In the past year, the housing market has seen some exceptional activity. It has also seen a lot of people reevaluating just what it is they are looking for out of a home and homeownership.
Real estate came out of the pandemic as a centerpiece of our lives — a place to isolate, to stay healthy, and to social distance. Homes became offices, schools, recreation and relaxation areas, and more. With all of the emphasis placed on the home and the time spent there, it may not be surprising that it didn’t take long for a “race for space” to take hold. To meet changing needs, homebuyers claimed they wanted larger homes as a direct result of the health crisis.
But as the pandemic comes more under control, it’s unclear if that trend will continue. A greater amount of square footage may certainly be attractive, but homebuyers need to consider if bigger houses are actually the best long-term choice.
Take a second and think about why one might want a big home. In the end, it all comes down to want vs. need. A family of five or a household with extended or generational family living under one roof may require a home with more square footage. But if a smaller home would suffice and you’re looking to purchase a bigger home just to indulge or impress, consider how your motivation may impact you in the long run.
Bigger Homes Come With Bigger Costs
The lure of a big home is real. But while it can be tempting to go big, keep in mind that bigger houses translate to bigger bills, and this starts with home prices and closing costs!
You’ve probably imagined that a home with a bigger footprint would cost more and lead to a bigger mortgage, but larger homes actually have more expenses overall, and home buyers leaning toward larger homes need to take those additional costs into account.
The larger the overall square footage and acreage, the greater the property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Your utility bills will be larger, too, as it undoubtedly costs more to keep the lights on and temperature regulated.
Home maintenance is also often more costly — and time-consuming — with larger homes. There is the money spent on cleaning supplies and services to take into account as well as exterior and interior repairs, cosmetic upgrades, and renovations.
Bigger houses also undoubtedly have bigger rooms which means a need for a larger quantity of furnishings to fill the space.
And unfortunately, replacing major utility items like furnaces and air conditioning systems for homes with larger square footage can be pricier than for homes with smaller footprints.
The bottom line? It’s true. Owning a bigger home just costs more.
A Bigger Home May Not Be As Easy to Sell Later
When purchasing a home, any smart homebuyer should be thinking not only about their current needs, but also a home’s potential future value. As we have seen over the past year, the economy plays a major role in home sales and can affect buyers’ interest in larger homes as well.
Think through whether you’ll fare well and get a solid return on your investment by looking at the pros and cons of your own decision-making. Consider your own choices in wanting to buy a larger home and reflect on whether future buyers would pay a premium for a large spacious home or, instead, be turned off by the high property taxes, utilities, and overall maintenance.
There is No Better Size Than the Size You Need
As we’ve shown, bigger isn’t always better, though it is right for some homebuyers. There is not just one decision-making factor. Consider what size home would realistically meet your family’s needs and your available income to pay the mortgage and other expenses.
Also keep in mind that when just starting out, many individuals and families purchase a smaller home to start them off with a lower budgetary impact. As they grow, and grow into their finances, there is always the option to upgrade to a bigger home in the future. But while many look forward to growth, others are surprised at how much a smaller home suits them and still meets their needs — as well as helps them into retirement.
If you’re making the decision about which size home you need, contact LIST WITH ELIZABETH® to better understand all of the options in the Northern Virginia market. Bigger isn’t always better, but what’s best is what’s right for you!