Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Forever Home

by Grant B. Cole, Realtors®, Inc 07/28/2022

For many prospective homebuyers, the thought of waiting for a forever home instead of a starter home can be tempting. After all, there are plenty of advantages to patience and careful saving until you can afford or find the house that’s perfect for you and your future plans. However, there are downsides to consider. Here we’ll go over the major pros and cons of skipping to your forever home rather than getting a starter home first.

Pro: Big Enough to Meet Your Needs Now & Later

A forever home is the home you spend the rest of your life in. Whether that be on your own, with family, friends or any other situation, the idea is to find a place you’ll be satisfied living for the long term. This typically means you’ll wait until you can get your dream home with all the features you want as well as extra square footage to expand in a variety of ways. A forever home is a home with plenty of potential and square footage so you won’t grow out of it anytime soon.

Con: More Expensive to Buy & Maintain

Larger homes come with larger price tags. The purchase price based on square footage alone is much higher for larger homes and that price can skyrocket when you add in other factors. If the home is in a highly desirable neighborhood or popular school district, the market can be competitive and the property values very high. A bigger purchase price means you’ll need to borrow more from your mortgage lender and spend longer paying it back.

Larger homes are also more expensive to maintain. Your utility bills will be higher simply by nature of having more space to heat and cool as well as provide energy and water. Even brand new forever homes will have expensive maintenance needs in the future and some, such as roof repair, can be astronomically expensive for larger properties.

Pro: Excellent Investment

Buying a home is one of the best large investments you can make and buying a forever home will be a better investment long-term. If your home is in an up-and-coming area with rising property values, a large and well-maintained forever home can fetch a high selling price if you decide to move in the future. Not only is the inherent resale value higher because of the size, but you might also have more opportunity for customizations and added features that boost the desirability of the home. Examples of this might include landscaping, building additions or even something as simple as pouring a new patio.

Con: Slow Returns

Unfortunately, you will not see returns on this investment for a long time. You will probably pay your mortgage back for much of the time you’re living in the home and that’s after you’ve saved enough to buy it. A larger down payment in the beginning can make it harder to break into the market at an opportune time. You might find that your dream home is worth more than you planned for and you can no longer afford it.

Another thing to consider is that many states have tax laws regarding the amount of time spent in a residence. If you move out of a forever home earlier than that minimum amount of time, you might be subject to hefty taxes. Depending on your mortgage terms you may also face penalties on moving early. A forever home is an excellent investment if you have patience. Otherwise, you might end up feeling stuck.

These are only a few factors to consider in the choice between a starter home and a forever home. For many buyers, skipping right to the forever home makes more financial and practical sense. Weigh your options carefully alongside your future goals to determine the best choice for your situation.