Buying your first house? Be mindful of how you shop for your "starter home"

Buying your first home is a big deal. Be sure to have a great team to guide you through the process.

Buying your first home is a big deal. Be sure to have a great team to guide you through the process.

We've all heard the term "starter home". Usually it's used to describe a quaint little house that would be affordable for a young person or couple, but not really suitable for a family with more than one child. The theory being that this family will simply sell this little house and move into a larger one in the event that they have more children, or some other changes in circumstances. However, when you are buying your "starter" home, be mindful of the fact that life is full of surprises and you may end up staying in your first home longer than you anticipated. When looking for your home, don’t set yourself up to be "stuck" in a house.

Things to consider while shopping:

There are several things you should consider when buying a home for the first time, particularly if you plan on having children. Do your research and check out the community where you may be buying. Make sure that you would be happy with your future child going to one of the daycares in the area. The same thing applies to schools. Even if you don’t plan on having children, but plan to sell the home a few years after you purchase it, nearby schools affect the value of your property.

Will there be enough room in your home for a family? Depending on how many kids you want, think about having to stay in that home for a period of time with your kids. This means having usable physical space, i.e. bedrooms.  Perhaps consider the possibility of future renovations if the home does not currently have enough space, or the space that is there would have to be altered.

Tell your agent what your long term plan is as well as your immediate plans for the house. An agent may be able to find a home that fits your needs now, as well as having potential for meeting your future needs if they are provided with the right information. Your agent may also have some ideas about how to make a property work that you may not have considered.

How you get "stuck"?

Many people have a timeline in their head that may not end up being realistic at the end of the day.

One common reason people get "stuck" in a home is finances. Perhaps you are not in a position to obtain additional financing to purchase a bigger home, or it is not practical to change your financing situation at that time. You should be mindful when getting your mortgage for your first home of when you are able to change it, and if there may be penalties for doing so. You should be able to get these details from your mortgage professional.

Another common reason is that you are simply unable to find a buyer for the house. You may have planned to sell, and it turns out to be a bad market to sell your home. Perhaps a new subdivision has sprouted up next door. These things, among others, may make selling your starter home a lot harder, and it may sit on the market for much longer than you anticipated.

Moving Forward:

There are a lot of things to consider when you decide to buy a home, sometimes it can be overwhelming. If you have any questions about buying your first home you can call us at (902) 826-3070 or email us at to set up a meeting with one of our lawyers at our Tantallon law firm. You can also schedule a no commitment Issue Review Consult for $100+HST where you have the opportunity to explain your situation to a lawyer and get basic advice before deciding whether or not you'd like to retain us.  

-Briana C. O’Grady - Associate Lawyer


The information and materials on this blog are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Nothing contained on this blog is legal advice or constitutes a legal opinion. While it is our goal to provide information which is current, legislative changes and court decisions, among other matters, may result in some information no longer being current or accurate. You should consult a lawyer before relying on any information. The views expressed herein by individual contributing lawyers posting entries to the blog are solely those of the authors and should not necessarily be attributed to or considered representative of the firm of Highlander Law Group Lawyers