Q: My husband wants to buy a single-family house in an entry-level neighborhood. However, I want to maximize our purchasing power and believe in a more expensive ZIP code. My husband says that is our next move. In other words, he wants to live in a smaller home on a tiny lot for years before “moving up.”
Déjà vu. I see a pattern. When first married, my husband insisted we buy a one-bedroom condo as our first property. Two-and-a-half years later, we sold the condominium and purchased a two-bedroom, two-story townhouse. It was utterly unnecessary. We had the credit, down payment and income to buy the townhouse in the first place. How can I persuade my husband to invest in what we can afford now and settle in a home for decades instead of years?
A: First, a lower-price single-family home neighborhood is for entry-level and exit-level homebuyers. It’s the same for a mobile home park. Your husband would have you competing with people on a limited income, such as first-time homebuyers, single parents, widows, widowers and older adults. He should not take the place of one of those earnest homebuyers.
Second, real estate experts frown upon buying and selling within a few years, and not just because it’s a costly situation. It involves the closing costs of a home seller and homebuyer. In January 2020, the National Association of Realtors published an article stating the median duration of homeownership in the U.S. was 10 years in 2008 and 13 years in 2018. Due to the pandemic and its low 30-year fixed-interest rates, the median homeownership duration might continue to grow.
Additionally, entry-level neighborhoods lean toward narrow streets and smaller homes, lots, and garages. The result is problematic guest parking and few, if at all, options for adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU).
Lastly, a neighborhood at a higher price will have larger homes, lots and wider streets. Two- and three-car garages provide ample guest parking in driveways and curbside. Lest we forget, a sizable lot ensures the possibility of adding an accessory dwelling unit. An ADU is an advantage for long-term ownership. After all, as you become older, you and your husband could possibly move into it.
Questions, concerns or inquiries? Realtor Pat Kapowich is a Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager and career-long consumer protection advocate. His hometown of Sunnyvale, California, is where he is based. Office Landline: 408-245-7700, [email protected] Broker# 00979413 www.SiliconValleyBroker.com
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