When you can't afford your dream home but are tired of throwing your money away on rent, a starter home is often a good solution. With a starter home, you can live in a place of your own for a few years, build some equity, and then upsize or upgrade later on, when you have more money to work with.
Many people, however, buy starter homes with the intent to live there for five years or less, only to find themselves staying put well past that point. If you've been in your starter home for a while and are compromising on comfort because of it, it may be time to put that home on the market and find yourself a more suitable space. Here are a few signs that you've clearly reached that point.
1. You're repurposing rooms out of necessity
Maybe you used to enjoy working from home in the small office adjacent to your living room. But if that office has been turned into a nursery and you've been relegated to the corner of your kitchen table to set up shop professionally, then it may be time to think about getting a larger living space. The same holds true if you no longer have a dining room because it became a playroom years ago.
2. You don't have enough bathrooms
It's not unreasonable to have fewer bathrooms than people in your home. But if you're, say, a family of five sharing one and a half bathrooms, it's probably time to move to a home with a few extra showers and tubs. This holds especially true if you're forced to share your main bathroom with your kids.
3. You can't escape clutter
When you have kids, your home can quickly become a mess of blocks, dolls, and puzzle pieces. But if there's really no space to store your children's toys and belongings, to the point where they've taken over your living room and parts of your kitchen, then it's time to get yourself a home with adequate storage. The same could hold true even if you don't have children. If there's really no room to put things away and you're living in a perpetual pile of clutter, it's time to move.
4. You don't host due to a lack of space
It's nice to gather friends or extended family to celebrate holidays and milestones. But if you shy away from hosting because you don't have enough room to entertain guests, then it may be time to rethink your living arrangements -- especially if you're the social type who enjoys having people over.
Moving on from your starter home
The decision to sell your starter home and move to a larger space isn't easy. After all, you may be used to the nuances of your home and the costs involved in living there. But once it becomes clear that that property is no longer working for you, it makes sense to sell it and buy a place that better suits your needs. If that's the scenario you're in, crunch some numbers to see what you can afford and work with a real estate agent who can help you price your starter home strategically. With any luck, you'll soon be settled in a new home that doesn't leave you starved for space.