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How to decide what your forever home looks like

How to decide what your forever home looks like

Forever can seem like a long time. But, for many people, securing their permanent home brings a great sense of peace and comfort. This feeling of reassurance comes from knowing that they own their forever home and that they've settled down for the foreseeable future in their own small corner of the world.

Some people get to this point after trying out homeownership with a starter house. Others may wait longer and dive straight into the market for their dream home. No matter your circumstances, here are some key things to look for when you're on the search for your forever home.

Trading up from a starter home

If you're the kind of person who keeps tabs on interest rates, you likely figured out that they've been at historic lows over the last few years, and you wanted in.

Maybe you didn't have enough saved up for the down payment on your dream home. Perhaps you were hoping your income would rise in the coming years, but you wanted to keep your mortgage payments down for the time being.

Whatever the reason, you settled on a starter home. It's not the biggest house one on the block, but it's yours and you're proud of it.

Find yourself you itching to get back into the market so you can find your forever home? First of all, ask yourself why.

A March 2020 report from the National Association of Realtors concluded that these were the leading causes that could convince buyers it was time to move:

  1. Career reasons.
  2. Health reasons.
  3. More space.

Investigate your own personal reasons. How has your life changed since you first moved into your starter home? Has a spouse moved in with you? Is your family expanding? Has your job or career changed significantly?

Also, take a moment to think about what you've learned concerning your housing priorities since you bought your first home. Is your commute driving you up the wall? Do you wish you had better access to public transportation or that you lived in a more walkable neighborhood? Has a household member suffered an injury that makes the stairs a burden?

These are the factors that should influence your search.

Lastly, if you think you're pretty happy with the way your starter home worked out, and you want to stay, that's OK, too! Don't feel like you need to look for a new home just because it's the thing to do. There's peace of mind in having it all paid off. Maybe there are things you could do to make your current home cozier, like building additions or renovating interiors. These options could build equity in your home, as well.

Skipping the starter home?

On the path to homeownership, some people feel it's preferable to skip the starter home step entirely. They think it's unnecessary to tie yourself down paying a mortgage on a place you don't actually want to keep. Others have had to save longer to make it to their first down payment while paying off student loans and other obligations, and they want to be ready for the next phase of their lives as soon as they move in. In some markets, more affordable, smaller housing is also harder to find.

You might also want to skip this step if you're worried about what it will take to sell your starter home. Research released from Trulia in May 2019 noted that, while starter home inventory had grown over the past quarter, most of that growth was concentrated in particularly expensive areas. It seems that the real culprit behind rising inventory was probably that trade-up homes were staying on the market longer.

If you're skipping the starter home and going straight to your forever home, you should think about how your lifestyle over the next few years will compare to how it's been so far. You may also want to think about a house or condo that that, though spacious and high in amenities, is lower maintenance, since you may have less experience handling home repairs and upkeep.

Of course, everybody's dream home is different. Whether you're moving on to your forever home or just in the market for a starter home, take some of the pressure off of the moving process. Contact your local Atlas Agent today.

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