Your first home, the one that gets you started on the path to bigger and better living, is everyone’s dream. It’s more than just a home you can afford. It’s a major investment and commitment to yourself and the lifestyle you want. Marc Coons, the Paso Robles mortgage consultant who helps people find the right home loans, has some tips to help choose the best starter home for your goals. Leading the tips are a few items for thought:
- Affordability is important. Even with a sufficient down payment and a top-of-the-line credit rating, it’s not a good strategy to get into a situation where the house payment gobbles up extra cash for an evening out or a vacation.
- A starter home is rarely the “dream home,” and that’s exactly what “starter” means, a foot in the door to launch you towards your dream home.
- What are your short-term and long-term goals for home ownership?
Ideas for a starter home
Affordability is important for any home you buy, but that doesn’t mean your first home has to be a distressed property, although there can be some advantages to buying a fixer-upper.
Starter homes can range from a one-bedroom home, a manufactured home in a park, a condo, townhouse, duplex/triplex or a single-family home, or even a fixer-upper. The important thing to remember is that this is your first home and you are not planning on living there forever, so making some compromises can be a good thing. When you work with a mortgage consultant like Paso Robles’ Marc Coons, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover the starter home options that open up for you.
If you are single you have a lot more freedom than if you have a partner or a family. Things that may be non-negotiable in a relationship, such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and storage space, while important, may not be as important. Even an older kitchen, as long as it is functional, may not be as important to a single person.
A good strategy is to sit down with yourself or your partner or family and make a list of the home features that are negotiable and those that are not. Some things to include:
- Neighborhood. Is it safe? Is it in a good school district? Is it close to school? Is it comfortably close to work?
- Is a garage, covered parking, or a private driveway a must-have?
- How many bedrooms will comfortably accommodate your family?
- Can you get by with just one bathroom?
- How important is new carpeting or other improvements the seller may make before selling? Looking for a home that needs some minor improvements can save you thousands on the price.
- Is there a safe space for your pets?
- Is there a yard or play area for the kids and what is the minimum yard/play space that will work for a few years?
- Is landscaping important or do you plan on creating your own?
- Can you afford improvements, such as upgrading the kitchen, bathroom, or flooring?
- If you are planning on making improvements, how much time and money do you want to invest?
What are your goals?
Some people buy their starter home with the idea of gradually turning it into their dream home instead of selling it in a few years. Whether you are buying with the intent of buying another home in a few years, or to create your dream home, it’s important to remember that things change.
For any number of reasons, you may find yourself living in the starter home longer than planned. You may be creating your dream home and an opportunity to buy a different home comes along unexpectedly. An opportunity for a better job that requires moving might come along.
The ability to be flexible in your plans is very important. This is not to say you need to lay awake all night worrying about what might or might not happen. It just means that opportunities can pop up at any time and being flexible allows you to change your plans and take advantage of a new direction.
Work with an expert
Marc Coons, the Paso Robles mortgage consultant, connects home buyers with lenders who are interested in helping home buyers. Everyone has heard at least one mortgage nightmare story from friends and family—being turned down, continually answering questions and providing more requested documentation, long approval processes and more. Marc works with multiple lenders, many of whom specialize in non-conventional loans, giving you a wider field of mortgage opportunities.
As an experienced mortgage consultant, Marc and his team have access to a vast number of lenders and can quickly identify lenders who are willing to meet your terms. Marc has lived on the Central Coast since 1990 and has been helping people find lenders since 2004. He is committed to the success of Central Coast communities and home buyers.
Marc and his team streamline the loan process by thoroughly understanding your unique circumstances and connecting you with the right lenders and mortgages for your needs. Backed by CrossCounty Mortgage, the team helps you prequalify, streamlines the paperwork and application process and answers all of your questions.