Buying a home in today’s market can be expensive. But with a little creativity, flexibility and compromise, you may be living the Southern California dream sooner than you think! These four tips might turn your dream of homeownership into reality.

1. Expand Your Location Options. While a house on the beach may be your eventual housing goal, today’s reality might mean a little compromising. In Southern California, there are beautiful options situated a little farther inland. While you might not see the coast, you may have views of vineyards, rolling hills or mountains. The weather is still gorgeous, and the prices tend to decrease. If you can be flexible on locality, try to consider looking at different cities.

2. Reconsider the Upgrades: When it comes to buying a new home, there are wants and there are needs. You probably need three bedrooms, but you may want hardwood throughout. If you can make an honest list of what you can live without (for now!), you may be surprised at how affordable a new home can be. And the standard options in many of today’s new homes can be surprisingly luxurious.

3. Size Isn’t Everything: Some people dream of rambling around a big house with rooms to spare, but in reality, all that extra space costs extra money. Think about how much room you really need right now to be comfortable and happy. Instead of a separate dining room, a kitchen with a breakfast nook and large island can be just as welcoming. A formal living room may be something you’ve always wanted, but a great room may be more practical. The downside to a large home is also the upkeep. Think additional costs for electricity, HVAC, maintenance, etc., that can add up when you have more extra square footage than you practically need.

4. How Many Bedrooms Do You Really Need? In all honesty, it just might not be practical at this stage to have a bedroom for everyone in your house. If you have kids, consider having them bunk together, and while a spare bedroom for visitors would be nice, you may have to rethink the cost. The price difference between a three- and four-bedroom house could be a deal breaker for some, so truly give this decision a lot of thought.

5. Be Flexible Overall: You may have your heart set on a single-family home, but your budget might not allow this option. There are so many beautiful townhomes and attached homes readily available on the market, and they often offer spacious rooms and creative floor plans. You may not be able to afford a four-bedroom house, but a four-bedroom townhome could be within your grasp.

While it may seem as though owning a home might be out of reach, an open mind and a good dose of compromise may have you moving from your current situation into a new home perfect for you and your family. Cornerstone Communities has detached single-family homes and townhomes in seventeen different communities that range in size, layout and configuration. Tour our models and speak with our sales representatives. They will help you get into a home you can love and afford!