(Closed) Buy small cozy house now, or wait a year and buy a larger house?

posted 7 years ago in Home
Post # 3
5778 posts
Bee Keeper

I think many first time homebuyers get stuck in the mindset of having to buy a house before thinking it through. A small house will always be small, and unless you’re prepared to do some extenive remodeling to give you the space you will eventually need, I’d keep looking. The lot its on may be too small or too cost prohibitive to do much with it, and resale may be a nightmare. Small homes limit the number of potential future buyers as well. It isn’t that easy to move on once you’ve settled in.

One thing we did when looking, was to see how the people who lived there filled their space. If the closets were overflowing and all storage areas were filled to the gills, that told us the house was too small for those people so would be the same for us. People tend to accumulate MORE things as time goes on, not less.

My daughter bought a house that was too small as soon as they moved in, and in today’s market is worth far less than they paid. They can’t afford to add on and they can’t afford to sell, and there’s nothing worse than feeling stuck. We tried to talk them out of it when they were looking, but they had stars in their eyes over home ownership, and failed to see all the flaws.

I’d wait and save more to get a bigger house, honestly.

Post # 4
2889 posts
Sugar bee

Wait. If you think it is small now, it won’t get any bigger in the future. My parents thought they bought a starter home and, while they considered selling when I was in high school, they still live in the same home they bought 30 years ago. Moving is annoying, save yourself the hassle and go for the bigger house. Is it possible you could look for a larger house now while the mortgage rates are favorable? This way if you see something sooner, maybe you could move in 6 monthsi nstead of a year thus the wait would not be as stressful.

Post # 5
14656 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

If you think the smaller house now is a good size for future use also and dont really want a larger house, then why wait?  No one says you *have* to get the largest house you can afford, its all about what you need and want.  A friend of mine got a 2k sf house, and they think its too big, even though they plan to have children.  They both had smaller houses growing up, and plan on downsizing for their final home when they move again.  If you dont think it’ll be enough room for future use, then I’d wait and get a larger house… I dont think its worth the hassle and commission to sell in a short amount of time. 

Post # 6
6572 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2010

I think it depends on what you’re looking for in your future. Does it have enough room for kids if you want them? I’m the kind of person who hate’s moving, so I wanted to make sure there was enough room in my house for all of my future children.

Post # 7
3520 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I’m in the small house camp.  I believe in buying something you can afford, and making the most of small spaces.  We have a 4 bedroom 2 bath house which is considered small in this area.  Fi took 2 of the basement bedrooms and made a giant music room out of it–so we essentially have our bedroom, my den, and his music room.  It’s plenty of space for the two of us!

Post # 8
2025 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m with artbee on this one…Can you see yourself having children in it? We currently own a house that is around 2500 sq ft. Personally, I hate the fact that we don’t use half of it, but we are planning on having kids here. I can see where we are going to need the room, especially since there really isn’t a lot of storage. I know I’ll be thankful for the space once there’s an extra family member or 2 running around.

With that said, I do love a small, cozy house!

Post # 9
13096 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

You have to think about how long you plan to be there, if/when you want to have kids, etc.  You want to plan to have space for those future things.

Personally, I would wait and get something a bit bigger.  It doesn’t have to huge or anything – but big enough to give you plenty of storage and some room to grow into.  I agree with PPs that if you already think it is small, once you move in with your stuff, it will feel even smaller.

Post # 10
3942 posts
Honey bee

It really depends on a lot of things. How long do you plan to stay in the house? Will you have kids while you live there? Is this your “forever” home?

We bought a 3 bedroom home and it’s just the two of us. It’s about 1300sqft and actually too big for us right now. But, we plan to live here for the next 7-10 years and we plan to start our family here, so I know we will grow into it. Our next home will be our forever home, and probably slightly bigger.

Post # 11
4546 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I think it’s all about what works for you. We just bought a house and we looked at some houses that we felt were way to big for us (even when we have kids). As first time homebuyers, we wanted something that was big enough to have children in but not so big it would be overwhelming for us. I”m sure 5-10 years from now we’ll get something a little bit bigger, but not too much.

Post # 12
3142 posts
Sugar bee

My sister and her hubs were in a similar situation and they picked the smaller house because they loved the neighborhood more and instead have added additions and remodeled with the money.  The house has grown with them AND it looks amazing!

That might be an option possibly? *shrugs*

Post # 13
1036 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I agree with previous posters that you need to think about how much space you will need in 5 years before making this decision.  Mortgage rates are great now, which is great for buyers…but it is a buyers market, so if you feel you would need to upgrade in a year or two as your family grows you will probably be better of waiting.  I have seen homes in my area sit on the market for almost 2 years with the current market, selling isn’t as easy as you might think.  Do what is going to be right for you now and as you grow.

Post # 14
1805 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

Define “small” as it pertains to you and your future.   Our house is about 1200 sf.  A “cottage” in the classical sense.  To some that is ridiculously tiny.   For us it’s ok.  3 bedrooms, only major issue is the ONE bathroom with 2 adults and 2 kids (and sometimes, off and on my 19 year old too).

We were sick to death of renting though, and bought what we could afford.  The time was right, though I do wish we had a bit more space.  We could always convert the attic I suppose.  When we bought it we also considered the fact that my oldest son would be moving out in the next few years (he was 15 when we bought the house).. a situation different from most here on the Bee who are just starting out with  no kids yet.

The next house we buy will be bigger, but only for personal preferences (we both hope for a big rambling roomy 2 story old farmhouse or Victorian)… someplace our future grandkids can come and visit. 😉

Be honest with yourself about your tendencies regarding “stuff” too.  Some people are naturally minimalistic, others like to keep everything.  My mom, for example, is beyond a keeper and into pack rat territory.  She has 2200 square feet and only ONE bedroom is totally in use as a bedroom.  Another has a bed in it so technically you can sleep there but there are boxes all over, can’t walk much in there!  The third bedroom is FULL of stuff in boxes and even the family room is pretty much full! Plus she has storage sheds outside!   A friend of mine, though, has a huge house, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 story, 2 living areas, 2 dining areas, and she is not the type to keep things so she could move into a tiny house tomorrow and be fine.  🙂

Post # 15
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I think the general rule of thumb is you should plan on living in a house for roughly 5 years, or you lose out overall on costs of moving/getting house.  When you say it is too small, is it too small now, or too small 5 years from now?  or 10? 

Post # 16
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

We recently bought a small house…I mean really small- 674 square feet- 2 bedroom, 1 bath. At the time, we had just relocated from out of state and only had one income (mine).

Best decision ever!  Our interest rate was great- our mortgage payment is less than our rent was before with taxes, insurance, everything.

And surprise we got pregnant and I am due in July.  We plan to stay here until the baby is about 4-5 years old and then upgrade to a larger house.

In the meantime, we have a low monthly payment, we are not throwing money away in rent each month and have a home we can call our own. Plus, if one of us loses our job again for some reason I know we can afford it even with the new baby.

I don’t think there is a need to wait a year- buy a house you can afford now and take advantage of the great rates.  

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