While tiny homes might be all the rage right now, you’re probably better off avoiding one. It’s hard enough to live with your lovely and always understanding spouse in a one-bedroom apartment…
But seriously, your thinking should be on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to buying a home. Buy more than you need, within reason.
Sure, you can save money with a smaller home, and reduce monthly housing costs, not to mention utilities, but it may not be worth it in the long run.
Pros of Buying a Bigger House
The number one advantage of buying a larger home is the fact that you can grow into it. And chances are you’ll be growing if you’re in the market to buy a home.
After all, it is young families (or aspiring ones) who are often the ones to purchase real estate. While the two-bedroom condo might hack it for now, the presence of a little one will turn things on their head in a hurry.
Just ask anyone who’s ever had a baby. They’ll probably tell you that they should have bought a house instead of a condo, or that they wished they had bought just a little more house. Or one with an extra bedroom.
You rarely hear people complain that they bought too much house, though that can also happen from time to time.
Generally, people end up (emphasis on end) with more home than they need after the kids have left the nest, leaving aging parents with more space than necessary. The upside is this larger home can provide more of a nest egg for the retiring couple if and when they sell it and downsize.
A larger home also allows for more flexibility if you happen to go from being a W-2 employee to self-employed. If you all of a sudden need a home office, you can quickly convert one of the spare bedrooms.
The same goes for house guests. If you want to entertain, or merely provide shelter for guests from near and far, having an extra room or two can come in handy. That is, unless you want to sleep on the couch, or make your in-laws do the same.
A home with an extra bedroom (or bathroom) will likely fetch a higher sales price too, though you’ll probably have to pay extra yourself when you buy it. Of course, the appreciation will likely mean more money in your pocket when all is said and done.
At the end of the day, having too much home is only a problem if you can’t afford it. It’s not a bad problem to have, whereas too little home doesn’t leave you with many options.
Tip: You might be able to rent out a room in a larger home to help cover the mortgage.
Cons of Buying a Bigger House
I’ve focused on the positives of buying a large home, and like anything else, there are negatives as well.
Perhaps the biggest con to a large home is the large price tag. Put simply, it will cost more relative to smaller homes. And if you don’t need and/or use the extra space, it’s a waste of your hard-earned money.
Additionally, with a larger home comes more responsibility, typically in the way of bills. We’re talking higher heating and cooling bills, more expensive water bills, etc.
Oh, and when something breaks or needs repair, such as a roof, paint, etc., it’ll set you back more. And it’ll probably happen more often because the presence of more things increases the chances of said items going on the fritz.
Then there’s decorating the place. A large home will require a lot of (expensive) furniture, carpet, flooring, appliances, paint, artwork, and more. Conversely, a small home will make decorating a relative breeze.
Still, if I had to choose bigger or smaller, I’d go with bigger. Remember, a home purchase is a major decision, and one that doesn’t just consider where you are today. You need to think about where your life is going, how it might change, and so on.
For most people, this equates to a growing household, so you might as well prepare for it in advance, instead of being forced to buy a move-up property after home prices have already, ahem, moved up.
But if you’re a single guy or gal, or even married with no plans to procreate, a small home (maybe even a tiny home) could suit you just fine!
Large Home Advantages
You can grow into it
You don’t need to move as your family size increases
Flexibility to make a spare room a home office
Space for out-of-town guests
Room to breath
Higher sales price (more proceeds from a sale)
Large Home Disadvantages
Unnecessary or unwanted space
Unaffordable if you overextend yourself
Higher utility bills
Harder to decorate
Need to buy more furnishings
More required maintenance
In-laws may show up a lot…
Small Home Advantages
You don’t buy more house than you need
Get a cheaper house with lower monthly payments
Might be able to buy closer to the city center
Lower utility costs, less maintenance
Easier to decorate and manage
Can ease into homeownership to see if you like it
Small Home Disadvantages
Might outgrow it
May need to sell and buy a larger home at a non-ideal time
No options to add a room unless you can build (at a large cost!)
No space for in-laws or other guests
Limited storage space
No place to hide (from spouse or the kids!)
Lower sales price (less proceeds from a sale)
Thank you for this well-balanced article. We recently upsized to a 5 bedroom, 2 reception floors, property because we have summer guests visiting us every year and staying for *long* periods of times. (They’re family so saying ‘no thanks’ is not an option)
We have two kids and our last home (a three bed semi) was driving me insane every summer. No privacy, no place to have some quiet time, no joy in summer that I as a homeowner deserve in my own home.
When you look around though, the internet is full of articles making large homeowners appear like d*cks. But despite the pandemic, I know when our guests arrive next year (and they will), I will have peace of mind that I have my own space to relax in if there are guests downstairs. I appreciate this article.
Great points you have mentioned. With big houses comes big cleaning!