What to Look for in a Starter Home


Buying a starter home involves tough decisions, and making the right decisions is extremely important to a buyer’s financial future. As with all important decisions, this one takes some soul-searching and deep thought.

One of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers make is putting their emotions in front of what is practical for their budget and location. That cute little fixer-upper far away from where you work is probably not the best option.

To help with your decision, ask yourself the following: 

  • Do you really have the time and inclination to make necessary repairs to the house?
  • Are you a talented interior designer and remodeling contractor?
  • Can you afford to hire someone to do major repairs, remodeling and interior decor that will suit you well now and into the future, all while you are living somewhere else?
  • Is the commute time to and from your place of work worth the trade-off to live in that house in that neighborhood?

Fully understanding these issues and answering them either positively or negatively will take the emotion out of the decision and lead you toward making the right choice in purchasing your first home.

Location, Location, Location

Trite as this statement is, in real estate terms it remains true. It remains true not only in the case of return on investment, but also in how comfortably you live and how it fits your particular lifestyle. A young family, for example, needs space to grow and considerations for a good neighborhood where children can attend a good school should be considered.

Young, single people who want to be where the action is but also near work may be thinking of a more temporary housing situation than the young family. No matter which category you fall in, you should be looking at home ownership as an investment simply because it is probably the biggest investment you will ever make in your lifetime.

Floor Plans

Consider the current layout of the home and determine how well it suits how you live now and how flexible it will be to your future lifestyle. If this is only a transition home for you, and you don’t plan to put down roots, you may be more willing to go without the extra bathroom or separate dining room. Being flexible with the layout lends itself to more possibilities.

However, if this is your forever home, you need to consider what your needs are now as well as how the floor plan will work for you when you have a family or as you get older. What about bathrooms? Are there enough bedrooms for future children? Are there stairs that may be burdensome as you age? If it doesn’t suit you now, are you willing to make necessary changes as your family grows?

The Budget

The affordability factor of buying your first home cannot not be overstated. Getting preapproved for a loan will help to determine the amount you can afford so that you are looking at homes within your budget.

The cost of owning a home requires more than just the purchase price, and the preapproval process takes all of that into consideration, including the down payment. Homeowners, unlike renters, have ongoing maintenance costs, including major and minor repair costs and possibly renovation and remodeling costs, property taxes, and homeowners insurance as well as utility expenses. The monthly mortgage payment is only part of the affordability index when it comes to owning a home. Knowing your budget before you start your search is an important step to finding the right home.

Contact Landmark 24 Homes to find the perfect starter home in a neighborhood that offers just the right set of amenities, values and attractions. The Customer Care Team will see you through every step of the homebuying process to make your first-home purchase the best investment you’ll ever make.