What should I look for in a starter home?

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House hunting for a starter home is an exciting time for first-time homebuyers. It marks the beginning of their journey to achieve home ownership and, more importantly, signifies the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.

Transitioning from renting to owning is a significant change, and it can be difficult to know what to look for in your first home. Starter homes are meant to be temporary, so there are items that you want to look out for that are specific to starter homes. 


Before you begin the house hunting process, it is very important that you decide on your budget and set your price limit. When you get preapproved for a loan, the lender will tell you the maximum loan amount that you can borrow. However, you do not need to borrow the full amount and it can be better to borrow below that maximum amount.

Borrowing less and purchasing a home that is below budget can save you considerable financial stress and allow you to spend more on day-to-day expenses. Be aware of your personal finance and decide what is the highest price you are willing to borrow to buy a home and stick to that limit.

Your Lifestyle 

When going to different viewings and shopping around, remember to not solely focus on the home. Be aware of the location of the property. What would your commute look like? Would it be a long drive to visit friends and family? Are there shops nearby? Considering these questions will help you decide whether the home truly fits with your lifestyle and if you would genuinely be happy living there.

Repairs and Maintenance

When you are at different house viewings, pay close attention to any issues you see with the property. Especially with a starter home which is meant to be temporary, it is important to be aware of the cost of any necessary repairs that would need to be done. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at viewings about issues you see and if those can be factored into the purchase price.

Location and Housing Market

Starter homes are meant to allow you to build equity in a property so that you can purchase your “forever home” in a few years. Therefore, you want to ensure that the property is in a desirable location and would sell relatively easily. Additionally, research other houses in the area and note what they sold for in different years. This will allow you to learn if housing prices stay relatively stable or if they have been increasing steadily with time. 

When house hunting for your first home, keep in mind the purpose of a starter home. Understanding that the home is meant to be temporary will help ensure that you buy the right home.