to get started:

  1. What must the home provide? Separate the must-haves from the want-to-haves. Do you really need a garage? Granite countertops may be important to you, but does it top finding the best location and a home’s proximity to work? Put things in order of importance on each list.

  2. Understand your budget. Getting prequalified by your lender is a very important step to take before you head out to see homes. Always shop for homes within your budget and avoid going for the maximum mortgage you are allowed (you may be able to afford it on paper, but you will be on a tight budget). Remember that the mortgage payment you see for your desired loan will also have other things tacked onto it each month, like property taxes and home owner’s insurance payments.

  3. Prepare yourself for compromise. Before heading out with your real estate professional to view homes, firmly decide what your priorities are and what amenities are up for debate or compromise.

  4. Be realistic. Yes, you have this dream of home ownership, and a starter home may not exactly fulfill the dream (after all - we all dream bigger than our wallets at times), but that should not prevent you from buying, enjoying home ownership, and perhaps trading up a few years down the road when you can afford more house.

Buying a home is big step, but it is worth the time and effort you put into it to prepare. Be smart about your investment, plan out your objectives and know what to expect. Be prepared that starter homes are usually smaller than the next home you may own.

In a nutshell, look for what you need to have for the next few years, then look for a few extra features if you can afford them.

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