Most first-time home owners understand the difference between achieving the dream of buying a home versus buying a “dream home.” Part of a very personal decision-making process for buyers that know what they can realistically afford means making the latter distinction. Which means you’re probably asking yourself: How can I get the most out of my first home while staying within my budget?

We’re glad you asked. Here’s our advice.

The Must-Haves Vs. Nice-To-Haves

In the fantasies of would-be homeowners, one of the most common benefits of purchasing is having a space to call their own, a notion that translates into things like new kitchen appliances or a luxurious marble-lined tub in the master bathroom. But new homeowners today may have different aspirations and needs than their parents and grandparents—they may choose to travel more often, own fewer material items, and have smaller families. While detached single family homes in a desirable area might be out of reach financially, condos and townhomes provide an alternative, and may even offer amenities more conducive to a first time homeowner’s lifestyle.

A House With Potential

No, we’re not talking about purchasing a house for the sole purpose of flipping it. It’s simply a matter of buying a house that may not be perfect but has long-term potential. Sometimes older, smaller houses can become dream homes over time with renovations, especially if the lower selling price saves a buyer thousands of dollars that can eventually go towards making upgrades. Even if a first home is just a “starter” home, a house with potential allows owners to add value over time as they continue to gain equity. The bottom line: Flaws in a house that don’t require renovation but might benefit from it can be a great investment, particularly if the selling price is right.

Sizing Up The Future

It’s not easy to predict what the future entails, but having a clear plan can mean less hassle in the long run. Though conventional wisdom suggests buying for real-time lifestyle and budget, first time homeowners will need to seriously consider how life changes and family additions could affect the minimum number of rooms they’ll require and the type of house they ultimately choose.

Some may buy a house with less square footage in a desirable location because it fits within their means, but plan for future children to share a bedroom. The area’s school district also merits consideration, for education value as well as resale values. Though less important than a home’s location or its structural integrity, local homeowner association rules and amenities like a yard may play a significant role to homeowners down the line.

Want to know what you can afford when buying your first home? We can help you find a mortgage to fit your lifestyle and budget. Contact me today.


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