That two-bedroom home near the heart of the city was perfect when you and your partner first bought it. But ever since you started a family, that once quaint home feels crowded. It’s time to upsize to a larger residence. This is a big move with plenty of factors you need to consider before you make an offer on a sprawling home in the middle of the suburbs.
Are you financially ready for the extra expense that comes with a larger home? And what are you willing to sacrifice to get that extra square footage? If you want that new home purchase to be the right one, you need to consider some key questions.
1. Can you afford it?
Bigger homes come with bigger price tags. But the sales price isn’t the only inflated cost you’ll face when upsizing.
Bigger houses come with bigger property tax bills. You’ll also have to spend more in homeowners’ insurance to protect that home. Then there are the utility bills. A larger home costs more to heat and cool than a smaller one. If your big home comes with a sprawling front and backyard, will you mow the grass yourself or pay for a landscaping crew?
Before making an offer on an upsized home, consider all the extra costs that come with it. Study your existing household budget and determine if the actual costs of a bigger home fit in. (See also: 7 Added Costs That Come With a Bigger House)
2. How much space do you really need?
You might just need an extra bedroom or two, but not a three-car garage or an added office space. If you’d never use that extra room or space, it’d just be a waste of money.
When looking at homes for sale, consider the way your family lives. If you don’t do much cooking, you probably don’t need a huge, state-of-the-art kitchen. If no one works from home, you likely don’t need a home office. You can save money by buying a home that only includes the space your family needs, or will need as you add children. If your family is growing, having extra bedrooms is key. If you have young children, extra outdoor space is another plus. (See also: 5 Best Neighborhood Features for New Families)
3. What are you willing to give up?
You might love living in or near the city, but finding larger homes in an urban neighborhood can be difficult. And when you do find a bigger home in the city, it’s likely to come with a sky-high price tag. You might have to move to a new neighborhood in a more suburban area if you want to find a bigger home that fits your budget.
Are you willing to make that trade-off? Moving farther from the city could mean a longer daily commute to work. It might also mean you spend more time in the car to get to your favorite restaurants and shopping centers.
Extra space often comes with trade-offs. You might gain extra bedrooms, a luxurious bathroom suite, and a bigger backyard, but you might lose the convenience and excitement of living in a big city. Be sure to consider those compromises before you move. (See also: How to Research a Home’s Location Before You Buy)
4. What happens when it’s time to sell?
You may plan on living in your bigger house forever, but plans change. Your family might continue to grow. Your employer might transfer you to a new city. You might want to downsize as you age and your children move out. When it’s time to sell, will your bigger home be attractive to potential buyers?
You always need to keep resale value in mind when shopping for a new home. Yes, you want a home that’s big enough for you and your family. And, yes, you want one that you will enjoy. But if you buy a house with features that might turn away a high percentage of potential buyers — maybe it boasts a large theater designed exclusively for cinephiles or an extravagant indoor pool that costs money to maintain and clean — you’ll struggle to sell it for the price you need to turn a profit.
5. How long will you need that extra space?
Your home might be cramped now, but is this a permanent or temporary condition? Say your oldest children are only a few years away from heading off to college. Could you live with the crowded conditions until they move out? That way, you won’t have to bother with shopping for a new home, applying for a mortgage, and hiring a mover only to find that your new, larger house feels empty once your older children are out of the home for good.
What if your home feels small because in-laws are living with you, or your adult children have moved back home? If both of these situations are temporary, you can again save plenty of stress and money by waiting them out.