4 Questions to Determine How Much Space You Need in Your New Home
The home buying process requires a balance of wants, needs, and dreams. One of the ever-evolving components of this puzzle is the amount of space you need and can afford. For many, there are points in their life where extra space can feel empty and be costly to heat and maintain. Yet they may remember a point not that long before when they felt like there were toys, pets, school books, sports gear, and small humans busting out of the walls of their home. For some, the higher cost of being in a certain area is worth the compromise of a smaller home footprint. So, there are four questions you can ask yourself and then discuss with your realtor to help determine how much space would be ideal in your new home.
WILL THIS BE MY FOREVER HOME?
Determining if your new home will be a stepping stone to the next stage of your life or the property you intend to grow old in can be impactful for how you view the layout of a space, as well as how much overall space you desire. Likewise, there may be points in many homeowners' lives that stairs are a safety concern or point of frustration, while others will view them as a great opportunity to create unique, separate spaces. Thinking through which stage you are in your life and if you intend to move in the next 5 to 10 years or if this is a forever home can help you determine just how much space you need and how you would like that space to be arranged.
WILL I ENTERTAIN A LOT OR HAVE MANY GUESTS?
Speaking of how you want your space to be arranged, determining whether you intend to host large gatherings can help determine what layout may best match your lifestyle. For example, if you often host large meals, you may be looking for a home with plenty of room to seat large groups. However, if this is a once a year event, you may decide not to dedicate extra square footage to an oversized dining room. Perhaps you enjoy having people over to watch movies or sporting events, so a theater room or large family room may be important for you. Also, if you frequently have guests that stay overnight at your home, then a guest bedroom and bathroom may be important to you. Determining how often you will use your home to entertain and which spaces you would use the most may impact your decision on what you want/need for the size and layout of your new home.
DOES MY LIFESTYLE WARRANT BIGGER BEDROOMS?
In addition to the number of bedrooms a home has, the size and features of those bedrooms can be important. For some buyers, the empty nest period may mean repurposing what was once a child’s bedroom into a craft room, office, or fitness room. Thinking about if these “bedrooms” are big enough and have the right light and amenities for alternate uses can be important for some buyers. Meanwhile, if buyers presently have children at home, the ideal size of their bedrooms likely varies with age. Younger children tend to spend more time playing in open family spaces where they can be supervised, whereas teens tend to spend more time in their bedrooms doing homework, hanging out with friends, etc. Likewise, parents of young children often want their master bedroom close to the kids’ rooms, while parents of older kids or those living with extended family may desire greater separation between the master bedroom and other bedrooms.
Even the desirability of features of a bedroom can vary for many. The idea of an exterior door on a bedroom may be a great draw for some buyers because of the potential of an income property or home business, while others with young children or teens may see it as a challenge. Thinking through your unique needs and how you will use the bedrooms in your home now and into the future can help you decide just how much space and what amenities you desire in the bedrooms in a home.
CAN I AFFORD TO HEAT AND MAINTAIN MORE SPACE?
Also, the sometimes forgotten aspect of the size of a home is maintenance. Soaring ceilings, extra rooms, and specialized amenities often require more work and cost to maintain. Whether you are looking for more square footage within the walls of a home, or a generous outdoor space to enjoy, each has requirements for maintenance. Are you financially prepared to take on those costs? Do you have time to maintain a larger outdoor space? How do you feel about cleaning more bathrooms and dusting more surfaces? If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, do you have the resources to pay someone else to take care of it for you? It is important to consider the time and financial resources needed to care for additional space.
Once you determine if:
this will be your forever home
you will be entertaining a lot in your home
your lifestyle warrants bigger bedrooms, and
you can afford to heat and maintain more space,
then it is time to put the list together and determine what that dream house looks like.
Working with your realtor, you can determine what layout and square footage match your wants and needs. Then after adding up all the “wants”, you need to determine how to make a larger footprint fit your budget. This may result in an evaluation of whether you will adjust your list to stay in a certain area, or if you are willing to look at alternate neighborhoods where your dollar may stretch farther.
If you want to evaluate your wants, needs, and dreams for your future home, the realtors at Julian & Company would love to connect and help you explore this process.
Written by Marci L. Hardy, PhD