One of my guilty pleasures is the show House Hunters on HGTV. I watch it because I love to see the inside of houses and hear how buyers think about making such a major purchase.
Each show opens with an explanation of why the person (or couple) is looking for a new home. Many times, it is a young family that is expecting another child. Sometimes it is a couple that is getting married.
They all want “more space” and there’s usually plenty of it to find. Since the 1950s, the average home size has more than doubled to 2,700 square feet. And some of these homes are gigantic – 5,000+ square-foot mammoths . These homes have double sinks and separate showers and tubs and man caves and enormous walk-in closets. And they come with sizable mortgages.
But is bigger really better when it comes to houses?
It’s nice to have a lot of space. But you’ll pay more for the luxury. You’ll pay more for the house. You’ll pay more to insure it. You’ll pay more in property taxes.
You’ll pay more to furnish it, more to heat and cool it, more to electrify it. You’ll spend more time maintaining it and more time cleaning it.
And you’ll fill it full of stuff you don’t really need so that it doesn’t feel so empty.
Living large in a small house
A more modest house, on the other hand, will be more affordable in nearly every way. You’ll pay less for the house, which means you may even be able to pay it off early. Taxes and insurance won’t break the bank. Smaller houses are often more energy efficient, and they don’t take long to clean.
And you will be selective about the the things you bring into your home. Instead of bringing home every knickknack or new pair of shoes home with you from the mall, you’ll have to consider whether your home has the space for those extraneous purchases. When space is at a premium it becomes much easier to keep your money in your wallet.
The solution is rarely more space
Before you start shopping for a new home or shelling out money for a storage facility, take a good hard look at the reasons why you feel you need more space. Are you holding on to things you don’t really need? Are you making the best use of the space you currently have?
Chances are good that if you took the time to do a serious purge of your stuff and re-evaluated how everything is organized, you would find you have ample space in your current home. You would find that keeping your home’s furnishings and your belongings to a minimum will simplify your life and help you save money, too.
I wholly agree with you! I watch these shows too and sometimes I am just left with my mouth open seeing some of these couples saying they need more space because they are going to have 1 child or would like to expand their family. Most of the time I see where they currently live is just fine, nicer and bigger than what I have. I do see a lot of greed in these shows too. Granite counter tops a must, stainless steel appliances a must and what??? no double sink in the master bathroom. Wow, if I could have a master bathroom with a single sink all to myself I would be SO over the moon! Stainless steel is overrated and a pain to keep clean especially with little ones and teens for that matter running around and granite counter tops? I dunno. I guess home is where the heart is and we have thought about up-sizing–family with 4 boys in 1700 square some may think this is small–and I thought so too but I like my payment and would rather enjoy things outside the house and have money to support my growing family and all their needs! Bigger is not always better—everything comes at a price!! Thanks for sharing!!!
Christina Brown says
Agreed! I think so many people are focused on appearances and not on the things that really matter when it comes to owning a home.
Melissa H. says
I had to stop watching House Hunters (at least for a while) because of the financial insanity of it all. I especially can’t stand when a couple refuses to consider a house based on the appliances alone. Even if they eventually want updated appliances — why not buy them outside the 30 year mortgage (and pay a lot less in the end!). And if they can’t afford the appliances without rolling them into the mortgage, maybe that signifies a problem…?! Ugh, it drives me nuts! Bryan and I live in a small house in a metro area where bigger is almost always considered better when it comes to houses. Our house (1500 sq ft) is still the biggest house either of us has ever lived in. It’s good to be content and to steer clear of the enormous obligations that come with those big houses (for example, 2 A/C units that will eventually need repair/replacement, bigger and more complex rooflines that will also cost more to replace, more plumbing issues that come with several bathrooms, etc.). Plus, it’s less space to clean!!!
A lot of days I long for a bigger house. Ours can feel a little cramped (possibly because we’re both home all day, every day). But this is perfect for our needs. And we have a nice low house payment. The big costs are coming from making a ’70s house more energy efficient, but we’re working on that.
Thanks to my fatigue, cleaning is already an issue. So whenever I want a bigger house, I picture having to clean it (and the A/C bills in the summer!).