3 Reasons Not to Skip the Starter Home -- Even if You Can Afford More House

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  • You may be inclined to skip the starter home and buy a larger, more updated property.
  • There are benefits to buying a starter home if you've never dabbled in homeownership before.

It pays to consider a starter home if you're a first-time buyer.

There's a reason so many first-time home buyers end up purchasing starter homes. While starter homes tend to be less spacious and updated, they also tend to be less expensive. In today's market, that's an important thing since home values are high on a national scale.

But what if you have a large sum of money socked away for a down payment on a home and a high enough salary to make a larger property viable? You may, in that case, be inclined to skip the starter home and purchase your forever home.

That's not necessarily a poor choice. But before you make that decision, consider these three benefits of starting off with a starter home.

1. Homeownership might cost more than you think

Owning a home involves a lot more than just paying your mortgage every month. You also have property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance, and repairs to deal with. Your total costs may end up coming in higher than anticipated.

That's why a starter home is a good idea for new buyers. That way, you're less likely to get overwhelmed if your costs end up being more substantial, and you'll put yourself in a better position to determine whether you can really comfortably afford a larger home should you choose to upsize at some point.

2. You can ease your way into home maintenance

If you've never owned a home before, you may be shocked at how much maintenance it entails. You could end up spending hours each week cutting the grass, shoveling snow, or tackling smaller things like loose cabinet knobs and squeaky closet doors.

The smaller a home you start out with, the less maintenance you're likely to have. You may want to ease into homeownership by taking on, say, one to two hours of maintenance work per week instead of the four or five that might come with a larger home.

3. You may realize you can get by with less space

It's natural to want a larger home so you can spread out, comfortably have visitors over, and accommodate overnight guests. But if you first buy a starter home, you may realize you actually don't need those two extra bedrooms or the large finished basement you initially had your heart set on.

And if that's the case, why pay more money for a larger home with those features when you can manage just fine with less square footage? After all, spending less money on housing each month could make it possible to meet other goals or just plain enjoy life with less financial stress.

Not everyone buys a starter home. If you're firm on where you want to live and can afford a larger property, you may want to buy your forever home off the bat. But before you go that route, at least consider the benefits of owning a starter home first. You may decide it's worth dipping your toes into the water rather than diving all the way in.

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