by guest writer, Suzie Wilson
As a first-time home purchaser, you may be faced with a dilemma – should you pick an affordable albeit temporary home or go all in and choose an expensive forever home right off the bat? It can be a tough call to make, especially if you’re a young professional on a limited budget without a clear vision of their future. To help you avoid costly mistakes, Strong Bros Properties LLC offers this mini-guide comparing starter and forever homes:
Starter homes are typically small, affordable houses you could pick up on a budget. People usually stay in these for a handful of years and eventually move on to something bigger. The stakes are low with starter homes – you can experience what it takes to be a homeowner and build up your home equity without breaking the bank.
- Affordability: Starter homes don’t require massive down payments or huge monthly mortgage payments. The property tax is low, too.
- Flexibility: You can leave your starter home fairly easily, seeing as it doesn’t represent a big financial or emotional investment.
- Less upkeep: Being small – typically three bedrooms or less – you don’t need to spend much time, energy, or money maintaining them.
- Settling for less: Starter homes have limited amenities and luxuries. Many are located far away from the city center.
- Limited investment potential: You may not be able to sell your starter home easily. If you’re planning to rent it out, it may not command a big rent.
Forever homes are larger, more expensive, and meant to be places where you could raise a family. People buy a forever home when they’re planning to live in the same location for a few decades. Such homes are a significant financial responsibility, which is why many people postpone purchasing these until they’re older and financially settled.
- Customization: Seeing as you won’t be leaving anytime soon, you can put in all the amenities, modifications, and fixtures you’ve always wanted.
- Putting down roots: You can raise a family, hold down a job in the same location, and build lasting ties with your community.
- Personal satisfaction: Owning and living in your dream home is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.
- Expensive: Be prepared to pay through your nose for a dream home. You will need a solid credit score and, likely, the willingness to make mortgage payments for a couple of decades.
- More upkeep: Being spacious and, typically, hosting many people, dream homes require a ton of upkeep.
- Less flexibility: Being a big financial and emotional investment,you can’t leave your dream home easily.
Considerations to make when choosing a home to buy
Below are three critical considerations you should make before purchasing a home:
- Your finances: How much home can you afford? Understand credit scores, mortgages, and the cost of owning a home before you move forward.
- Your future goals: Do you have a set career plan? Is your financial situation secure for the foreseeable future? Do you expect to have to move for career purposes?
- Your needs: Do you need a small home or a larger one? Needless to say, families should ideally pick the latter.
- Investing potential: Real estate is investment gold. Of course, it’s not risk-free. If you’re buying a home to add to your investment portfolio (or consider it an investment), you need to plan carefully to turn a profit. SBP can teach you everything you need to know to be successful.
Is insuring your home worthwhile?
Home insurance policies can protect your home against natural calamities, structural damage, accidents, and similar. It’s always better to be covered if you can afford it – things can and do go wrong. On a related note, is a home warranty worth it? Home warranties come into play when home systems or appliances break down. They can save you hundreds and sometimes thousands. Before deciding whether to get a home warranty, check the home inspection report for red flags. Furthermore, check if warranties are in place already on appliances and see what they cover.
Keep your finances front and center when determining which home to buy. It’s a significant financial commitment – mortgage payments, remodeling expenses, repairs, and other miscellaneous expenses quickly add up and can get out of hand. For the best results, talk to the homeowners you know for advice and, ideally, create a financial plan that accounts for inflation and emergencies before moving forward with your purchase.