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It’s interesting how some people will practically bankrupt themselves to get into a mansion-like home while others are perfectly content living in a modest abode. It probably would be nice to upgrade the square footage in any living arrangement, yet many people who can afford to do so don’t. So are there just as many advantages to living in a little house as a big one? Does it come down to more than just mortgage rates?

Advantages of a Big House

Sure a bigger house gives off a swankier vibe–there’s more room for things like nice furniture and cocktail parties. That’s not the mindset of every homeowner with a larger residence, though. There are plenty of other and more practical reasons to go big:

Space: One of the great things about living in a big house is being able to accommodate a growing family. For example, young couples that start off in a small one bedroom will eventually have to move on to something bigger if they have kids. Depending on the housing market at that time, the task may not be easy.

Worth: Owning a home is really an investment that you basically live in. If you decided to purchase a larger, more expensive home, you would also own a larger investment. The bigger the home in comparison to the rest of the neighborhood, the more money you’ll receive if you sell (presumably anyway).

Organization: With a larger floor plan comes more room for stuff. While this can work against you if you’re the hoarder type, in general, clutter is less of an issue when you can spread it out. You won’t feel as cramped and there will be a proper place for every item in your home.

Advantages of a Little House

Mortgage: This is a big advantage. Smaller homes are less expensive, which means you are going to put less of your income toward housing costs. When finances get tight, it’s less likely the possibility of losing your home will be an issue.

Utilities: When your home is smaller, it costs a lot less to keep it running. Consider all of the additional rooms that will need heating and/or air conditioning, not to mention the zillions of extra light bulbs.

Cleaning: Anyone who actually enjoys cleaning is both rare and insane. Cleaning is one of the most exhausting, time-consuming and just plain unenjoyable activities associated with maintaining a home. A decrease in the overall area of your house dramatically reduces the amount of time you have to spend cleaning it, or the amount of money you pay someone else to do it.

When choosing whether you want to live in a big or little house, it really comes down to cost and convenience. A sprawling living arrangement will no doubt be more expensive, though you may find the extra space is worth it. On the other hand, a “cozier” home is also much easier to take care of. Deciding what’s more important to you will determine which one makes most sense for you and your family.

13 Comments

  1. Other than the kitties, who roam indoors, we just don’t USE a lot of our big rooms. The entire mother-in-law wing of the house (guest bedroom suite, Great Room) just stays empty. And our palatial (100sq ft– same size as our first apartment) bathroom is kind of silly… we almost never use the enormous hot-tub. There’s no reason for a separate water closet… how much time do people spend in their bathrooms anyway?

    Generally we just leave the unused rooms to dust and cat fur until someone comes to visit.

    If we had to do it again, probably I would push harder for our second choice home which was smaller, had a kitchen I liked better, and was right next to the best school in town. Then we’d screen in that patio.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Third Stage of personal finance- Boring =-.

    • @Nicole – I think that’s something people don’t think about; what to do will all the rooms! My husband and I have recently started looking at another rental home and though we like the idea of 3 bedrooms, we’d rather have a better laid out floor plan with 2 bedrooms than a horribly laid out floor plan with 3 (which is what we are finding, unfortunately!) We always talk about the “guest” room, but we really don’t host that many guests throughout the year…making all the rooms sort of silly.

  2. Although I agree with you about cleaning I have many good friends who just love to clean. It amazes me but I wish I was more like them. A smaller house is not always less to clean because as you mentioned things may be more crowded therefore more cluttered. Knowing yourself and lifestyle is the most important thing. Do you have overnight company often? Need an extra room for the sewing or office? Have to get away from the t.v. the spouse always has on? I used to think the bigger the better when the kids were growing up. The upstairs was called the dorm. Now cozy has much more appeal.
    .-= Carol@inthetrenches´s last blog ..Part time job =-.

  3. haha! I have a small house 1170sq ft. However, because of my 16 year old son, tech nerd…our electricity bill is never low. 😉

    I would like a big house. Agreed, I would probably hire a cleaning person to help out once every two weeks. In fact, I would like one now! I am just so busy that house work is now lower priority. Not that my house is messy, but it would be nice to have a bit extra help.
    .-= Christine | Money Funk´s last blog ..Financial Check Up List =-.

  4. I laughed out loud when I read your cleaning comment. My girlfriend bought a gorgeous house, and although I’m happy that she bought what she wanted, the first thing I thought of was …wow that’s a lot of toilets to scrub (she had 4).

    I certainly would go bigger if it were for the same price, but bigger usually means more expensive, so at this point in my life, it’s not worth the extra cost/month.

    If I ever moved to a lower COL area, then I’d probably buy a bigger house for the same price.

  5. @Carol@inthetrenches
    You brought up some good points; it depends on one’s lifestyle. Obviously if a person is always hosting family events or parties, then a larger house might be a necessity. But, a lot of people in larger homes don’t use all of the space. For instance, I know a few people who have “formal” dining and living rooms and they sit empty most of the year!

    @Money Funk – I’m very thankful that my husband is a clean-freak. It’s definitely something that is one the bottom of my priorities (except the bathroom’s of course)!

    @Sandy L – I would not like the idea of cleaning 4 toilets, that’s for sure! And you’re right, a larger house usually is more expensive in the end (if not for the mortgage alone!)

  6. @Everyday Tips
    I would think that 2,700 sq ft is on the bigger side which would back up the fact that you’re not using all of the space in your house. I prefer smaller, but with a great floor plan. Recently we’ve been looking at rental homes and we’d prefer fewer bedrooms than three dinky bedrooms (which is what we are finding!)

  7. Barb Friedberg Reply

    I believe in having a house that fits your priorities, values, and family. In today’s world unfortunately, many have become enamored with bigger is better. I lean towards smaller & utilitarian!

  8. @Young and Thrifty – Remember that you don’t have to settle for anything! Have you researched the prospect of buying a piece of land and building something more similar to what you want? I’m constantly flip-flopping on buying or waiting. I think right now I’m going to wait (of course, I’m not really ready so this factors in.)

  9. A smaller house can be easier on the environment because of the smaller amount of resources to build, maintain, heat and cool it.

    Also it can have a big impact on lifestyle. A family in a smaller house has to spend more time together. There is less space to get away from each other (which can be good or bad). Having a smaller mortgage means more money left over for other interests/priorities. For me, having a smaller house (and lower maintenance costs, less utilities, less mortgage, taxes and insurance) allows me to travel more often (my priority). My sister lives in a big house, but it fits her priority of entertaining often.

  10. Sue Loffhagen Reply

    It really does depend on everyone’s personal circumstances doesn’t it? My partner and I are in our 60 s. We have never lived together and both have our own homes. We are moving in together and our priorities have changed. We need room and rooms. A studio for me to create huge art works, a media room where he can have the his chosen to his volume whilst I can still hear music,a room for friends to visit and not have to balance on arms of chairs, a ” snoring room, when the after rugby breathing is just too much, space for both of our children and grand children to visit and stay, large easy care lawns(, gown trees, but no actual gardens) room and decent shut away storage ! Yes we very well may need help with vacuuming, windows. But after living independently for 20 years putting us into a small home would not be setting us up for success. Eventually we would need to downsize but by then our needs may well have changed. Each stage of lives have different needs.

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