Starter Home or Forever Home: Which is Right for You?

Know that it’s time to buy your first home, but not sure whether to search for a “starter home” or your “forever home”? You’re not alone. Many first-time homebuyers aren’t sure whether to search for a residence that satisfies their current and short-term needs or hunt for a home that’ll meet their family’s growing demands for decades.

In this article, we’ll touch on four major factors that should help you decide whether to buy a starter home or a forever home. 

  1. Your homebuying budget

First and foremost, nothing will influence whether you purchase a starter home or a forever home more than your homebuying budget. Can you afford your forever home right now? Or do you need to start with a smaller home and work your way up to that forever home over the years? Consider your income, savings, and your expenses to determine how much home you can afford. 

Once you know what kind of home you can afford, you can take it a step further by getting preapproved for a home loan. Of course, this won’t just clarify your budget, but give you the ability to make meaningful offers on properties in your price range. 

Related: Difference Between Preapproval and Prequalification

  1. Your long-term plans

Say you’ve run the numbers, and you can afford either a starter home or a forever home. Just because you can afford that forever home doesn’t mean that now is the time to invest in it. Have you planted roots where you live? Are you committed to your life in a particular area, and can say with relative certainty that you intend to stay put? Or are you planning on moving around over the years? 

If you don’t have plans to stay put for long, buying a home still makes a lot of sense. It’s just that you may not need all the bells and whistles that come with that forever home. A starter home may actually be better for you, both in the short term and in the long run. 

  1. Your lifestyle (and your family’s lifestyle)

Think about your current lifestyle. Are you single? Are you married? Do you have kids or pets, or intend to have any? Knowing what the next couple of decades of your life might look like can give you clarity on what kind of forever home you need. If your current budget doesn’t allow you to purchase the type of forever home that gives you the space you need long-term, make a list of what you need in a starter home instead.

One good rule of thumb for a starter home is to assume you’ll live there for five years. What do you need this space to do for you in the next half-decade? Write it down, then search for a home that gives you those things. 

Related: Introducing the Answer Collection: Homes Starting Under $300k.

  1. Your goals and priorities

Finally, you’ll want to consider your goals and priorities, both short and long-term. Do you want a fabulous location or more outdoor space? Do you want to be close to the Great Outdoors or the big city? Are you an extensive traveler? Do you want easy airport access? A home that requires little to no work? Do you have expensive hobbies and interests as precious to you as your home? 

These are the kinds of questions that can help you understand just how much money you want to put into your house, whether it’s a starter home or your forever home. 

And remember, both starter homes and forever homes can be dream homes. There are plenty of gorgeous, semi-custom homes available at great price points. Trust us, we know—because at True Homes, we build both starter homes and forever homes all over the Carolinas. 
Want to see what we’re building in your price range? Feel free to get in touch with us to learn more.

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