4 Things To Consider When Looking for a Forever Family Home
For most people, the first home they buy is not the one they end up living in for the rest of their lives. It's often a little smaller, a little less expensive. These homes are referred to as "starter homes" because they are sort of a training ground to learn the ropes of homeownership before moving on to something bigger and better. You may have mixed feelings about looking for a "forever" home. Your family may be growing, and you may be in need of the extra space. On the other hand, you may feel intimidated about the prospect of taking on a larger mortgage or sentimental about the place you are leaving behind. If you are undecided about moving on from your starter home into a longer-term arrangement, here are some important things to take into consideration. 1. Financing One of the most important things to determine when considering a new home purchase is whether you can afford it. You do not want to become house poor because most of your income goes toward paying a mortgage that you can barely afford. There may be options besides a conventional loan available to you. If you've served in the military, you may be eligible for a VA loan. If you intend to buy a house in a rural area, you may be eligible for a federal loan from the United States Department of Agriculture. 2. Future Plans Before you consider buying a "forever" home, you should have a pretty specific idea of what your future plans are and where you intend to be in another 10, 20, or 30 years. Granted, these plans should be fairly flexible. Unexpected circumstances, both positive and negative, can arise without warning and change your plans. However, if you're happy in your current area, fairly stable in your employment situation, and eager to find a place for your kids to grow up, you might be ready for long-term home purchase. Keep in mind, however, that even though the term is "forever home," you may not be there until you die. After your children grow up and leave home, you may be interested in downsizing to something that is more manageable. 3. Location Your children may be very young now, but if you are looking for the place where you want them to grow up, you need to do your homework beforehand and make sure that it is suitable for them. That means paying attention to the property itself, observing the existing features, assessing potential hazards, and evaluating for possible additions. For example, as your children get older, you may want to put up a swing set or a basketball hoop, so you should think about whether you have enough room for these things. Additionally, you should also consider the neighborhood as a whole. Research important aspects such as the crime rate and the quality of K-12 schools in the area. These should inform your decision on whether this is a good place to settle your family permanently. 4. Maintenance and Upkeep All homes require some degree of regular upkeep and maintenance. The amount required depends on factors such as the age and size of the home. Newer homes tend to require less maintenance, at least at first. On the other hand, as time goes on and things start wearing out, homes may require more maintenance. For that reason, it may be a good idea to look for a family home that is approximately the same age as your starter home. This may give you some idea of how much maintenance is required. Then again, if upkeep of your existing home has been unreasonably burdensome for you, another option may be preferable than the purchase of another single family home. Above all, consider your purchase according to a timetable that works for you and your family. If you're outgrowing your current home, a change should probably come sooner rather than later. However, do not base your decision on age or other arbitrary benchmarks but on the needs of your family.