If you’re house shopping, there’s probably one question that’s been on your mind often: “What size home should I buy?” At a glance, the answer seems obvious: as big as you can afford! But that’s only a small piece of the puzzle. Home size matters on many levels from personal preference to resale value, future plans, your budget, and more.
How do you find the ideal home size for you and your family? Here are three things you need to consider:
The Truth About Square Footage
A foot is a foot, right? When it comes to the square footage of your future home that may not be the case. Measuring the size of a house isn’t incredibly precise. More often than not, the size will change depending on which appraiser is measuring and what mechanism they’re using to determine the square footage: measuring tape, laser measure, or eyeball. The reality is that there are no universal standards when it comes to measuring your home size.
What does this mean for you? You need to choose your home size not by the numbers but by the feel. Don’t put too much stock in the listing size on paper, but instead find out in person if each room, bathroom, and living area is large enough for your needs. It’s not about how other individuals answer the question, “What is a good sized house?” It’s about you, your family, and how big a place feels in person.
While your budget isn’t the only thing you should consider, it needs to be one of the critical factors in determining your ideal home size. And that may be little more complicated than you think. What matters when it comes to your budget?
Loan Size: The larger the house, the more expensive—most of the time. Make sure the average house size of your real estate listings fits with your pre-approved loan budget.
Monthly Budget: Large houses are expensive to keep up. As you increase your square footage expect to pay more in electricity, water, gas, cleaning, and more. If you have a tight allocation for monthly expenses, don’t go overboard on a large house without factoring in these other costs.
Your Future: Are you planning to have more kids? Do you need a new car? Are you counting on getting a raise at work? If you’re expecting your financial situation to change, make sure your home budget fits the modifications.
Your Preferences and Needs
Your particular wants and needs should have the most significant impact on the home you choose. Make sure you’re truthful and honest with yourself about your expectations and needs. For example, if you eat out regularly and hate cooking, there’s no need to spend on a gourmet kitchen! You’d be better served looking for a home with a smaller kitchen and a bigger living room.
To help you determine your preferences, here are ten questions you should ask yourself:
1. Do you like small and cozy or do you need room to spread out?
2. How many people are in your family and how much space does each person need?
3. Do you have any hobbies or jobs that require extra space? (If you work from home, you’ll need an office. If cars are a passion, you’ll want a more substantial garage)
4. How often do you have visitors over? (If you have parties every few weeks and relatives visit a few times a year, you might want more space for guests)
5. Are you planning to have more kids or have an elderly relative move in with you?
6. What size of house have you been excited about in the past?
7. How much storage do you need? (Closet space and built-ins can be a big space saver)
8. How large is your furniture, and how much do you have? (If you have a king-sized bed, you want a big master bedroom)
9. What’s your five-year plan? (Upgrading your home to a larger size can be difficult; make sure the home you choose can last for years)
10. How much outdoor space do I want?
The key to purchasing the right-sized home for you is being realistic. Make sure you really sit down with your family to discuss what you need, want, and can afford. Then, ask your local Coldwell Banker real estate agent to help you search for the perfect sized house for you.