Post # 1
Just wanted to do an anonymous poll to get an idea of how often people buy the “just right” amount of house. Darling Husband and I don’t have kids yet, and aren’t entirely sure we ever will. However, I make a significant income, and it’d just plain be stupid of me to never buy a house. I’m just not sure how big I should go. We have several hobbies that take up a lot of space (scrapbooking, sewing, music, astronomy, he works on his car and works from home…). In addition, we have a pet parrot with a huge cage that takes up a good deal of space. So I’m wondering how big a house we’d need. I know everyone says they want to buy their “forever” home, but I really do think it’s possible for me given my career is in a very high demand field and I’m pretty much guaranteed to never be unemployed. So how’d you decide how much house to buy regardless of what you could afford? And do you think you made the right decision?
Post # 3
@pfinarffle: I’m confused. Are you saying you can afford a larger house than you need? Or that you don’t know how big of a house you need, but regardless you can afford it? I’m a visual person, so I would draw out a floor plan and place your stuff in it. Figure out if you can put multiple hobbies in the same room, or if your husband wants a 4 car garage so he can have a project car and you two can have cars in there and still have leftover space (it sounds nuts but that garage is whats in FI’s dream house). Then look for houses with about that much space.
Post # 4
Within our price range, we could have had anywhere from a 1300sf 3br/2bath house in a super nice neighborhood 20 minutes from the city to a 3500 sf 4 br/3 bath house in a also very nice neighborhood, but a good 50 minutes from the city. Anything we bought was to be our forever home. Since we were going to spend the same either way, we went for the larger houe a little furter out and ended up with a 3200 sf 4br/2.5bath. I voted we bought too much house. We definitely could have manged with less space, and be saving a crap load on heating/cooling bills, and saved a ton on a house in the area we’re in now if we went smaller and/or older. I think just start by looking at how much space and what you want, then just go for that if its affordable, theres nothign saying you have to buy as much house as you can. We certainly didnt max our budget and was pretty conservative.
Post # 5
We bought a condo, which we are now trying to sell because it was too small. We definitely want our next house to be our “forever home”, so we would much rather go bigger just in case. We don’t want children, but we also have hobbies that take up a lot space and organization is extremely important to us. I say get the most you can for your money. You never know exactly what could happen that would make you need more space, and I would much rather have room to grow.
Post # 6
Thanks to everyone for strategies so far!
@asscherlover: I guess I meant if money were not as much an object, how do you figure out how much house to buy? I obviously can’t buy a huge 20 bedroom mansion somewhere. But I wondered how other bees figured out what to buy. I’m also thinking longterm. For the bee who bought a bigger house further out, utility bills do scare me (I pay $100/month in electricy alone in my 950 sq/foot apartment, and even that annoys me), and that 50 minute commute would be a huge bummer– not to mention ridiculous gas expense seeing as we’re headed towards $5/gallon and probably a lot more in the next 30 years. So I guess I’m trying to figure out how to find that “just enough” house size. Hmmm… I like the floor plan idea.
Does anyone think that selling bigger homes might be harder in the future? It just seems that the cost of living is getting expensive, and I’m starting to wonder if more and more people won’t find city dwellings attractive due to shorter commutes to work. And of course homes in cities are much smaller. Not that I’d ever want to live in an urban setting, but that also makes me wonder about how far away from the city and how big…
Post # 7
I feel like ours is just perfect for us. We knew we wanted a 2-storey, detached, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house and that’s what we got. Our master bedroom is bigger than we had in mind, which we love! Our backyard is smaller than we would have liked, but we’re over it. 🙂
Post # 8
When it came down to decision, we had two houses in the sameneighborhood that we would have been happy with: a 3100sqft 5bd 3bath, and 1550sqft 3bd 2bath. We ended up buying the latter, and every time we drive past the bigger one I’m glad we went with the smaller one. It’s the perfect size for our family and a future family member, and not too much to clean, decorate, and heat. I dont think this is our forever home, but I’m really glad that we started smaller…I would have been overwhelmed in the bigger house. </end of personal anecdote>
Post # 9
No way I could afford my “forever” home right now. I live in the most expensive city in Canada. What we can afford right now is about 1300 square feet in a townhouse, with two bedrooms and a den. We feel it will last us until we are ready to have our second child (5-7 years maybe?). If worse comes to worst and we can’t sell or afford to buy bigger, we can convert the loft den into a bedroom by closing in the walls and we can make do!
