There’s been a movement the past couple of years to move to a smaller home in order to save money. It’s understandable with the economy the way it is and all. Still, many people look to the time when they can get a bigger home. Sometimes you just need more space. Some just want the bigger place. I still see homes being torn down and re-built into much larger houses. Thing is, when you buy a bigger house you aren’t just paying a bigger mortgage. With a bigger house comes some other expenses and costs that increase.
Some Ways You Will Pay More With a Bigger House:
1) Taxes - More land and a bigger house will usually equate to more taxes that you will be paying. On top of your mortgage. And consider the fact that many find their new and bigger house in a different neighborhood (you know, one with bigger houses) so the tax base will be higher right off the bat. I live in New York and taxes can easily exceed $10,000 a year, if not much more depending on where you live.
2) Landscaping – Most bigger houses come with more land. this means more to take care of as far as landscaping. Now you can take care of your landscape yourself but you still have to buy supplies and equipment (if you don’t already have) to cut costs from hiring someone to take care of it for you. Even so, you may find yourself upgrading to a high-end mower before long if you lawn is spacious. Things like seed, fertilizer, plants, and such all add up. And if you hire someone, the bigger your landscape, the more you are going to have to pay. And again, the base of what you pay may be higher if you are moving to a more expensive neighborhood. You don’t want to be the one with the nice house but the bad lawn.
3) Utilities – Unless you are moving to a super energy-efficient house you will probably be paying more for utilities in a bigger house. More square footage means more space to fill up with air conditioning and heat. More bathroom mean using more water. A style I’ve seen a lot in the past years is to have these high ceilings that go up two floors. They look wonderful! But they also mean a lot of space to fill up with air and heat. A LOT of space. Oh, let’s not forget the bigger lawns that require more water as well.
4) Furniture – When you have more rooms you are going to want to furnish them. The furniture you have from your previous house may no longer be adequate in the new house. Furniture tends to be expensive (and what you buy cheap tends to be…cheap). For us, having a basement means a whole room that needs new furnishing. Or rather we update what’s on the main floor and move the old stuff to the basement.
5) Entertainment – Now that you have these nice size rooms, basements, dens, etc… you may find yourself upgrading your entertainment systems. Flat screens, sound systems, gaming systems…they all cost money.
6) Decorating – Moving in you may want to re-paint. More house means it will be more expensive to paint. You’ll probably have more windows as well for which you’ll need window dressings.
7) Stuff in General – It’s a cosmic law – the more room you have to store stuff the more stuff you tend to accumulate. You find ways to fill up empty space. More stuff creeps into the house and stuff costs money.
8 ) Upkeep - A bigger house is going to cost you more in general upkeep. Roofs don’t last forever. Gutters need to be cleaned. Air and heating systems need maintenance and will need repairs. Floors will be re-sanded. Decks need re-finishing. You get the point. With a bigger house it means all the things you need to do for the house will probably cost you more.
9) Insurance – Home insurance is going to be more expensive for a bigger place. An insurance company needs to figure our the cost of replacing your home should disaster hit as well as replacement costs for the contents of your home. More square footage means more money.
I’m not knocking moving to a bigger house. We bought a house because we needed more space with three kids running around. You just need to understand that covering your mortgage isn’t enough when you are calculating how much house you can afford. All sorts of expenses creep up besides what I’ve listed and you need to be prepared for them. Make sure you have emergency funds set aside for the surprises that creep up. Figure in an increase in your general maintenance when moving to a bigger place. Knowing what expenses to expect now will help you prepare and save you from trying financial times later on.