When deciding what size house you and your family need, you need to evaluate a number of factors.
Most people lean toward the larger homes, but it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option.
1. What are my long-term needs?
The first step is to determine how long you plan to live in your home. Then you need to evaluate your size needs over that time period.
For instance, do you plan to live in the home for at least 10 years and have three children? Or will your children be going away to college soon? It is smart to buy a home that will meet your future needs now.
You can always renovate down the line, but if you are counting on that option, it is a good idea to research what is involved now. It is often a lot more expensive and time consuming to do than you realize.
2. Do I really want to clean a large house?
There are a lot of conveniences to having a large home, but remember that you will need to keep it clean.
The larger the space, the more work is involved. If you hire a housekeeper, a larger home will cost you more to maintain.
When you buy a smaller home, it forces you to accumulate fewer unnecessary items. People tend to “grow” into the size of their homes.
3. Will I be able to furnish a larger home?
When you purchase a larger home, you will need more furniture.
In addition, when you furnish a larger room, you usually need larger pieces. Most likely this means you will need to purchase new items.
If you are moving into your first home and you have little furniture, you are likely to need new pieces. This can be a huge expense, even if you buy second hand. Make sure you can afford to furnish your new home.
4. Can I afford the maintenance?
The larger the home, the more maintenance you will most likely have.
When the roof needs to be replaced, it will cost more than a smaller one. It will cost more to install new carpeting, tiling and laminate.
In addition, the larger the yard, the more time and expense you incur in cutting the lawn, maintaining trees and landscaping.
The utility bills will be higher for a larger home as well. You can get an idea of what to expect of these from the seller. Don’t forget that buying smaller helps the environment.
5. What do I really prefer?
When you are weighing the pros and cons, you must also factor in your personal preference. Some people prefer a cozy, smaller home, while others enjoy having extra rooms for guests.
Ultimately, in the end, you will be living in your home for a long time, and it’s important to take your happiness into account.
This article was updated from an earlier version by Laura Sherman and published on realtor.com. See it here.