Your “Starter Home” Might Last Longer than You Think

Real Estate Agent with Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert

New homebuyers often tell their agents that they are looking for their “starter home.” Several factors go into this approach. These are typically younger buyers, often without children. They may be looking for a maintenance-free home, like a condo, or they might assume that starter homes are more budget-friendly. There are plenty of good reasons to buy a home with the assumption that it’s only for a few years, but it’s usually wise to consider the fact that it might be for much longer.

As 2020 demonstrated so clearly, things can change without warning. Homebuyers choosing a small condo with the intention of living in it for only a few years might later find themselves trying to carve out space for children due to employment challenges or market changes. The good news is that many times— once you add in association fees, taxes, and other costs—an older home that needs updating could be just as economical as a brand-new condo with all the latest design features.

When buying your first home, it’s important to consider how you would manage if you needed to stay longer than expected. An older home might offer a yard where you could expand, or extra rooms which can become bedrooms. These options can give you flexibility as your lifestyle changes over the years.

If you buy your first home with the future in mind, you can protect yourself from the unexpected income changes, real estate price booms, or any other outside influence. Don’t discount the older fixer-upper simply because you plan to move in a few years—plans change, and giving this some prior thought can help you adjust more painlessly in the future.

Comments (4)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Kat - my parents bought their first time over sixty years ago.  It was a starter home. In fact, the advertising line used at the time called their development "homes for young executives".  Every buyer at that time in the neighborhood has moved on - my Mom still lives in the house.   It's amazing some of the children who grew up in those houses are living in that neighborhood even though not in the same homes where they grew up.  

Jun 07, 2021 09:02 AM
Kat DeLong

Michael;   I love hearing about folks who have stayed "longer than they thought" they would.   

Jun 09, 2021 10:04 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kat, a few years ago I started seeing my first-time buyers planning for the future and buying 3 or 4 bedroom homes.   They weren't planning on moving for a while.

Jun 07, 2021 09:34 AM
Kat DeLong

Joan; It's great that our younger buyers are planning to stay for a while, instead of just thinking of their purchase as a "stay for a little while."  

Jun 09, 2021 10:06 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Kat DeLong I am one of those starter home Buyer.  I bought my starter home in 1981, and I am still living in it ☺️

Jun 07, 2021 03:51 PM
Kat DeLong
Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert - Prescott, AZ

George, that's awesome to hear! 

Jun 09, 2021 10:06 PM