First-Time Buyers: What Makes The Ultimate Starter Home?

Buying a home for the first time can be an incredibly daunting experience. It’s one of those things in life that you don’t know anything about until you do it – and, naturally, there are plenty of problems that can arise.


With this in mind, it can be hard for first-time buyers to know what makes the perfect home to start out on the ladder. It’s a tricky enough decision for any homebuyer, of course, let alone someone with zero experience.


There are, however, a few things that all first-time home buyers should be looking for – and we’re going to take a closer look at them today. Read on to find out what makes the perfect starter home!




Welcome to reality


Buying your first home is the last part of a long chain of events, which probably starts with you peering through real estate windows and website, and creating Pinterest boards about your perfect home and decor. And there’s a good chance that you will know precisely what you want. However, as a first-time buyer, it’s likely you’ll need to forget about all those beautiful and palatial dwellings in the country you have been dreaming about. And you will need to be a lot more realistic about your budget. While this is disappointing for some, it’s important to understand the bigger picture. Your first hom1 tends to be a stepping stone for a bigger and better home in the future – so be prepared to play the long game.


The compromises


You will need to work out what you are prepared to compromise on in the vast majority of cases. Perhaps you will need to trade in some home comforts for a shorter commute to work each day. Maybe you will need to give up your dreams of a third bedroom or an en-suite if you want to reside in the exciting, up and coming area of town. There’s also a chance that you might have to forego a home with a garden for a mid-town apartment if a thriving nightlife is important to you.


Buy for your life now


The new house for sale you end up buying now will be very different to the one you buy in twenty years time. It is the best way to see buying a property – in incremental steps. Always try to buy a home that matches your needs right now, without any unnecessary additions. For example, if you are young, free, and single, is there any genuine need for a five or six-bedroomed mansion other than showing off? And if you are are a couple of young professionals who are contemplating having a baby, is an expensive apartment in a lively area really that much of a good idea? However, it’s important to remember that the perfect starter home is one that you can manage to live in for five years or so – therefore, it’s important that you have some sort of idea of where your life will be throughout that period.




A home without sharks


Real estate agents are masters at bedazzling experienced home buyers, let alone first-timers. There are plenty of other people out to extract every dime you have, too. You will have many service offers from brokers, mortgage experts, financial advisors and much more. Some of them will be necessary, but others may not be. So, spend some time looking for the best advice you can get – it will save you a lot of money that can be better spent elsewhere. Also, be wary of the spin that many realtors put on their marketing. The high-quality starter home they claim exists may be far from that in reality.


The patient home


The perfect starter home will not come and hit you square in the face on the first day you start looking. It’s important to take your time, be patient, and see what is out there before making any decision. There is, perhaps, one exception to this rule – new build properties. New builds tend to sell quickly, and – often – before they are even built! They are a relatively safe bet for first-timers, too, as most will come with a variety of guarantees for the first year or two, which will reduce your repair costs going forward. However, only ever go with reputable companies and organisations – and make sure you are aware of any further developments that might be being built in the future. It could result in many years of disruption and noise, and won’t be the best start to life on the property ladder.




The home that doesn’t ruin you


It sounds obvious, but buying a home can get incredibly expensive. It is vital that you can keep things well within your affordability when it comes to paying your mortgage. A rise in interest rates, a loss of a job, or an accident at work could all have a severe impact on your ability to pay for your home. And you have to be ready for those eventualities. So, if you get a mortgage offer from a bank, don’t think that is the ideal amount you can borrow – because it’s actually the maximum. It won’t take much for things to change and make those bills unaffordable, and your dream home could turn into a financial nightmare.


The home that makes money


Don’t forget, the idea of buying a starter home is to get you onto the property ladder. It’s not the place you will be staying in forever, just to bide your time, and get the opportunity to raise a deposit for the next place. Always see the first home as part of an investment process, whether you are buying a new build or a fixer upper. In some ways, it might be advantageous purchase a home that you aren’t all that excited about – as long as you can add some value and make some money at the end of five years or so.


Buying a home for the first time can be incredibly exciting and a wonderful time – good luck on your search!


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