Post # 1
So, husband and I are about to buy our first home. We’ve spent a long time looking aimlessly, and I think it’s because we’re still not sure what size we should be getting.
We’re both fairly young, no kids planned for the next 5 years, but definitely want to start in the next 10. Probably 2-3 kids in total.
He works from home, so we definitely need at least 2 bedrooms (one for his office, one to sleep in), but beyond that, we won’t really use more rooms until 7+ years out. We can find uses (like a tv room or a craft room or a guest room), but they’re just not necessary right now.
My thoughts are—
2 bedrooms: perfect for now, not wasteful, but we’ll probably need to upsize in 7-10 years (and buying and selling is expensive!)
3: can probably fit all the kids in the future, but might be a little tight and no “bonus” rooms if we want a study or a playroom, so basically a little too big now and a little too small later
4: too big now, and really expensive, but won’t need to move and we can “settle in” sooner
We don’t have any idea what’s right (do kids need their own rooms? a playroom?), so if any bees have experience or thoughts to share, would be much appreciated!
Post # 2
ducktales : I would buy 3. You don’t want to have more space than you need, but depending on your market 2-bedroom houses (vs. condos) can be harder to sell when you want to upgrade. 3 Gives you a bedroom, office, and guest space and enough space for when you start having kids. If you have more kids than rooms you can move later and the 3 bedroom will be easier to sell.
Post # 3
My first home was a 3 bedroom. I lived alone for 2 years, and I had an office / gym and a guest room as I often had friend stay over. When my husband moved in, we morphed the office / gym into a mancave with his video games & guitars. It was perfect for us without kids. We just sold the house and bought a 4 bedroom now, because having kids in the 3 bedroom wouldn’t work (not sure where the office / gym / mancave items would go). I got very lucky that I bought the house at the bottom of the market 6 years ago, so when I sold it I made over 200K which allowed us to easily put down on a house 2X the size. It was perfect timing as we don’t have kids yet but are TTC, so now when it happens we have the space and don’t need to demo the entire house to make a baby fit!
Depending on your area and the current housing market where you are, you may be able to get a good size starter home that will increase in value. Just beware if the market is high, as you may lose money rather than make it. If this isn’t an option, I would go with a larger home now pending you can afford it. Trust me, you will end up filling it up and outgrowing it sooner than you’d expect. Plus, you don’t want to be looking for a new house when you’re pregnant or have babies, as it would be easier to get in to your forever home first.
Post # 4
We went right for our forever 4br/2.5bath home when we were looking 8 years ago. Our thought was also to be big enough for 2 or 3 kids. Reasons we went for the 4 bedroom….smaller houses werent that much cheaper that it was worth it to us, the market was pretty low at the time, interest rates were super low so we wanted to just lock that in and know what we were facing for the next 30 years, we didnt’ want to have to deal with moving again in a few years (We started TTC 2-3 years after being n the house). 8 years have FLOWN by, I dont even feel like we’ve had time to do everything we wanted to do upgrade wise yet. TTC took until now, so the 3 extra rooms did remain unused all this time (other than when we had guest staying in 1 or 2 of the rooms) and we turned one into a gym. But I’m still glad we went all out right up front. We can take our time with teh upgrades and do them for us, and not always feel like we’re doing it for someone else when we sell. I feel like after just a few years, you’re just really starting to build equity in the house since interest is the majority of it at first, and it would suck to start all over with a higher priced house.
Post # 5
pinkshoes : second this too! We spent SO much money renovating my old house and every penny seemed like such a waste because we knew it wasn’t family friendly size. Now that we are in the new bigger house, every thing we do to it means so much more as we consider it our forever house! I’m glad I did a starter home because it helped me with a down payment on the next house, but had I been searching for my first home later on in life (I was 25 and only dating D H for less than a year) I would have considered something bigger from the start too.
Post # 6
I think a 2 bedroom would make an excellent starter home if you’re not looking to settle immediately. You can look for one with bonus rooms, too, that way you can keep the bedroom as a bedroom.
Post # 7
Thank you for all the input! I just realized that it might be relevant that we’re in NYC, where the prices are insane, and extra bedrooms are really expensive.
