So I feel like this topic may be kind of random, but hey, I’m here to give you the info that you didn’t know you needed. But this has just been something on my mind lately after being in our (new) house for almost a year. I know a lot of people are moving right now (or at least trying to find a new house), so thought I’d share some thoughts on what to consider when looking/buying when going from a smaller home into a larger one!
Not always, but a lot of times when people move, they are upgrading in some way. Over the years your finances have changed (usually the older we are, the more money we are making so we can afford more), or you’ve started a family and you need more space, etc. I’ll first say that just because you are approved for a certain amount doesn’t mean that you need to buy a house up to amount (in my opinion). I don’t think that we need to live in fear, but I think it’s important to be smart and realize that your finances can change whether it’s your job, income, a child (or another child), and just other unexpected expenses that can come up. It’s much more important to be financial secure as a whole and live below your means than to potentially over extend yourself. So just something to think about when you’re upgrading your living situation!
That being said, when you’re looking at a new place, the rent or mortgage is usually the first thing we look at. As a rule of thumb, your rent/mortgage shouldn’t exceed 30% of your income. I know that this is more difficult in bigger and more expensive cities like NY/LA/San Francisco, etc. but it’s still a good thing to keep in mind. And again, just because you can go up to 30% doesn’t mean that you need to or should. I say that because now that we are in a larger house, there are other expenses besides just the mortgage that are important to take into account that we didn’t have to think of at our old house.
In general, I feel like it comes down to two main areas: utilities and the overall maintenance. For example, our old house was just over 1500 sq. feet and this house is right around 4000 sq feet, so obviously it takes a lot more to heat and cool this house than it did our previous one. We also have two HVACs at the new house because of the size, where as the old house just needed one. The average cost to replace an HVAC is $7500. You see where this is going lol. There’s also the yard/landscaping that is required. If you are on a bigger piece of land, can you mow the lawn and maintain the additional landscaping yourself, or do you need to hire someone? And aside from monthly maintenance, landscaping in general is expensive. I mean, you could spend $25K trying to landscape your yard to begin with lol.
The other thing to think about is furniture and remodeling. Let’s start with the furnishing side of things. When you are in a larger space, it costs a lot more to completely furnish it. This one is a little easier to manage because you don’t have to (nor should you IMO), furnish your house all at once. It’s not like your utilities which have to be paid every month regardless. But, it is still something to think about! Furniture isn’t cheap and when you need a lot of it to fill up rooms, that is a bit of investment. The other thing to think about is potential remodeling costs (if you have projects you’re considering). For example, if you’re refinishing your floors and your new house is 2x as large, then it’s going to cost 2x as much. Same goes for your kitchen. If you want to remodel your kitchen and you need 2x the amount of granite for your countertops, etc. Even things like painting when you first move in. In both our houses, the entire house needed to be repainted and our new house was almost 4x the cost to repaint. And TBH, that wasn’t something I thought about ahead of time. It wasn’t a big deal but when I got quotes on how much the paint and labor would cost for this house, it was like, oh sh*t. Okay, well I guess that makes sense since we have over 3x the amount of space to paint LOL.
So anyway! These are just a few things that we thought about prior to moving and have learned along the way so figured I would share. Let me know if these kind of blogs are interesting/helpful!