real estate

5 major must-haves for a fab first home

A house for the next 10 years
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Because you'll probably be there longer than you think, Shuman says it pays to buy a first home that accommodates not only the family you have now but the one you plan to have over 10 years.

"Have that conversation. If you're just getting married, ask, 'Do we plan to have kids? How many kids do we plan to have? How many bedrooms are we going to need?'" he says. "The biggest bit of advice I can give for a starter home is to really think about what your future looks like."

Shuman says because many first-time homebuyers do have growing families, space is probably a higher priority than fancy features such as granite countertops.

"Because a starter home is usually a smaller home, in today's market especially you don't want to overpay for features and amenities, or remodels, that you're not going to be able to recoup later on," he says.

Quality of space is also important, MacDonald says. While you want to have at least two bedrooms, a lot of bedrooms aren't going to be much help if they're too small to be useful.




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