A 4 bedroom basically commits me to working the next 6-7 years at my somewhat stressful job, whereas a 2 bedroom halves that. It’s not clear I want a different job, as it’s current not *that* bad, but I definitely wouldn’t be able to leave (or get fired!) for a while, unless husband’s startup takes off.
Post # 8
ducktales : I vote 3, however keep in mind that it’s not just the amount of bedrooms, but sizes, how many wardrobes etc.
Darling Husband and I currently live in a 3 bedroom home, however all the rooms in the house are really small and overall the house is small. It’s perfect for us as it’s low maintenance, we have our bedroom I have a study and we have a spare bedroom/room for DH’s hunting stuff. I’ve seen plenty of 3 bedroom houses that are more than double the size of our house.
We want to buy at the end of next year, and we want a house with a similar layout, with just slightly larger rooms. That will be our just us 2 house, and then our us 2 + 2 kids house. This way it’s less for the kids to get into, less room to spread mess etc. We’ll probably look at moving to a larger 4 bedroom 2 bathroom 2 living area house when the youngest starts school.
Post # 9
We went with 4. Here was our rationale:
1) it was our first home, so we were able to take advantage of incentives for first time homeowners (lower downpayment etc)
2) the market was low. Sure, we’d make a lot if we sold now, but a bigger house also costs way more now.
3) i didn’t want to put money into a house we weren’t staying in
4) moving is the fucking worst.
If you can afford it now, i’d buy the 4 bedroom. Because sure in 10 years you will make more, but you don’t know what the market will do. And in 10 years you’ll be 10 years closer to mortgage-free on a forever home.
Post # 10
I think when it comes to such a big investment, the smart thing to do is to buy based on a 15+ year plan.
So to me that says 3 or 4 bedroom. If you can’t afford dthe 4 br without stretching yourselves, don’t. But I wouldn’t go with 2.
Post # 11
Given your update, buy a 2-bedroom or possibly a 3. In NYC a 2-bedroom house is huge and you will have no trouble reselling.
Post # 12
I bought my house 3 years ago pre-engagement/marriage/baby. I bought an 1100sqft 3 bedroom thinking that would be big enough. Honestly, it’s not. I constantly feel cramped and like I have no room for anything and now that we’ve added a new baby to the mix and all the things that come with a baby we are 100% out of room.
So now I’m looking to sell my house and buy something bigger after the holidays. It’s going to be a pain but I know realistically we want one more baby in the next two years and we are absolutely at capacity here.
With that said, I would go bigger. When the time comes you need it and don’t have it, it’s a pain in the ass. As it is, we have to put our family planning on hold until we can sell our house and find/buy a new one which is a pain.
Post # 13
I would not buy anything smaller than a 3 bedroom house, mostly for resale purposes, but also because you just don’t know what life will hand you. Darling Husband and I planned to be in our first home 3-5 years, and we ended up being there 9 years!
Post # 14
ducktales : Tbh, I would go three bedroom for a couple reasons:
1. You don’t have a need for the extra space right now, so four would be a huge financial committment.
2. It’s financially easier to make the jump from three rooms to four, than 0 rooms to four (if that makes sense)….have a three bedroom for half a dozen years or so, then moving up to four won’t be a massive leap. But to do so now would be.
Gosh I don’t think I made that point well…
Post # 15
I voted 3BR because where I live a 3/2 will usually sell faster and appeal to more buyers than a 2/1 or 2/2….
BUT after reading you live in the city, I would take one of two paths:
1. Bare minimum space you need right now (2BR or JR4)
2. 3 BR if you anticipate prices will rise faster than your incomes and the area you can currently afford a 3BR might be out of reach by the time you have kids.
I would definitely not do the 4BR. City kids are used to living in smaller spaces so they can share a bedroom if same sex or perhaps hubby can rent an office by the time your 2nd is born. You don’t want to make a 7-year commitment to a stressful job because you have no idea 1) where the economy could go in that time, 2) what might happen when your’re pregnant (had a friend on bedrest for 6 months with her twins….not all jobs take that kind of news we’ll), and 3) how you’ll feel once you have kids. You might want to stay home or a more flexible job or who knows. I usually say buy a house you can afford on 1 of your incomes but in nyc that’s not always possible. Just don’t stretch too far.