Purchasing your first home is one of the most meaningful steps into taking ownership of your life and starting a family. But as you get older, the idea of buying bigger might become more of a necessity, especially as your family grows.
If you find yourself dreaming of wide-open spaces, you aren’t alone: 43-percent of homeowners want to move into a larger home according to a Trulia survey. But when it comes to putting the pen to paper, it can be hard to find the right time to sell your home and upgrade.
So how can you prepare for your home upgrade? Here are seven things to consider before you throw your house on the market and start shopping.
When to Think About Buying Bigger
A great starter home can quickly fill up with furniture and other household items, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is time to move. Once you experience big life changes like having children or adopting pets, then it might be time to consider the need for additional space.
You can always rent a storage unit or minimize home furnishings, but it is hard to turn a two-bedroom home into a comfortable space for three or four people to share.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
A bigger house may seem like the solution to all of your family’s growing pains, but have you considered what kind of space you need and why? Before you start hunting for a new home, think about what exactly you need out of a larger space.
Create a list of your goals to help you find the home that will work best for you for the long term. Remember, layout is just as important as square footage and bigger is not universally better.
Sell Before You Buy
Unless you are prepared to carry two mortgages at once, you should consider selling your home before buying a new one. The profit you make from selling your current home should put a sizeable dent in the upfront costs of your new home, including closing costs, down payment and moving fees. Otherwise, you may be in for a tight couple of months or more if your home does not sell immediately.
Finding the Right Price Range
You don’t have to borrow the highest amount the bank will loan you. These days most people don’t live in their houses for the full 30 years of their mortgage; if you borrow less, it will take less time to pay off your loans. Avoid the depressing reality of paying off your house for your entire life by targeting homes that offer the amount of space you need, not the amount of space you can afford.
Do you want to take family vacations or save for your children’s college? When you spend less on your mortgage payment, you also afford more down the road. Not maxing out your home loan, means that you will have more flexibility for other forms of spending in the future.
Moving to a New Neighborhood
One of the biggest selling points of large homes is the neighborhood. Larger homes generally mean you will be living around like-minded families with similar priorities in terms of safety and overall quality of life. But with these perceived benefits, also comes higher expectations of upkeep and often moving away from cities and into the suburbs. As you shop for a new home think about changes to your daily commute, access to grocery stores and other amenities that will impact your day-to-day schedule and future property value.
Consider Your Mortgage and Resale Value
Upsizing now might mean a larger mortgage payment, but if you plan ahead then it can mean making a considerable amount of money in the future. Once your children move out, you may want to downsize, so consider the location and potential resale value 20 years down the line when you are looking at larger homes today.
Crunch the Numbers on Hidden Costs
Remember that upgrading to a larger home is more than a larger mortgage. Hidden costs include more spent on utilities, upkeep and property taxes, as well as needing to furnish more rooms.
Painting and other DIY projects become much larger undertakings, so if you’re looking at a fixer-upper, consider that larger homes require more time and money on the front end.
Family growth means not only a bigger house but likely an upgrade in other areas as well. You may be looking at buying an SUV fit for a family, so make sure to budget for that in the future.
Ultimately, there’s plenty to consider when you’re thinking about buying bigger, but our experts can help you find the perfect home upgrade. Contact us today for all your Dallas-Fort Worth real estate needs.