If you are in the house market right now chances are you’ve walked through your fair share of mid-70s ranch houses that haven’t been updated since MacGyver was a Friday night action drama or a McMansion that smacks of unsophisticated , HGTV-inspired, design, complete with stick-on tiles, stipple brush paint techniques, and faux fireplaces. Even though these type of homes have become more affordable in the last 5-7 years, should you consider buying one? Do you really want to live in a home that is over 2,000 square feet?
Historically, Americans have raised families and lived happily in smaller homes. In 1950, the average home size was 983 sq.ft. That number had ballooned though by 2004, at the height of the real estate boom. The average size home had become 2,340 sq.ft. For just 50 years, that is a huge jump, especially considering the size of families had decreased! And while the average size of homes continue to grow according to the US Census Bureau, the size of the average home being sold are presumably smaller, what with the trends of rehab houses, tiny houses, and ADUs.
Should you consider buying a small home yourself though? It is a sound investment and, if so, is it in finances, quality of life, or a combination of the two?
SMALL HOMES COST LESS. Can you imagine the cost to heat and cool a 3,000 sq.ft. home? A number of home buyers forget the monthly maintenance when they are shopping around. They also tend to forget about home renos such as paint, roof repairs, plumbing, etc. That isn’t even to mention the cost of living in regards to regular expenses: air filters, toilet paper, bathroom cleaner, Windex, kitchen spray, etc. It all adds up. Small homes actually reduce expenses though because of their size. They have smaller rooms to heat and cool, less overall square footage to maintain, and lower property taxes.
SMALL HOMES SAVE TIME. If your house is 2,500 sq.ft. cleaning is an investment of time. That size home typically has several different floor surfaces, multiple bathrooms, a larger yard, etc. Unless you can afford to hire a maid service and a landscaping crew, the time your house commands is daunting. A smaller house though usually sits on a smaller lot and requires less time to clean and maintain. That time saved can be invested in family activity, personal hobbies, or anything you prefer.
SMALL HOMES ESTABLISH PRIORITIES. When you have a walk-in closet, an attic, a bonus room, and several hall closets, the ability to hoard or keep non-essential items, is much greater. Take those spaces away though and you are less likely to keep that Black Crowes t-shirt from their 1991 U.S. Tour, that hasn’t seen the light of day since your companies last “90s Grunge” theme day.
SMALL HOMES ALLOW FOR LARGER INVESTMENTS. Your kitchen countertop has seen better days. Best you can tell it is a shade of pale yellow (or is that a shade of burn faded vanilla?) and has two layers of formica on it. It needs replacing and you knew that when you purchased the home. Luckily for you you only have about seven total feet of countertop space in your kitchen. You aren’t running a restaurant so you don’t need excess space. Because your target area is smaller, you can purchase quality over quantity and come away with a countertop that speaks to you yet doesn’t say “you are broke!”
SMALL HOMES ARE EASIER TO SELL. Pure speculation on this one but as the cost of living continues to rise it may be easier to sell a small, cost-efficient home in the next ten years than one that requires 2-3 central heat/air units, has 63 electrical outlets, and boasts 5 flushing commodes.
Small homes are a sound investment. They are the perfect balance of a cute, tiny house on wheels and a McMansion. They blend functionality with style and wreak of coziness and inexpensive comfort. They allow you to live closer with your family and save money all the while.
Are you living in a smaller home? What benefits have you seen? Let us know in the comments section below.