How to Prioritize Your Starter Home Wish List
We know that buying your first home can be equal parts exciting and daunting. If you are finding yourself overwhelmed by narrowing down the criteria on your wish list to the top priorities, we understand. As you search for homes for sale in Los Angeles, keep these tips in mind.
Contact us any time to learn more about buying your first home in Los Angeles, and keep reading for ideas to help you decide what your must-haves are in a starter home.
What is a starter home?
First of all, what do we mean by starter home? This is a term many people use to describe the first home you buy. In contrast to your dream home, it might not initially have every feature you are looking for but it will fit your needs and your budget and allow you to enter into the real estate market.
Many buyers looking in competitive real estate markets like Los Angeles find that their ideal property is initially out of reach, but that shouldn't dissuade them from buying a home at all.
You may wonder if it makes more sense to just wait until you can afford the home you are dreaming of, but unless you expect to save your money at a rate that outpaces the appreciation of the local market, it's a better use of your money to invest now in what you can afford. Then, maybe a few years from now, you can leverage the equity you have built toward that dream.
Making Your House Hunting List
Finding a starter home that meets both your needs and your budget means you need a clear list of criteria for the home. We always recommend beginning by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you real numbers to work with so you know what your budget is. It will also allow you to make confident and efficient offers as we begin house hunting, and guide you to the right communities as you know how much you want to offer.
After you have that budget set, make a list of the things the home must include, and consider including any dealbreakers, too. Ask yourself questions like these:
- How far am I willing to commute?
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I need?
- What level of maintenance am I prepared to take on?
- What does a home need to feature to accommodate my future plans, like having a baby or adopting a pet?
- What kind of neighborhood atmosphere do I want?
- Does the school district matter to me?
Even as you create a list of criteria and plan for buying the home, it's never too early to keep resale value in mind. While you may not be planning to sell the home any time soon, your future self will thank you for making a purchase without ignoring the appeal of this home to other potential buyers.
Because the first home is not your forever home, you must consider its resale value. Opt for features and locations that have broad appeal, making it easier to sell the property when the time comes to move on to your next home. Avoid overly unique or niche features that may limit your property's marketability.