Starter Homes: What Are They And What To Look For?


A starter home is just that—a place to live while you’re on the path to finding your dream home. A starter home can range from an apartment with no real responsibilities, or it can be a starter house you purchase as part of your mortgage loan. In either case, here are some things to consider before you buy a starter home:

What is a starter home?

Starter homes are homes that are affordable and in good condition, typically for first-time buyers. It’s also often a foreclosed property, meaning it was previously owned by someone who lost their house due to financial hardship—an unfortunate circumstance, but one that presents an opportunity for you as a first-time buyer.

It’s not necessarily about where you live now (or want to live) forever; it’s about finding something affordable within your budget now so that over time you can upgrade your living situation when necessary without worrying too much about having saved up enough money beforehand.

Let’s think of starter homes as entry-level homes, affordable homes for first-time homebuyers – whatever an “affordable home” with home prices how they are in today’s market 😵‍💫.

Who is a starter home good for?

A starter home is great for young families who are looking to buy their first home, empty nesters who want to downsize and plan on staying put in the same neighborhood, people who are moving to a New City and want a move-in ready home, and anyone who wants to live in an environment that’s easy on their wallet.

Starter homes can be good for lots of different people, especially with the housing market the way it is today. If interest rates continue to rise then I’m sure we’ll see more and more people searching for starter homes.

How long do you live in a starter home?

How long you’ll stay in a starter home depends on what your goals are for the home. If you want to move up to a larger house, then it will be helpful to wait a few years so that you can afford what you really want. However, if you plan to stay in the same house for a long time (or even forever), then consider getting a bigger place now so that it will be more suitable for future needs.

Of course, no matter which path is right for your family—whether they grow up with their parents or not—getting into real estate is always going to be an important part of life’s journey!

How much should I save for a starter home?

The more money you have saved up, the more options you will have when it comes to buying your starter home. The more money you have saved up, the more money you can put down on a house (which reduces the amount of debt) and less debt means less interest over time. The less money you need to borrow, the lower your monthly payments will be.

What to look for in a starter home

When looking for a starter home, you’ll want to consider the following:


Location is the most important factor when considering a home. A good location has three elements: commute, safety, and schools.

  • Commute time is how long you have to drive from your house to work each day. The longer the drive time, the more likely you are to be late for work or school and miss appointments or meetings. You should also consider whether there are bus routes or public transportation near your home—if yes, this could save you money on gas as well as help reduce emissions in our atmosphere!

  • Safety includes crime rates and other factors like whether there’s enough space between houses so that people can see what’s happening on their property without having to keep lights on all night long (and pay higher electricity bills). Make sure there aren’t any abandoned buildings nearby that may attract criminals looking for places where they can hide out while committing crimes elsewhere in town too!

  • Schools is self-explanatory, but you’ll want to make sure that the schools in your area are highly rated if you’re going to send your children there.

Hire a real estate agent to help you out with all of the research once you’ve decided on a location.



Neighborhoods have a big impact on your quality of life. You want to live somewhere that’s safe, family-friendly, and has good schools. The more amenities that are available in your neighborhood—like grocery stores and parks—the better.

To find a neighborhood with these qualities, look at the crime rate in the area you want to move to and how close it is to job centers. If there are good access points for public transportation, that’s another plus! And make sure the quality of life is high: do people actually like living there?


Budget is a big factor in the process of buying a home, and it’s one that should be addressed early on. Your budget will determine how much you can afford to spend on your new house, as well as what types of houses are even within your reach. A realistic budget will take into account all of your expenses—including taxes, mortgage payments, utilities, and maintenance—and should also account for any savings you have built up so far (or may plan to build up in the future).

Once you’ve established a total figure that makes sense for your income level and goals, make sure it’s flexible enough that it could rise or fall depending on circumstances. If you’re holding off on having children until after buying a house and then suddenly find out that twins are on the way six months later, you’ll need to be flexible.

Adjusting one part of your budget can always mean adjusting another part so that everything remains balanced! And remember: There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious when making these plans; just make sure not to set yourself up for disappointment by aiming too high at first; there’s no shame in coming back down once reality sets in.

Down Payment

When you buy a home, you will be expected to pay some money upfront. This amount is called a down payment, and it can be anywhere from 5% to 20% of the purchase price or just 3.5% down if using an FHA loan.

