Should I buy a bigger house?

Chances are, when you first bought your home, it met your specific needs and was within your target budget. As time goes on, your needs and budget evolve in accordance with changing life circumstances.

When this happens, you may wonder if it is time to upscale your home. As a homeowner, it is important that you learn how to determine if it’s your current home is no longer big enough to suit your personal needs, and how you can afford the cost of upgrades when the time comes to do so.

Before you make your decision, you may want to consider key factors such as your family size, your gross income, the current housing market, and the availability of services you are seeking. If the need seems valid but the circumstances do not support a move into a bigger home, you also have the option of renovating your existing home. Read the following sections for tips on deciding whether buying a bigger home is the right decision for you.

You Have a Growing Family

When your first bought your home, you may have chosen this specific property as a single or newly married individual. If you have since chosen to grow your family, your current home may be too small to accommodate everyone. Problems often arise when too many people share a small living space. As such, adding new members to family is a good indicator that it may be time to get a bigger home with more bedrooms.

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Similarly, if you or your spouse’s aging parents need to move in with you, you may decide it is time to purchase a bigger home in lieu of rearranging your current layout to accommodate extra residents. Even bringing a large family dog into the household could create a need for more space, and prompt you to look at available homes in your neighborhood with larger indoor and outdoor spaces.

You Want a Backyard

Whether you are planning a family or want to host more parties, a yard can suddenly become a must-have in your home, even if you had no desire or need for one before. Smaller homes often have small yards, though many offer no yard at all. Bigger homes are more likely to have larger yards, located in the front or side of the house, or through a conventional backyard space. If your current home does not allow you to build or expand a backyard area, you may want to start shopping for a bigger home.

You Have a Higher Income

Most homeowners select homes that fit within their current budget. However, as time goes by, they may have a higher income, leading to a bigger home budget. A higher income allows you to re-assess your current living situation and determine if it still meets your needs or if you need to upgrade to a larger living space.

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Bigger homes often come with added costs that are not included in the purchase price. With this in mind, you will need to consider all options before you choose to purchase one home over another. The additional costs to consider when upscaling to a bigger home include:

  • Property taxes.
  • Homeowner’s insurance.
  • Homeowner’s association fees.
  • Mortgage interest rates.
  • Maintenance costs.

A good rule of thumb for any homeowner to follow is that you should not spend over 30 percent of your gross monthly income on housing. The best way to make sure you can afford a bigger home is to create a budget of your estimated expenditures in a larger home. Once you have examined all potential expenses, use this as a starting point to help you determine how much you can afford to spend per month in mortgage payments for a larger home. This will help you narrow down a purchase price that fits within your budget and assess if currently, the homes for sale meet your needs. If not, you may want to consider remodeling projects, as it is a more cost effective option.

Consider the Maintenance Requirements

Your pocketbook is not the only thing affected when moving into a bigger home. You must also consider your ability and willingness to keep the home clean and in good condition. It takes more effort and care to live in a larger home and maintain the same level of cleanliness and comfort you do in your current space. As such, you must determine if you are willing to put in added time and effort yourself or have the money to pay someone else to oversee the upkeep.

The Housing Market

Although you may be ready to make a move into a bigger home, the housing market might not be conducive of your plans. Finding the right timing is a major factor in strategizing a home sale and purchase. Remember, you must sell your existing home before you can move into a bigger home. Depending on factors like interest rates, supply and demand and location, market conditions can significantly influence whether your ambitions to buy a bigger house are well-timed or if you may need to wait several months before you decide on a new home to buy.

Social Factors

Buying a bigger house often means relocating to a new neighborhood. Your new neighbors will likely be very different from the neighbors you know now, as they can have different lifestyles. You may also notice subtle to dramatic shifts in your own habits once you move to a new home. If you are looking to upgrade your status and your friends, such a move can be worthwhile. If you are comfortable in your current lifestyle and want to maintain it, such a shift could set you back, rather than propel you forward into a more affluent life. You will also need to build new relationships, as old friends may find it difficult to visit you at your new address. This process often requires taking more initiative on your end to travel out to see certain friends or discover new favorite local hangouts.

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If you have kids, they will also have an adjustment period when relocating to a new area. Moving them to a bigger home will mean taking them away from their friends and injecting them into an unfamiliar area. This can have a negative impact on your children or may prove to be beneficial, depending on their ages and other social factors.

Services

Moving into a bigger house in often comes with better schools, police and fire services, hospitals and utility services in the area. If your family’s educational or medical needs have grown or you foresee these changes coming in the future, moving into a home could grant you access to all better services.

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