Buying a starter home can be an exciting adventure . . . as well as a discouraging and laborious task. In hot housing markets especially, even starter homes can sometimes be prohibitively expensive. But in spite of less-than-favorable market conditions, you can still find a starter home within your reach. You just have to be willing to give and be flexible in a few areas. The trick, though, lies in knowing where you should and shouldn’t compromise. With that in mind, we offer these 6 things worth compromising on when buying your starter home in Los Angeles.
Often, first-time home buyers set out on their search for a starter home with a less-than-realistic image in their minds of what the home should be like. But that image and the consequent expectations usually have to have to be altered. This is an area where compromise is not only advised but is usually necessary when buying your Los Angeles starter home.
It is necessary mostly because inventory is still low in most markets – that is, there just enough starter homes (or any kind of homes for that matter) to meet the demand. This means, then, that in order to find an affordable starter home, you will likely have to change or lower your expectations. You don’t have to settle for a run-down shack, but you will have to stop holding out for your “dream” home.
With a shortage of homes within your price range, you will most likely have to settle for, say, a little less square footage or fewer amenities. This situation almost demands that you let your agent guide you in finding the right starter home. (Discover how a local agent can help by calling (866) 593 7012.)
Yes, location is one of the prime considerations for any kind of real estate, but it is still something worth compromising on when buying your starter home in Los Angeles – if you are careful. As with other expectations, you probably won’t find a starter home in that ideal location.
The other side of the location coin, though, is that you still have to be circumspect and research the location. You don’t want to wind up buying your [market-city] starter home in a high-crime neighborhood or in a terrible school district. Again, your agent can provide the needed assistance to help you choose an affordable and satisfactory location, especially with respect to appreciation and future resale value..
The size of a starter home is another area where compromise is usually worthwhile. Yes, starting out with a smaller home is usually what called for, but keep in mind that a starter home is just that – the home you start out in, not your final real estate destination. You can upgrade later to a more spacious home.
But even small starter homes have more square footage than buyers often realize, typically in the form of “hidden” square footage. For example, maybe the garage could be converted into another bedroom or that large storage closet turned into a home office. Small isn’t always as small as it appears at first glance.
4. Curb Appeal
One thing definitely worth compromising on when buying your starter home in Los Angeles is curb appeal. If a starter home doesn’t look all that great from the curb, it’s usually not a big deal.
Curb appeal involves mostly landscaping and the exterior of the home. And most of these things can be improved with a little elbow grease and not a lot of expense, typically requiring skills that most of already possess. The real upside, though, is that improving curb appeal, especially landscaping, yields a great return on investment and can greatly increase the value of your home.
As with curb appeal, those weird, garish colors in the interior rooms are easily fixed, so you should consider compromising on color when buying your Los Angeles starter home. Maybe the kitchen is orange, but it takes only a couple of gallons of paint and a few hours of wielding brush and roller to restore it to something more appealing. Color is merely a cosmetic concern and shouldn’t be a big sticking point.
You can also compromise on the condition of the home, but only on things that aren’t structural or system flaws. Maybe the siding is looking pretty ragged or the carper is worn and stained or the windows aren’t well-sealed – all these things are acceptable for compromise. What you shouldn’t do, however, is accept termite problems, roof damage, major plumbing, issues, or an HVAC system that isn’t functioning optimally. Your inspector’s and your agent’s opinions should guide you on this.
So there are things worth compromising on when buying your starter home in Los Angeles. And there are some things you should never compromise on. Our agents can help you make that distinction and get a better deal on your starter home.