Starter Home to Forever Home: Can You Make It Work?

When you first get onto the property ladder, you usually buy a "starter home". You're not looking for your dream property right away, and you probably intend to move home at least once if not twice more in your adult life. But what happens if, after living in your first home for a while, you don't want to move? Even though you need more space, perhaps for a growing family, you've fallen in love with your first home, and you want to stay put. Well, one option is to renovate and add on to your home so that it can grow along with your needs. You have lots of ways you can make it work.

Buy a Bigger Home

If you already own your starter home, it's a bit too late for this one. But if you're in the process of looking for your first home, it's important to consider the size. Of course, it's sensible to only buy a property that provides the space you need. It will keep your costs down, from your mortgage payments to your energy bills. But it could mean that you need to move in a couple of years just to get the space you need. If you already have plans to start a family, buying a larger home could be a better idea. It will help you avoid the hassle and expense of moving later. But if you don't know what your future looks like just yet, sticking to a smaller home could be best.

Buy Property or Land Around Your Home

One interesting option is to see if you can buy any of the property or land on either side of your home, or perhaps even in front of or behind it. You might already have paid off your starter home, or maybe you're in a position to take out a second mortgage. If you're lucky, one of your neighbors might already be selling up, and you could see if you'll be able to get a great deal. But what if no one is moving? Well, it's a risk, but you could always bring up the possibility yourself. Mention to your neighbors that you would like to expand and ask if they've considered selling their property or even just some of their land. You won't necessarily get anywhere, but it could work if you're able to make an interesting offer.

Add to Your Property

If you want your home to grow with your needs, space is the one thing you're going to need more of. Adding onto your home doesn't necessarily require you to buy up any of the land around your property. Plenty of people carry out home additions with only the space they already have. You can add to the back or side of your home, or possibly the front, or you can build up. Maybe you want to extend a particular room or to add on new rooms. If your family is growing, you might need an extra bedroom or bathroom to accommodate everyone.

Gut the Insides

Sometimes you don't need more space, you just need to make better use of the space you already have. You love the location of your home and the main structure of it, but you're not necessarily in love with the layout of the inside. If you're willing to rethink it, you could gut the insides and change everything around. You might make some spaces open-plan or turn larger rooms into multiple smaller ones. Of course, this is likely to be a big project. It could be expensive and take a long time. You might need to take out personal loans to pay for it, and it might make living in your home awkward for a while. Plus, you'll need to make sure you have clear plans of the house to avoid taking out load-bearing walls or smashing through anything you shouldn't. It might mean having contractors in your home for a while. However, it could be worth it to reinvent the space and end up with something you love.

Build Separate Spaces

If you have a bit of land around your home, even if it's just a backyard, another option to expand the space you have is to build space away from the main house. Instead of expanding the existing building, you can have a separate space that's useful for anything you want. For example, perhaps you can put a small cabin, hut or shed at the end of your backyard. You could use it for anything, from a laundry room to a hobby room or kids' playroom. It's an interesting way to expand the space you have without having to add an extension that matches the existing property.

Find Smart Solutions for Your Home

If you don't want to expand your property, gutting the inside isn't the only way to make smarter use of the space. You can often feel like you need more space, especially as you begin to collect more stuff. But, much of the time, you just need the right solutions to help you make the most of your home. One of the biggest problems for growing families, or even just individuals and couples on their own, is finding enough storage space. Having the right storage solutions can help to save this problem. You can consider what you need to store and what smart methods and storage systems make the most sense. Of course, cutting back on how much stuff you have is also a good idea. You should also think about other solutions that work best for you and help you to save space. They might include using a washer-dryer or not having a microwave so you can save space.

Use Your Whole Home

The US has some of the biggest homes when compared to other countries. Compare them to some of the typical property sizes throughout Europe, and even many starter homes in the US have a lot more space. You might be surprised by how common it is for people not to use all the space they have available. Perhaps you think you need to move to a bigger home, but you're not even using all the space you have in your current one. Before you think about expansion or anything else, make sure every corner of your home is put to good use. Use all of the rooms, closets and other spaces for your needs. Use your porch and your outdoor space too.

Focus on the Most Important Rooms

It can sometimes be the communal rooms in your home that become a sticking point as you begin to yearn for more space. You have enough bedrooms, and you have all the necessary rooms, like a living room, kitchen and bathrooms. But perhaps some of them don't feel suitable for your family anymore. There's no need to rework your entire home if only one or two of the rooms are a problem. Maybe it's time to put in a new kitchen so that you can use the space better. You have different priorities for your kitchen and dining spaces once you have kids to think about. Or maybe it's time for a new bathroom so you can make sure it's a family space that works for both adults and children. Redecoration can be just as good as any more in-depth renovations. Perhaps even just a lick of paint or a new sofa can make a big difference.

There's a lot to be said for staying put in your starter home, instead of striving for more space. If you love your first home, you can find ways to make it work.

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