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:
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!
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.
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.
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?
Last year here on Making Sense of Cents, I talked a lot about us buying a new home. However, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we have not bought a new home yet. Some of you have even emailed me asking if something went wrong.
So, what gives? Why haven’t we bought a house yet even though the plan was for us to buy one in 2013?
Well, the thing is, we don’t know what we want to do. Do we want to stay here in St. Louis? Do we want to move to Memphis where W’s parents just moved? Do we find an entirely new place that has awesome weather and is beautiful?
Now that we are both location independent (because of the business), we can really live anywhere as long as we can afford it. We don’t have to feel stuck in any one area. We have a lot of options and a lot of things to think about, so we are trying to take our time and not rush the process.
There are many different factors that we are thinking about:
We have both lived in St. Louis for a very long time. I lived in Chicago for a little bit when I was younger (from the ages of around 8 to 13), but for the most part I have always been here in St. Louis.
Many people have asked me why I would even want to live in St. Louis. Well, I like it here! It’s affordable, there are outdoorsy things to do, all my friends are here, I grew up here, and it’s a great place to eventually raise a family.
However, I have lived in St. Louis for all of my adult life, and it sometimes makes me wonder if I am missing out by not moving somewhere else and trying something new.
I wish I could just pick up my friends and move them with me honestly! A recent article on Newlyweds on a Budget pretty much summed up what I’m afraid of – leaving my awesome friends and being lonely wherever we move to.
St. Louis is a cheap place to live. However, there are even cheaper places to live. We were looking at homes in Memphis, and the homes are incredibly cheap. They are a great value compared to what you can get in many other cities, including St. Louis.
I will say that I am not interested in moving to a place where housing is super expensive. Just can’t do it. I’m too cheap I like my low cost of living cities.
Hawaii would be amazing, but it’s expensive. If you are interested in Hawaii (many people are), I recommend that you read Budget and the Beach’s article The Cost of Living in Paradise, and also Young Adult Money’s article Why Living in Hawaii Sucks.
We’ve ruled Hawaii out of our list (it’s expensive and far away), but we are now thinking about Florida. I’ve been reading a lot about it, and there are many positives, but also many negatives that I found as well. If you live in Florida, tell me what you think about where you live!
W’s family moved to Memphis earlier this year, and we have been thinking about following them there. My sister is planning on moving to Chicago, and once that happens I won’t have any other family here in St. Louis. We will have W’s side of the family here still, but we still want to be closer to his parents and his younger siblings.
Hello new readers! My latest income report is out. Read $9,554 in August Extra Income – Looking for Affiliate Income to see my latest income report.
Most people, at some point in their lives, want to become homeowners. I’m definitely one of those people. Something to think about is how much house you actually need.
Some day I want to get my hands on a nice starter home that I can have some DIY fun with. I want to have a little bit more space than I do now, and I’d like a cute little yard to putter around in.
I don’t need a ton of space, since it’s just me, my husband, my cat and my dog. Children are far off in the distant future for me, much further away than I’m hoping home-ownership will be.
When it comes to how much house I want, I seem to be in the minority.
Most people my age seem to want a ton of space (three bedrooms at least) and a nice, updated home (stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops?).
Of course, these things come at a price, and with the Canadian housing market still going through a soft landing, this usually means the shelling out of a ridiculous sum of money in the form of a down payment, and stretching budgets to the max to make the monthly payment on a huge “dream home”.
Now, I’m biased. I live in a 400 sq. ft., one bedroom house. My little family is comprised of two adults and two pets, and there’s more than enough space for us in our little abode.
So, when I see similar sized families springing for a three or four bedroom, several thousand square foot house, I can’t help but feel that they are paying for at least some wasted space.
I get it. I grew up in a huge house. There was a lot of us in the family, six people plus innumerable dogs, cats, and hamsters. Still, even with a family the size of ours, we didn’t fill my childhood home. There was a dining room, and a living room that we were never allowed in, plus a basement that was used solely as storage. It’s nice to spread out, but is it necessary?
“Back in the day”, having a huge house was fine. The cost of that house when it was purchased was fraction of what the same home would cost today. In this day and age, however, it seems exceedingly silly to pay an arm and a leg for space that isn’t being used.
In most major cities, buying anywhere with a decent location means either paying big bucks, or sacrificing on space. Instead of focusing on how much we can afford, and borrowing to the max to take advantage of historically low interest rates, maybe it’s time to spend some time thinking about how much space we really, truly, need.
Some day in the distant future, I plan on buying a home.
I don’t want a formal dining room, because I know I’ll probably never use it. I also don’t want a second bathroom, because keeping one clean is hard enough. I don’t want a guest room that is only ever used when guests come around, and I have absolutely no interest in paying for a formal living room.
I only want to pay for the space that I’m actually going to use, every single day.
How about you? Are you paying for wasted space in your current home or rental?
Did you buy a big home in anticipation of a family expansion?