How to Get the Most out of Your Starter Home

Couple with moving boxes

By Jim Cleer, Mortgage Loan Officer

So you’re in the market to purchase your first home. If you’re like most young people these days, it will not be the home of your dreams or the first and only home you purchase. Outside of the usual considerations such as location and price, how do you position yourself to get the most out of your home when you are ready to sell? Based on the assumption that homes typically gain in value over the years, there are a few things to look for in your starter home that can help you maximize the sale when you are ready to move on.

School Quality – You may not have kids yet or even want kids, but a lot of prospective buyers will or will be having them when they move into your home. Make sure your public schools are well rated.

Home’s Style – Sure, that geodesic home or extremely unique looking home looks cool, but when you purchase unique looking properties, you minimize the prospective buying field when it’s time to sell.

Room Counts – You may only need one or two bedrooms and one bath, but most buyers in today’s market are looking for three bedrooms and one and a half baths at a minimum.

Don’t Judge a Book By it’s Cover – There are plenty of homes out there that may not have the best curb appeal and therefore, can be purchased at a lower price. Look closely at those homes and make improvements to yours. By investing a little time and money, your curb appeal could increase drastically, and in turn, so would demand for your property. Learn more here.

Roof And Mechanicals – Although a home inspection is not required, you should never buy an existing home without one. Try to stay away from homes that have a roof, furnace or AC that may be towards the end of its life expectancy or you may end up having to replace it before you sell, or offer concessions to prospective buyers.

Look for Up and Coming Neighborhoods – Most people like to live in trendy areas, but those often come with a higher purchase price. Do your research, talk to your realtor and see if you can find that neighborhood that is on the upswing. When it’s time to sell in a few years, you may find yourself in that trendy area and be able to maximize your sales price.

Don’t Bite Off More than You Can Chew – Sure, you may be able to afford that house at the upper end of your purchase price range, but remember, this is your starter home. Put yourself in a position that won’t affect your ability to save money or pay extra towards your principal. Every dollar you can save or use to pay down your new mortgage is one more dollar you will have to buy that next home.

These are just a few ideas to help you get the most out of your starter home. There are a slew of other ideas your mortgage expert or realtor may be able to provide. Listen to them, they are the experts and many have years, if not decades, of experience to help you make the right decision for your situation.