starter home http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/17817/all en-US Finding a Starter Home That's Also a Forever Home http://www.wisebread.com/finding-a-starter-home-thats-also-a-forever-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/finding-a-starter-home-thats-also-a-forever-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-4366282-small.jpg" alt="home" title="home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most folks seem to approach home-buying with generally the same logic. It goes something like this &mdash; our first or &quot;starter&quot; home will be a modest bungalow or condo that will serve as our entry into the real estate market. Our second home will probably be located in the suburbs and be much larger to support our growing family. And of course, after the kids are out of the nest, it'll be time to downsize to a small townhouse or home in a 55+ community. Those are three real estate transactions driven half by peer expectations and half by marketing. But is it all necessary? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-home">What You Need to Know Before Buying Your First Home</a>)</p> <p>My grandparents bought one home 10 years after they were married, and they lived in it until the day they died. Granted, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-this-isnt-your-grandparents-economy">with today's more mobile society</a>, spending 50 years in the same state, let alone the same town and house, is a rarity. But, all else being equal &mdash; are we buying and selling out of need or by suggestion? And, after we pay for movers, finish remodeling, buy new furniture, and pay for closing costs and higher property taxes, are we coming out ahead?</p> <p>I think there's a better way &mdash; a way to balance changing needs without <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-abc-s-of-diy-moving">uprooting ourselves</a> and stressing our budgets. If you're considering buying your first place, why not rethink your approach and choose a starter home that has the potential to be a forever home?</p> <h2>1. Ask Yourself the Right Questions</h2> <p>As with any house-hunting project, finding the right place starts with asking the right questions. Understanding your needs now and gauging your future needs is half the battle.</p> <p><strong>How Much Space Do You Really Need Now?</strong></p> <p>What are your current space and size priorities? What rooms do you spend the most time in? Are cozy bedrooms okay, but large and spacious kitchens an absolute must? Consider how your lifestyle can <a href="http://money.msn.com/frugal-living/post.aspx?post=27063e75-359a-47f6-b098-0550a0b0dcf8">inform reasonable compromises</a>.</p> <p><strong>How Much House Will You Need in the Future?</strong></p> <p>What size of family do you expect to have? Would you like each child to have his own bedroom, or do you think sharing builds stronger bonds between siblings? Is there a chance that you'll be a primary caretaker of a parent or in-law down the road? Review your philosophies and anticipate how probable life changes might affect your needs 10 or 15 years down the road.</p> <p><strong>How Much Time and Money Can You Devote to Maintenance?</strong></p> <p>More house typically means more maintenance. What size of a home or yard can you handle and still have time for a little R&amp;R on the weekends? How will the <a href="http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=25490855">maintenance costs</a> differ between the homes you're looking at?</p> <h2>2. House Hunt With an Architect's Eye</h2> <p>Reworking a home's entire layout can be considerably more expensive than making modest revisions to an existing floor plan. Before you buy, consider a home's orientation. Is there only room to make additions on one end of the house? Would an addition fit into the existing floor plan, or would it require a complete remodel? Are there special design features or historic details that will need to be carried over into the new structure?</p> <h2>3. Understand the Neighborhood</h2> <p>Every neighborhood has its own unique personality and it's important to respect the aesthetics and the norms of the homes around you. Do you want to be the guy who builds the first four-bedroom, three-car garage on a street filled with quaint pre-war bungalows? How might future plans for your home be received by your neighbors and fit in with the overall look and feel of the street?</p> <h2>4. Survey the Lot</h2> <p>Unless you're adding stories, lot size determines how much a home can physically grow to meet your needs. As you house hunt, examine how the home's footprint fits on the lot. Is there space to add another bedroom or bath and still be well within property line limits? How will future expansion affect the flow of the outdoor space? Are there geographic features you'll have to contend with to make future additions?</p> <h2>5. Review the Codes</h2> <p>Every municipality has slightly different requirements that limit house size, height, how close you can build to property lines, etc. Some historic neighborhoods even have <a href="http://homebuying.about.com/cs/deedrestrictions/a/restrictions.htm">restrictive covenants</a> that regulate acceptable architectural styles and paint colors. If you want to make sure your starter home can evolve with your family's needs, review the local codes that might directly affect your ability to make changes later.</p> <p>In the end, finding a home that meets your needs now and is perfectly poised to grow as your family grows, is entirely possible. With realistic expectations, the right planning, and a little creative vision, that quaint starter home can be all you need it to be.</p> <p><em>Are you in the market for a &quot;starter home&quot;? Are you planning to move up? Or will you keep it &quot;forever&quot;?