The bank likes to see at least 20% of the purchase price be paid in cash or through financing before they approve the loan request; this allows them enough collateral if something goes wrong with another borrower’s mortgage or property taxes aren’t paid by their homeowner’s association (HOA).

Home size and style

When deciding on the right size and style of home, there are several things to consider.

  • How many bedrooms you will need?

  • What kind of neighborhood is your starter home located in?

  • How much space do you have for entertaining guests?

It’s important to remember that when purchasing a starter home you are likely not going to be living there forever. So it makes sense that the house may not be big enough for what you’d eventually like to have!

Cost of utilities

If you’re looking for a starter home, it’s important to consider what the monthly utility costs will be.

This can vary greatly depending on where you live and how many people are living in the home.

Repairs and Maintenance

As with all things, you get what you pay for. If a house is in need of major repairs, it may be worth looking elsewhere. However, if there are only small things that need to be done (a new door or carpeting), then the price may be worth it.

You should also consider what kind of maintenance will be needed on the home and how often it will need to be done. This will help make sure that you can continue living comfortably in your new home without having to worry about costly repairs later on down the road.

When searching for a starter home, ask yourself: How much do I want to spend on repairs and maintenance? What are some common issues that homes have? How can I reduce these issues before they arise?


crime map

There are many things to consider before buying a home, but one of the most important is safety. A safe home should be free of hazards and unsafe conditions that could result in injury or death.

Here are some tips for finding a safe starter home:

  • Inspect your property thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.

  • Look for signs of structural damage, such as cracked foundation, walls, and roofs; crumbling brickwork; water damage; Mold or mildew growth; missing floorboards or steps; broken windowpanes/glass doors/windowsills (anything that makes it easy for someone to break in).

  • Also, make sure there aren’t any broken smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors—those are important!

  • If you find something wrong with your property during an inspection, don’t sign until it’s fixed so take an extra day if necessary. I mean this literally because if there’s something wrong with your house then obviously no one wants you living there anyways so don’t rush into anything just because you want it now – especially when we’re talking about something as important as safety.

Commute to Work and Household Needs

When you’re looking for a starter home, it’s important to think about how the house will fit into your life. Where will you be commuting from? Is there traffic during rush hour? Are there public transportation options nearby? How far is the nearest grocery store or school or other services that could make your life easier?

You should also consider what amenities are available in the area. Is there enough parking? What stores are within walking distance and do those stores have everything you need—or do you have to drive elsewhere for groceries or shopping trips?

Your Future Plans

Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. You should be looking for a home that will suit your present needs, as well as your future plans. For example, if you plan on having children one day (and all signs are pointing towards that happening), look for a future home that has a yard and is located in an area with good schools nearby.

If you’re planning on staying put for the long haul, it’s a good idea to examine nearby amenities such as parks and shops before making any decisions. These features might seem unimportant now but they can make all the difference—not only do they help maintain property value but they also enhance the quality of life by providing more opportunities for socializing and outdoor exercise!

A starter home must be safe and energy efficient

Safety: You should always be on the lookout for homes that have features like fire sprinklers, smoke alarms, and deadbolts. These are all important in keeping you and your loved ones safe from danger.

Energy efficiency: When acquiring a new home, you’ll want to make sure it’s energy efficient; otherwise you could end up with some costly bills every month. There are a few ways of determining this:

  • Look at how many windows there are in the house (the more windows, the better)

  • Check out how thick its walls are (thicker walls mean less heat can escape).

What is a forever home?

single family home

A forever home is a place where you feel safe. It’s a place where you can be yourself, and you’re always welcome. It’s a place where you can have fun with your family and friends, and it’s a place where you feel loved.

Your forever home might have three bedrooms so you can house your family and friends when they stay over. House hunting for a starter home or a single-family home that you plan on living in forever requires two different strategies. You might want more outdoor space or to be next to local parks if you’re going to live there forever.

If you’re ready to move into a starter home, consider all the factors above.

If you’re ready to move into a starter home, consider all the factors above before signing on the dotted line. Be realistic about your needs and wants, get a professional home inspection, do your research and be prepared to compromise.

The truth is, every home is a starter home. The question is whether it’s the right one for you. You can make sure that your starter home is the right choice by paying attention to what we’ve outlined above and doing your due diligence before committing to any property purchase. If moving into a smaller space feels like the right move for you, then congratulations! You are on your way toward living in real estate heaven.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.

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