Skipping the Starter Home

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There was a day, not too long ago, when people went by a certain progression as it related to home ownership.  The idea was that we were intended to be in a home, which fit our current and immediate needs as a family.  We would get married and buy our first home, which typically meant a couple of bedrooms and a bathroom.  This size house would easily accommodate a married couple, and a young child if one should come along within the first few years.

Once we started planning for child number two, and maybe the family dog, we would start looking for a house with an additional bedroom, and maybe a fenced backyard so we would have a place to play, and get outdoors without having to take a drive.  This was also good for those weekend cookouts, and for the quick picnic for the kids on days that were a little more on the boring side.

If we decided to expand the family to a third child, we would have an option to consider.  We would allow two of the children to share a bedroom, and stay in the house we are in, or we would have to expand to an additional bedroom, and definitely an additional bathroom.  Home ownership was more about the needs of the family, and the most economical decisions avoiding unnecessary debt.

Today, home ownership is more about moving into something that will work indefinitely, so a move isn’t necessary if the family should expand, or it is about making a smart investment decision that will offer better security for the future.  In other words, the mindset is more about down-sizing if the need should come up in the future, than it is about up-sizing as the need arises in the early days.

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We also have a new dynamic factoring into the new home buyer formula.  We have interest rates lower than ever, which means sales prices can increase.  Most people are more interested in the monthly payment, than the total price of the home.  Today things are more about our budget, than the amount of debt we collect.  As long as we can manage our monthly payments, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to own a million-dollar home….as long as the monthly payment fit our budget model.

The largest risk for people today would be maximizing their debt to income ration, and then having something happen to their income.  Based on this we have money managers to help define an “acceptable” debt to income ratio, helping to ensure people have some amount of protection and savings in case their income should change.  For most people, it is worth the risk for the possibility of not just achieving home ownership, but achieving what they perceive as the “American Dream” …. the largest and best house on the block.

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We still have the need for the “starter” home today, but the customer is a lot different.  Many millennials are purchasing their first home in their late 20s or early 30s.  Because of this, many of the starter type homes are requiring more custom features than the starter home 30 or 40 years ago.  Based on this the definition of starter home has also changed.  In the past a “starter” home meant small, and inexpensive.  Today a “starter” home means small, but usually includes some nice interior features, like granite countertops, or tiled showers and custom home offices. 

Creating a home that works best for you and your family is going to be dictated by the style and function you need, based on your specific lifestyle, desires and budget.  To learn more about creating your custom starter home visit us at AmericasHomePlace.com

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