Is ‘Starter Home’ an Outdated Term? What does it mean to have a starter home?

Nov 03 2020
Accurate

The term “starter home” often relates to first-time buyers or fixer-uppers, and a recent article by The American Genius for Real Estate suggests real estate pros may not want to use the phrase too much.

The definition of a “starter home,” according to the Collins English Dictionary, is a “small, new house which is cheap enough for people who are buying their first home to afford”—which assumes the owner intends to trade up in the future. But some buyers see their first home as their dream home. “Don’t call cheaper houses ‘starter homes,’ but just a home,” says The American Genius for Real Estate.

If you search Google for the phrase, you’ll find plenty of other articles venting the same frustration. On a Washington, D.C.–focused chat site for parents, one user says: “Seems like people who use the term ‘starter’ in a listing are projecting onto buyers what their long-term goals should be, even if they’re buying small right now.”

Other users on the site, however, say they’re not bothered by the phrase. One who identified as a first-time buyer shopping for an affordable rowhouse says the phrase helps clarify property type. “Whether the [real estate agent] called it a starter home or not would not have mattered one bit to us, and we wouldn’t have been thinking about whether we’d move 10 or 15 years later,” the user says.

Realtor Magazine

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