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-a-starter-home-thats-also-a-forever-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house">Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My Second House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/growin-home-how-much-house-do-you-really-need">Growin&#039; Home: How Much House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often">8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home buying starter home Mon, 15 Jul 2013 10:30:42 +0000 Kentin Waits 980555 at http://www.wisebread.com Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My Second House http://www.wisebread.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-4791749-small.jpg" alt="house" title="house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I just finished purchasing my second house. We bought our first four years ago, sold it, and then became &quot;second-time homebuyers.&quot; First-time homebuyers get a lot of attention &mdash; there are numerous articles and tips about being <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-home" target="_blank">a first-time homebuyer</a>. And I read a lot before buying my first house. But second-time homebuyers? There's little advice available. Here are a few things I wish I knew before buying a second house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-fixer-upper" target="_blank">What to Look for in a Fixer-Upper</a>)</p> <h2>1. Buying a Second House Has More Than Twice the Costs</h2> <p>As a first-time homebuyer, you rarely see any money coming out of your pocket towards the actual costs of buying a home (aside from mortgage costs). When you're a first-time homebuyer, you bring a large check for your down payment, but other than those for the mortgage, there aren't a lot of costs. But, when you are selling your first home <em>and</em> buying your second home, you really see how the fees of house purchasing stack up. The biggest chunk is realtor fees. The seller almost always pays both agents' commissions &mdash; usually it's about 6% of the sales price. Plus you have all of the costs associated with the mortgage on your second home.</p> <h2>2. You May Not Have to Come Up With Cash</h2> <p>When you buy your first house, you may save for years to come up with a down payment. Then, when it comes to closing, your down payment comes straight from your bank account.</p> <p>I clearly remember how nervous I was about carrying my cashier's check to the closing of my first house. But, if everything works out financially, your second house down payment should come from the proceeds of your first house. Your years of paying your mortgage or otherwise spending money to improve your house should enable you to have a down payment for your second house. Obviously, the housing crash changed this for many people, but if you purchased well before the bubble or after the crash, this is how it should work.</p> <h2>3. Finding a Second House Is Harder Than Finding a First House</h2> <p>Most first-time homebuyers don't know exactly what they want in a home. I didn't care if the house had a two-car garage, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-evaluate-a-neighborhood-before-you-buy" target="_blank">was in a good school district</a>, or had a fireplace; there were only a few must-have items on my house checklist.</p> <p>The criteria for my second house, however, was exhaustive.</p> <p>After four years of homeownership I knew what projects I was willing to take on to improve a house, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-improvements-that-pay-off" target="_blank">what features are costly to install</a>, and what qualities were absolute musts. With such an extensive list, I was far pickier about the houses I looked at. It required a lot more work and took a lot more time to find our second house than it did the first. (However, because I knew exactly what I wanted, I looked at far fewer houses than the first time around.)</p> <h2>4. You'll Remember a Lot About the Home Buying Process...</h2> <p>Buying a second home is, in a way, easier than buying your first home because you've already been through the process once. When I bought my first house there was a lot I had to learn. I didn't know anything about finding a realtor, getting a mortgage, or attending a closing. All of these processes were brand new and required a lot of mental energy. When the second time came around, I already had at least a basic understanding of what to do next. This made the process less stressful and gave me more time to focus on other things.</p> <h2>5. ...But You Won't Remember Everything</h2> <p>As much as I did remember about buying a home, I certainly didn't remember everything. There are a lot of details that require re-learning (and a fair number of things can change in the real estate and mortgage world in just a few years). So, the realtor you use for your second house is just as important as your realtor was in buying your first home, because you'll still need to be walked through the details of the home buying process. It's critical that you can ask him/her any questions and that there is an open line of communication.</p> <p><em>Have you recently taken stock and considered where you are in your housing process? If you've already purchased a home, what have you learned along the way?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers">Are the new home appraisal rules good for consumers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-the-same-house-twice-for-less-than-buying-it-once">Buy the Same House Twice for Less Than Buying It Once</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-reasons-for-paying-off-the-mortgage-on-your-home">6 Great Reasons for Paying off the Mortgage on Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs">8 Ways to Reduce Mortgage Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-worst-home-sale-horror-stories">The 8 Worst Home Sale Horror Stories</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home buying home selling mortgage real estate starter home Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:24:38 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 977909 at http://www.wisebread.com