The Next Hot Housing Market: Starter Homes

Think Of It Like A “Beater” Car

When you first buy a car, it’s generally not a wise idea to get the most expensive, hottest vehicle on the market. You’re going to have fender benders, make maintenance mistakes, insurance mistakes, and the like. If you go with top-tier cars right out the gate, you’ll spend way more than you have to; and what if the vehicle is wrecked?

It’s better to buy a used vehicle with some miles on it; then you can see some true return on your investment. With buying your first home, you’re in the same place, and this is one reason that starter homes are becoming the next hot housing market. Tiny homes are kind of like starter homes; think “cottage”.

Basically, a starter home is going to be something like a two-bedroom, one bath, single-storey unit with limited yard space, and a small one car driveway. This is enough for a couple and up to three children to live in relative comfort. Such a home can be acquired on the outskirts of town for around $100k in most places of the country.

If you’re in a city like Los Angeles, it’ll likely be two to three times as expensive; but try this on for size: you can purchase a 50 foot by 100-foot lot about forty to fifty miles from the center of L.A. for under $2k, if you’re savvy—check Ebay. You could build a prefabricated steel unit on that property, including utilities etc., for under $100k.

Starter home

Exploring Diverse Options

Still, most people won’t build their own starter homes from the get-go. The point is, if you’re wise and careful in your search, you can very likely find a property that costs less than $100k, has living space for a couple and their children, and works ideally as a startup property.

You might even consider apartments for sale. You can check here for a list of apartments in downtown Dallas. Sometimes starter homes are rented out rather than sold, but you may be able to work out a mortgage arrangement. The point is, think outside the box.

Whatever you do, once you finally get the starter home which best fits your situation, your next step is going to be refurbishing it as you go such that once it’s paid off, you can sell it for more than you purchased it for. A neighborhood should remain relatively stable over the course of five to ten years, which, if you’re diligent, may be all you need that starter home for.

It’s important to upgrade property value. Going green makes a lot of sense in terms of trends and cost-effectiveness, but there are mistakes you should avoid; here’s a list of several prescient ones. Still, if you install a 3.2 kWh solar energy system on your property, that can increase its value from $10k to $20k, depending on the state you’re living in. It can also initiate a tax break and save you money on your utility bills.

Best home

Making The Best Choice For Your Family

If you are savvy enough to buy a starter home in a place like California for $100k (it will be very hard, but not impossible; in L.A., even smaller homes go for $500k or more), then $10k to $20k in value increase is a 10% to 20% value expansion.

Add a deck, redo some floors, if there’s an unfinished basement, finish it. Redo the roof. Fix any leaks. You may be able to see your home become half again as valuable by the time you’re ready to sell and acquire a more permanent residence.

There are a lot of different ways to go about finding your perfect home. Starter homes are a hot market right now because they give you some cushion in terms of bad choices any new home owner makes, and additionally provide you the potential to upgrade the property from the outset, allowing you to make money back on your investment.

About Jennifer Cribsly

I'm a former real estate broker who specialized in helping first time buyers be able to purchase a home. Now full time mom, part time real estate owner/investor.
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