Buying your first home is a huge decision, and yet sometimes I watch couple get into serious financial trouble because they over bought on their first home. It’s so easy to get caught up in getting yoru dream home the very first time, but should you aim for the “dream” straight away?
See, instead of looking at the big picture, often times we make the mistake of getting way emotional when we make that HUGE purchase. I often see couples who are ready to start a family jump right into the 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. At times they are pushing a 55% debt to income ratio just to become house poor. Or other times I see a couple purchasing a home and then the mom decides to be a stay at home parent as soon as the baby is born. Although having a well paying job where she would clearly be able to make the mortgage payment before, it has now become difficult. A smarter thing to do is to by a starter home. This is something that is smaller and that they can grow into, maybe even a townhouse or a condo. What would be even better is if it was a smart investment that with a few cosmetic changes brought a lot of bang for your buck when you sold it. Remember it takes 9 months to make a baby, and at least another 9 months to make their siblings. And just incase you forgot babies usually sleep in their parents room for at least a year, so the bigger house can wait.
Another factor to take into consideration is the age of your children, at what point will they leave the nest. When they do you may be stuck with a big house and sometimes financially it may not make sense to down size. When you retire, will you be able to take care of the maintence of the home? So while I’m not here totally trying to kill your dream, I’m trying to help you be smart about purchasing a home. If it all works for you then it’s all good, but if you see some struggle along the way, then take all factors into consideration.
Our family personally lives in a 1700 sq foot home which has proven perfect for us. Yes, its a 3 bedroom 2 bath, but our kids are 10 years old so the space is good. Our biggest current challenge is the lack of guest space, but we make due with rollaway beds and air mattresses.
If you are looking to buy your first home, but want to talk about the big picture and what your family really NEEDS. In my other life, I am a Real Estate professional. I love brainstorming with people about if living in a smaller home makes sense for their family.