A few weeks ago I published the article Would You Move To A Completely New Place? In it I mentioned that we have put the home-buying process on hold, and we plan on staying in our current house for at least a few more years.
We have put it on hold because we don't know where we want to live. However, that doesn't mean that we stopped looking at houses.
I am definitely a crazy person and I probably look at houses on Realtor.com and Zillow at least once a week.
It's a habit and an obsession…
To backtrack: We bought our current house when we were 20. We weren't making a lot of money back then, but the market was great for buyers and we needed a place to live, so we decided to buy (we, of course, thought about other things as well). We like our home and it will do for the next few years, but I also don't see it as our forever home.
I've always wanted a bigger kitchen, a bigger bedroom, and some land. Our house (by my standards and Midwest standards) is small. Our house is currently 1,200 square feet. We do have a finished basement though that adds another 1,200 square feet to our home.
I grew up in apartments because my dad hated houses (he hated the maintenance, lawn mowing, HOA's, and so on), so I guess I've always wanted a big house since I didn't have that when I was a kid.
Anyway, I have been catching myself searching for homes that are 2,500 square feet and above. I don't know why.
Does anyone really need a house that big? Do I need a house that big?
According to MSN, the average home in the U.S. in 1950 was approximately 983 square feet, and in 2004 it was 2,349 square feet. That is a HUGE increase!
I don't think there is anything wrong with whatever decision you make regarding how big your house is, as long as you can afford it. Some people are fine with a 400 square foot home, whereas others like 3,000 square foot homes.
But, if you really want to save money, below are reasons for why you should rethink that massive home:
Bigger homes usually have a higher price tag.
Of course, this all depends on the location, but in general a bigger house will cost more than a smaller house on the exact same lot. The different in price can easily be a few hundred thousand dollars.
You will find yourself paying for a larger mortgage, and you will also have to pay higher property taxes. Don't forget about higher home insurance as well!
Bigger homes will cost a whole lot more to cool down and heat up.
Many newer homes have vaulted ceilings, which can easily increase the heating and cooling costs. Even if you don't have vaulted ceilings, a bigger house will lead to higher utility expenses because there are more rooms to heat up and cool down.
Bigger homes will need more maintenance.
If you have a bigger home, that means the possibility of something breaking is a little bit higher than if you had a smaller homer. You might have a larger lawn to mow, more to paint, more to repair, and so on.
Bigger homes may lead to hoarding.
If you have a McMansion, then you may find yourself with a lot of extra rooms that you feel you need to fill up with things.
You may find yourself buying furniture and other items for a room that you only step into a few times a year. Furniture is not cheap – you may spend thousands to furnish a room in which you will just close the door and forget about.
I know someone who has FOUR living rooms in their home. One is the actual “living room,” the other is a “sitting room,” one is a “play room” and I don't know what the fourth is. Oh, and then they have a basement living room as well, so I guess that is FIVE. It just seems like a lot of wasted space to me…
I also know a few people who have a dining room, a formal dining room, a breakfast room, and a lunch room. WHAT THE HECK? And they usually only use one room to eat in, whereas the others are maybe used once a year. Can you imagine having to buy four separate dining tables?
What is your ideal square footage in a home?
Do you want a McMansion or are you more of a minimalist person?