McCarthy Thielman Realty
McCarthy Thielman Realty
Brinda S. Thielman, Broker/Owner, McCarthy Thielman RealtyPhone: (602) 228-9194
Email: [email protected]

3 Things to Look for In a Starter Home

by Brinda S. Thielman, Broker/Owner 05/01/2022

If you’re looking for a starter home, you probably know some of your criteria already. A starter home is a more affordable and practical stepping stone to eventually owning a larger and more expensive forever home. Even with this concept in mind, it’s hard to know what to look for. Here we’ll go over the biggest things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect starter home.

A Convenient Location

Finding a starter home in a dream home neighborhood is an excellent way to experience all an area offers. For this reason, it’s recommended that you look for a starter home in or nearby where you eventually intend to live long term. You’ll be able to judge and access local amenities and businesses, school districts, transportation and overall feel of the location while paying less. If you want to live near family, friends or your job you can experience those benefits before finding your forever home.

This also means that if you change your mind about where you want to live, you’re also in a much more flexible position to move elsewhere. A starter home is already intended as a short-term living situation, so you will be more mentally and fiscally prepared to try somewhere new.

A Stable Housing Market

Even though you’re not likely to stay in a starter home for a long time, it’s important to find one where the local housing market is healthy. Consider a property in an area where home values and sale prices have either remained steady for years or have been gradually increasing. Be wary of neighborhoods that have dropped in price—while you may score an excellent deal on a home and mortgage, lower property values mean you may not recoup the cost when you eventually sell the home.

If you’re uncertain about market trends in your desired area, consult a real estate professional for guidance. They’ll be able to point you toward a smart move so that you find the best property for your needs.

Minimal Repairs or Improvements Needed

Some people equate the idea of a starter home with a fixer-upper. While fixer-uppers can be extremely affordable, they are often far more work (and expense) than new homeowners are prepared for. If your goal is to live in a starter home while saving money for a different home in the future, the last thing you want to do is spend thousands of dollars on repairs and improvements. This will delay your longer-term goals and probably add unnecessary stress to your living situation.

To avoid this, weigh your options when considering a property with existing issues. Some are easy and inexpensive fixes that can equal a great deal, while others might leave you in the red. Steer clear of major problems like a failing roof, foundation issues or extensive mold or pest problems. These problems are not only expensive to fix but require immediate attention—there’s no putting them off for later.

Starter homes can be incredibly beneficial for many first-time homebuyers. However, avoiding some common pitfalls will ensure that you find the right starter home to help you accomplish your future goals without sacrificing your short-term quality of life.

About the Author

Brinda S. Thielman, Broker/Owner

Hi! I'm Brinda Thielman. Thank you for your interest in exploring Arizona real estate with me.

As a native Arizonian, I have seen the growth in the “Valley of the Sun” first hand. With over 30 years in the real estate industry, I know how challenging and intimidating buying and selling a home can be. That's where I come in! When I started my real estate career, I quickly found I loved every aspect of the home buying and selling process, from touring a home, researching the best mortgage loan for my clients, new construction details and even the negotiation and closing process. 

In 2015, I help found McCarthy Thielman Realty, LLC. Today it is one of the leading boutique real estate firms specializing in North Phoenix real estate.

My mission is to help you accomplish your real estate goals and dreams - "I'll Lead You Home!"