There’s a good reason why it’s called a “starter home”. It is because your first house isn’t your forever house. It allows you to learn and make mistakes, and realize that life changes. You change. Your city changes, your needs change.
And that is probably why, statistically, people nowadays stay in these “starter homes” for roughly 5-10 years.
Our parents’ and grandparents’ generations lived in their homes for an average of 30-50 years. Now, jobs change faster, and way more often than they used to, there are international opportunities that families relocate for, there are accommodations made for parents’ aging in place – there are just so many variables leading towards not owning your first home for decades.
So, you might have to make some compromises on your first home.
And this is why it’s important you choose your realtor with care – I’m gonna encourage you to stare deep inside that crystal ball in anticipation of how your priorities may change when it comes to first home -vs- forever home.
For instance, I have seen all of these scenarios play out in real life:
- You purchased a home based on commute – guess what? You got a surprise dream job! New commute!
- A family member falls ill and you need to move closer to them, or travel to them daily.
- Dad broke his hip, and needs in-home care. In your home care, that is.
- You never wanted kids…until you did. When I was a baby I slept in a tiny dresser drawer on a boat, but eventually kids kinda outgrow dresser drawers and need their own space.
- “I don’t have a dog, why do I need a backyard?” Uh oh, you fell in love with Charles, an energetic 100 pound mutt, up for rescue that you saw on Instagram…. and you don’t have a backyard.
- You’ve never minded renting an apartment on a busy street, why would you mind owning a house on one (despite my firmly telling you “NO!”), and yeah, now it’s a big deal ‘cos you have kids and your partner is working night shift and can’t sleep through all the fucking traffic noises.
- When you were a renter, layout didn’t really matter so much, so you thought it wouldn’t matter in the home you bought. Now, it really, really does.
- You thought one bathroom would be fine, but then you met the love of your life and DEAR GOD do you not want to be pooping in the same bathroom as them for the rest of your life.
- You love the cold, dark Portland winters…then accidentally fell in love with every plant that ever lived and suddenly there’s not enough natural light for all your plant babies.
- You thought that a kitchen wasn’t that important, and then you took a cooking class in Vietnam and now you need a kitchen big enough to display that giant sticky rice steamer.
- You fell in love with the cutest little 1912 Portland bungalow, but dear god, now all you want is the sweet, sweet expansive closet space that a ranch style house provides.
And so on, and so forth. You’re never gonna completely find perfection on your first home, and that’s okay.
After 5 or 10 years, you’ll have a really clear idea of where your priorities lie for your next/forever home. and then you’re gonna take all that experience and knowledge, and move on to your next house and and just fucking nail it.