real estate

5 major must-haves for a fab first home

Spending more time in a first home?
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These days, the term "starter home" is a little misleading. It implies a highly temporary home soon to be traded in for a bigger, fancier model. But because of a troubled real estate market with no end in sight, moving up to a new home won't be easy or quick, says Ken Shuman, spokesman for real estate website

"We tell people right now that they should plan on staying in a home seven to 10 years," Shuman says.

What constitutes a good first home is more important now because first-time homebuyers have become an increasingly larger share of the market. In 2010, first-time buyers made up about 50 percent of the total homebuyers in the U.S. market, says Paul Bishop, vice president of research for the National Association of Realtors.

"Just on a dollars-and-cents basis, a lot of first-time buyers made the decision to stop renting and buy a home because it seemed to be the better financial decision," he says.

If you decide the time is right, here are some key things to look for in your starter home to make it the right decision for your family and to maximize your resale value when it comes time to sell.




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