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SMALL BEGINNINGS, BIG DREAMS


The Kesh Group Niagara REALTOR - Starter Homes - Buyer & Buying Services

Owning your first home is an exciting milestone, but it’s important to recognize that it may not be your forever home. The reality is that lifestyles change, priorities shift, and what once seemed essential may no longer hold the same importance. For many, the real estate journey begins with a starter home. While the term “starter home” may evoke images of temporary living arrangements, these humble abodes play a pivotal role in laying the groundwork for future aspirations. 


To delve deeper into the world of starter homes and the invaluable lessons they offer, we sat down with our trusted REALTOR®, Jordan Saksena.


Asked about the characteristics that distinguish a starter home from other properties, Jordan chuckled. "A starter home is simply one you can afford," she said. "It may not be perfect or have every feature you desire, but that's okay. It provides an opportunity to add those features and enhance the value of your home."


For better or for worse, starter homes often carry a negative stigma in public perception. "There's a common misconception that all starter homes are small, outdated, and run-down," Jordan noted. "I always remind my clients who are just starting out that you can find nicely finished starter homes; perhaps they have an unfinished basement that they can put their stamp on or a yard in need of a little TLC to transform into an oasis." Regardless of what your needs are, starter homes offer the space and freedom to accommodate life’s transitions. 


Understanding Jordan’s experience with starter homes requires a glimpse into her own journeyparticularly when she bought her first home before turning 30. Reflecting on this milestone, Jordan stressed the importance of preparation. "For my husband and me, it was about five years of prioritizing saving for our future home by making certain personal concessions and tracking our spending," she recalled. "We consulted with our mortgage broker about two years before we were ready to buy, followed their advice diligently, stuck to a tight budget, and before we knew it, we had our down payment saved up."


But that’s not where their story ends. Jordan and her husband have since moved into a second home. "When we bought our first house, we imagined staying there long-term because we loved everything about it," she explained. "However, after adopting two dogs, we realized the small yard was no longer sufficient. Our priorities had shifted by the time we were searching for our second home."


An underrated benefit of a starter home is its potential as a source of additional income. Jordan, forward-thinking as ever, rented out their first home. "We intend to move back someday, so we didn’t want to let it go entirely," she explained. "It's satisfying knowing someone else can enjoy the home, and when we're older and ready to downsize, we'll have the option to move back in." Strategic planning and prudent financial management can turn a starter home into a lucrative asset! 


Regarding advice for those torn between starting with a smaller home or aiming for their dream home from the outset, Jordan's guidance is practical and empowering. "Get into the market sooner rather than later," she advised. "Start with a home you like, put in some effort to make it truly yours, and down the road, you can sell or leverage it to buy your dream home."


Jordan acknowledged that starter homes often require some work, even if they're move-in ready, but that shouldn't be a deterrent. "There might be things you want to change, and that's okay," she reassured. "The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, like getting into the market, feeling pride in homeownership, and setting yourself on a path forward."


When asked for her number one piece of advice for first-time homebuyers making their wish lists, Jordan emphasized the importance of working with an honest REALTOR® who understands their budget and expectations. "Find someone who can guide you in your search, especially if it's your first time purchasing," she recommended.


If you’re considering purchasing a starter home, remember that it’s not just a place to liveit’s the beginning of an exciting adventure in homeownership. Your first home is an investment in your future and a stepping stone toward your next property or investment venture. So take a deep breath, trim your wish list, and focus on your current needs and priorities. In doing so, you'll find a home that suits you perfectly now while setting you up for future success!


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