Unless you’re among the few that consider themselves to be in the wealthy category, your first home probably won’t be a luxury mansion. Starter homes earned their name by being homes that allow you to start building equity, before trading up for a more extravagant home as your salary increases. Despite the name, though, a starter home doesn’t have to mean endless compromise. Even if your budget won’t support the literal home of your dreams, you can still turn your starter home into a dream home by finding smart ways to shop within your budget without taking on a bigger mortgage or home loan than you can afford.
Know What You Need and What You Want in a Home
Some features are going to be essential in your new home. Perhaps you absolutely need a garage for your car or a basement for storage. Maybe your internet requirements for work rule out some older buildings. Be careful, though, not to confuse things you need with things you simply want. As much as you might want an extra bedroom for a study or to house occasional guests, you can probably make do with a nook for a desk and a sofa bed in the living room. You might love the idea of a large balcony, but you can still enjoy the summer sun with a small deck or backyard. Save money by eliminating the features you don’t really need, then channel those savings into finding the very best of the things you deem essential.
Find A Fixer-Upper Within Your Budget
Repairing a home costs money, but it almost always costs less than purchasing a house in perfect condition. The willingness to consider buying a house that needs some TLC can open up options in neighborhoods you otherwise couldn’t afford or earn you some valuable extra square footage. Take advantage of local contractors and suppliers to get good quality repairs and materials without breaking the bank, or, if you’re handy with a set of tools, you can save even more money by doing some of the repair work yourself. A house that needs some work isn’t just a prudent investment, it’s an opportunity to indulge your inner architect and turn your home into what you dream of.
Find A Neighborhood on the Upswing
The wealthiest parts of town are usually expensive, and the most affordable parts of town may have higher levels of crime and violence. An area that’s about to go from poor to rich – called a “transitional neighborhood” – represents a great opportunity to become part of a nice neighborhood before the prices catch up. Predicting which areas are really about to turn it around can be hard, but certain signs are a good indication that an area is gentrifying. Coffee shop culture is one sign. A vibrant arts scene is another. Upmarket chain stores like Starbucks often move into transitional neighborhoods, so the property near a brand new shop is a great place to look for a home that has a downmarket price, but upmarket value.
If you have questions about the home buying or mortgage loan process, or feel ready to get pre-approved or apply for a loan, please call (855) 352-3772. A Herring Bank mortgage representative would be more than happy to assist you!