Buying your first home is exciting and overwhelming, and this combination can result in quick decisions that should have been given more time and consideration. When shopping around for a starter home, it’s important to consider the features you’re looking for. It’s understandable that you’ll want it all; unfortunately, rising prices and competition mean you may need to compromise on some of your essential features. After all, starter homes are purchased with the intention of serving a transitional purpose, and this likely won’t be your “forever home”. However, there are some must-haves that should never leave your list, regardless of how long you plan on staying in the residence chosen. The following features are important standards for a starter home, so keep this list in mind when beginning your search.
Location is key, and it’s important to consider your potential commute before committing to a home. That dream house you’ve been eyeing may be only 20 miles from your office, but rush hour traffic could mean that 20 miles takes upwards of an hour to traverse. It’s important to properly research commute concerns before putting in an offer. Try doing the actual commute a few times during various parts of the day. Speak with neighbors about particular commutes. You may also consider proximity to transportation opportunities; many home buyers are looking for properties within walking distance of a bus or train stop.
The Right Number of Bedrooms
Those who purchase a starter home generally need fewer bedrooms, and while you can definitely purchase a property with only one bedroom, this might not be the best move in the long run. Getting the best return on a property generally means purchasing a home with at least two bedrooms. Why? Sticking to one bedroom spaces can decrease the pool of potential buyers in the future, as fewer buyers are interested in single bedroom properties. You’ll divvy down your selection to a single individual or couple, or a family that simply can’t afford a larger property. The best way to get a great return on a starter home is to ensure it appeals to as many buyers as possible. While you may not need more than a single bedroom, take into account that it could be a make or break factor for potential buyers when you decide to sell.
A starter home should always come with appliances. Purchasing your first property is a costly endeavor, and it’s unlikely that a first time buyer will have excess cash to work with. Appliances can be extremely expensive, especially today’s modern, energy efficient options. Ask the seller if they’re willing to leave the appliances with the home; if there’s pushback, ask if there’s negotiation room with your offer. You may increase your offer to entice them to leave the appliances, or decrease your offering if you find you’ll need to purchase all new appliances on your own.
As sustainability becomes more and more important, green features have gotten more popular. While the resale value of your home-to-be isn’t likely high on your list of priorities when shopping around for a starter house, it is important to consider. Green, sustainable home upgrades can improve home value by thousands of dollars. If the properties you’re looking at don’t have green features, consider the ways you might be able to add them in the future. Most homes can benefit from the addition of solar panels and energy efficient roofing installation. If you’re interested in landscaping options, consider the ways a property’s yard may handle the use of drought-tolerant features. It’s important to consider the cost of these additions when negotiating home purchase price. Many energy efficient home upgrades can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Homeowners can benefit from PACE programs offered through companies like Renovate America; the bill for energy efficient home improvements will be placed on your property taxes and paid off down the line.
If you’re on the hunt for a starter home, there are several features you should consider must-haves. Keep these essentials in mind as you browse properties and find the right starter home for your present and future.