Getting you a Starter Home for the Holidays…
Today’s discussion is geared toward New / First-Time Homebuyers and looking for the best starter home. Maybe you’re a millennial breaking into the world, or a professional looking to put down some small roots in an area. This home isn’t going to be your dream home or your forever home – but it is going to be HOME.
“If I’m Renting my current home/condo/apartment, I’m not paying a mortgage!” … MYTH!
Truth is… you’re paying a mortgage either way. As a homeowner, you’re paying your own mortgage and building equity – but as a renter, you’re paying the building owner’s mortgage for the property or at the least the property taxes. So, you may want to reconsider if renting is the best choice for you! You could be investing your money in your own property.
5 Things to Look for in the Best Starter Home
1. Low Maintenance – Especially low maintenance fees
Unless you LOVE yard work, look for a starter home with a smaller outside space. Homeowner responsibilities can be a bit more than you may be used to, so don’t take on acres and acres of land if mowing and landscaping aren’t your strong suit (and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on care). Or, look for a home that is part of an affordable Home Owner’s Association that would take care of the outdoor work for you. Yard management is very important, especially if you still plan to do a lot of traveling [still returning home for the holiday seasons?].
2. Smart Location
The golden rule of real estate: “Location, Location, Location” – Look for your new starter home in a good location. Close to your place of work, or convenience shopping & needs. Do you normally take public transportation? Look around for areas on bus routes. Or, do you like running in the park? Look for home options near your favorite places! And remember, you don’t have to look far away from the city to find your price range – especially if living far out doesn’t fit your lifestyle … bringing us to tip #3!
3. Easy Lifestyle Transitioning
Try not to suffer yourself culture shock by moving from a locale where you can walk to coffee shops all the way to living far out in quiet suburbia. You can consider condos or townhouses as a great starter home option. They can have convenient HOA options or overall low maintenance.
Remember, this is your starter home. Don’t get carried away just because you may qualify for a low down-payment or low monthly payments on your first mortgage. Choose a starter home that fits your needs and lifestyle within reason. Don’t overwhelm your finances on your first property. Your forever home / dream home come later in life.
Talk to a Loan Officer about what you can get pre-approved / pre-qualified for. They can help you make the decision of what price range is the smartest for your budget and spending habits. Rector Hayden Mortgage office is located in our main Lexington building – and would love to meet with you to discuss your options, no obligation!
Get started easy by using the RH Mortgage online Affordability Calculator
5. Manageable Care & Upgrade Options
Don’t get sucked in to the DIY Pinterest phase and think you can ‘total home makeover’ a property. If you know you aren’t handy, then don’t buy a fixer-upper. (Or, on the other hand – if you have a great contractor in your family, then buying a fixer-upper may be a great starter home project!). What may look like a great deal still needs to be inspected. Too many repairs can become quite costly and end up costing your much more.
BONUS: If you’re thinking of renting for 5 years or so to save up money to purchase your next home – consider this… Sometimes life can get in the way of a long-term plan like that. Your savings for a big down payment could end up going elsewhere. You may be closer than you think to making a good down payment and getting your first home!
Want to see what the first step is? Check out the RectorHayden.com Buying Journey [Click Here].
This article is part of Rector Hayden REALTORS® – Home for the Holidays 2015
series of home buying and selling.