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Not “To Death Do Us Part”, Real Estate Starter Homes Get Replaced.

Not “To Death Do Us Part”, Real Estate Starter Homes Get Replaced.


The young couple starting out and looking for a home to raise a family.

The house listings get poured over and excitement grows when thinking of buying a home in the price range they can afford. And that matches their needs, wants, dreams. Or as close to that list scratched out that spells out the gotta have, the don’t want.starter home houlton maine photo


Unlike wedding vows about to death do us part, the starter home often gets replaced because it served its purpose.

But needs changing up because of developments in the personal real estate requirements of the property owner. Unless they are underwater financially and stuck in the starter home because of over spending or too many home improvements that the market has not caught up with for what they need to sell the place for to clear the hurdles to move on.

Bundles of joy air dropped overhead wrapped in pink or blue blankets is one reason for trading in the starter home. Where to put them all?

Or with elderly folks, those stairs to the second floor bedrooms and only bathroom can seem like Mt Everest. So it is not once and done. Or one size house fits all the home buyers real estate and life needs.

Oh sure you can upgrade the kitchen, add on a private space for the mother in law’s first floor bedroom, but in our small rural market of Maine real estate listings, it is cheaper to replace the place.

Get the two car garage, the extra bath and finished rec room along with larger square footage by selling the starter house. It is cheaper to get everything missing in a new house than to try to duplicate it with the tear it apart, replacement of materials and working around obstacles in the starter home not designed up front for all these improvements.

To make the move into the more comfortable, spacious house with the updates that starter house lacked. And to get the country location with land for farming, hobby horses, or future house lots for family members that want to be close by.

It is easier to buy a home when you don’t have another one to sell though.

That is the tricky game of real estate dominoes where you have to wait for one to have the other and move forward a space. Unless a bridge loan to get over the hurdle is possible financially, to carry two places which many just don’t want to worry about late at night tossing and turning even if a bank says sure, no problem to cover you in the trading up places. over loaded truck photo

Often the starter house on the small in town lot is replaced for acreage for homesteading or to make the move to a waterfront setting.

Nothing wrong with the starter house itself but just lacked some key features the house owner plans to get one way or another. But they avoid renting by buying a starter home to provide the shelter until improved housing is in the cards.

The first house your real estate blogger purchased was a cape with 1.5 baths, hardwood floors, fireplace, garage and on a smaller corner lot. Pictures above in the lead end top section of the real estate blog post.

It is located close to the parks and rec facilities in Houlton Maine. A short walk to the junior and senior Houlton high school too. I knew a real estate office location was needed and planned to not get too comfortable for the leap frog to the next home.

Bought when interest rates were 16% adjustable with a nifty 12.25% fixed Maine state housing mortgage loan rate during a hard economic cycle correction. The myth that there are times of the year when real estate does not get bought or sold needs to be put to rest. Because people’s lives don’t stop with a few snow flakes in the weather forecast.

Same applies when interest rates for housing are sky high, the property prices hanging off the real estate listings come down to Earth.

Go the other way to keep the real estate market chugging along. We get the question often about “what’s my house worth?” houlton maine downtown photo

You get your best deals on the replacement homes when the market is tough.

The starter homes are always popular and the higher the price the thinner the buyers for the houses with more features, larger square footage or waterfront, land tacked on.

So thinking when you buy that starter home that you will be together forever needs to be addressed.

Because over improvements and diminishing returns on the expenditures will come back to haunt the buyer turned seller of the starter home.

It is a lot like taking a sub compact car and trying to add a jump seat in the tiny space behind the rear seat and calling it an SUV. Adding bells and whistles to something not intended to be more than a starter home is dangerous real estate meddling.

The property owner if not careful can create a mongrel real estate listing. Especially as the price on the place starts to inch higher to reflect all the money poured into the improvements. That the current real estate market might not reward.

What’s that song about all the right junk in all the right places?

A little love spread around the entire property is always sound advice. All too often I arrive at a property listing the seller is ready to sell and here is what we find. Wicked nice kitchen with all new cabinets, gleaming granite counter tops and top of the line everything.

Then as we wander into the rest of the rooms, nothing was done to any of them. All the love was poured into one expensive area. That just contrasts how much was needed in the rest of the home the buyer is touring. All the right junk not in all the right spaces. So when we do get asked “what’s my house worth“, someone has to use some real estate candor and spell it out honestly. To set the expectations. realtors button photo

Moderation in the updates to the starter home that will some day be on the chopping block and needing replacement.

Hind sight is twenty twenty real estate vision. Because what the property owner thought would be an improvement everyone else would jump at if the home was listed for sale is not. The real estate markets rock and roll differently and touching bases with the agent or broker that will handle the listing down the road is key. Get his or her input and guidance.

Starting homes in Maine for sale are one popular flavor of real estate property listings we deal and field every day. They are the bread and butter for housing in a small rural state rich in natural beauty but pretty conservative with its sparse financial resources and tiny community population.

If a property owner knows a transfer out of state is in the cards in a few years, that starter home is the best way to play the real estate game in a small rural Maine town. There will always be someone ready to buy if it is priced to sell and neat, clean, available for quick showings, sudden possession.

Supply and demand help motivate the market, turns up the speed of the belt spinning under all the property listings for sale at any given point in time.

The marketing for the starter home, any property listing needs to point out the features not always found in your run of the mill home listing. To show the buyer in the audience that this home, piece of real estate will improve your life. Make it easier, more enjoyable and a feathered nest you can not wait to come home to day after day.

Tone down the paint, swamp out the brush and over grown trees, and turn on the lights to make the place bright. Real estate is an emotional experience and to make it a good, memorable one, seeing the home for sale through the eyes of the buyer is crucial. zamboni houlton maine photo

We often get quizzed about “what can I do to make my property, house, home worth more?

Sometimes the answer is leave it be, and the only way to increase the value is to move it to a more expensive market!

Location times three is the key along with timing that is everything buying, selling, trading real estate.

And realizing your style and tastes do not represent everyone else’s opinion on what is the best look and feel. Easy does it and moderation on what you put into the starter home is the best advice in a small rural Maine real estate market. As you polish up rough spots, tie up the loose ends that hurt the chances of a property sale.

Starter homes also get bought but need to be sold because of job relocation, moving out of Maine.

Serve their purpose while waiting. Like in the case of our many home land security employees at customs, immigration, border patrol who use Houlton Maine as a spring board. To eventually seize on a chance to reach for the employment rings that lift a person’s pay check larger and for career advancement when they gotta go to protect their employment with a move elsewhere.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker

207.532.6573 | [email protected] |

MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730 USA


Andrew Mooers

Welcome to our Maine real estate website. I am the father of four grown children, have listed, marketed, sold properties for over forty years. Lots of changes in the real estate industry over that many decades and daily we re-invent our job. I grew up on a Maine farm that I bought from by three older brothers. My youngest son continues in the tradition on that same Maine farm. Here to help with property searches for homes, farms, land, waterfront, multi housing rentals, small mom and pop business listings.

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