Post # 10
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
We’re in the process of buying our forever home and are purchasing a home to grow into. While we don’t plan to have more children (we have a son already), we do plan to add 2 dogs to the household. My issue was less about the number of bedrooms and more about the size of the communal spaces. I wanted room to breathe and lots of space for entertaining. We LOVE having people over and do it several times a month, so having lots of entertaining space is important to us. We also wanted lots of yard because we want to have a big garden and raise chickens and have space for the dogs to run. So we based the house size and land size specifications on our priorities and lifestyle, and then looked at what we would need to spend in order to obtain those specs in the area where we wanted to be. That helped us hone our budget range and focus our search.
Post # 11
We went with a 4bdrm, 2000 sq ft+ house as we were advised these are the easiest to resell. In your case I might get a house in really good shape so there is not much maintenance, not too it takes too long to clean, but not so small you feel cramped.
Post # 12
We went with a 4 br, 3.5 bath, 2700 sq. ft home and I think it is just right. We know we want kids eventually so we bought a home we could grow into. We have enough space and are in a good school district that we will never feel forced to move. We’ll only move in the future if we WANT to as there will be no NEED to.
Post # 13
I said we bought just the right amount, but I think I misunderstood the question. I wish we could have bought a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath home, but we could only afford 2 bedroom 1 baths. Anything bigger than that would be unnecessary and too much hassle to clean and pay the taxes on.
Post # 14
I voted other. We bought our home before even being engaged, and it’s just the two of us. We’re 2550 sqft, 3 bed, 2.5, plus bonus room and office. We bought it with the inention that we’d be here for a while even with adding kids. We’ve been in this house 5 years and I can see us having maybe 1 kid here. While we have a lot of space (our upstairs is never used unless we have guests) I would definitely reconfigure it. We do love our house, but are looking foward to building in the next few years. Technically it’s too much space for the two of us, but at the time we’d moved a few times already and I was adamament I didn’t want to move for quite a while.
Our master is downstairs and smaller than I’d like, while one of our guest rooms upstairs is so huge it could easily be two bedrooms (the previous owners had two kids in there) with another bedroom across the hall. So the bedroom we “live” in is smaller while the one that hardly gets used is gigantic. We don’t use that one for us, because it shares a bath with the other guest room.
I think that with a different configureation/layout it would be enough space for us and 1 kid. It’s really important to me to have a dedicated guest room, and so with 2 kids this house wouldn’t work.
My office is downstairs, but an interior room, and in order to use it to meet clients when working from home I would prefer it to be off the entryway.
Post # 15
I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about getting a starter house with plans to upgrade in a few years, so we decided to wait. We’re still a few years away from kids and our apartment is in a great area close to both of our jobs.
While it would be nice to have a house, without kids in the near future it seemed like a lot of costs and maintenance for space we don’t necessarily need yet. For us, I think the right decision is to wait a couple of years and save up enough for something a little bigger and a little nicer that we can grow into.
Post # 16
We haven’t bought a house yet, but spend lots of time talking about it. I would consider the other factors, not just space, that are improtant to you. Like we want nice outdoor space, lots of windows, skylights if possible, a larger master bath, open family room/dining/kitchen space. We’re also big on location. We want to be near mass transit, near biking trails, and in a location with mature trees. Since you have so much flexibility, I’d say look at these other factors to help narrow down your list and then see what you need minimally in terms of space and work from there.