By Jane Lucas
Is it time to move to a bigger home, or are you better off staying where you are? Upsizing could give you more space for sleeping, entertaining and storing possessions. However, it could involve added costs and added stress. Below are a few questions to ask yourself to help determine whether upsizing or staying put is the best option for you.
The first thing to consider is the cost. A bigger home is likely to come with big upfront costs and bigger running expenses.
If you’re buying, you’ll need to put down a large down payment. The smaller your down payment, the larger your monthly mortgage payments will be. Make sure you spend time shopping around for a housing loan. If you’re looking to buy a really big home, you may want to consider looking into mortgage companies that specialize in large properties.
A bigger home is also likely to come with bigger energy costs. More space also means more maintenance including the increased possibilities for repairs. However, buying (or renting) a new build could possibly solve these two issues.
If you’re looking for a larger home on a similar budget to your current home, you may have to make some sacrifices. This could include moving to a less desirable area, buying a home that needs a lot of work, or settling for more basic features. If you’re not prepared to do this - or you still can’t find any properties within your budget after considering sacrifices - then you may have no choice but to stay put for a while. This could allow you to save up some money to move when it's a better situation.
A growing family is a good reason to upsize. The more people living in your home, the more bedrooms you will need. If you’re expecting a child and you’ve only got one bedroom, moving to a two bedroom property could be a necessity. If you decide to have more than one child, consider whether each child will eventually need their own room (kids are less likely to want to share once they reach their teenage years). If an elderly parent can no longer look after themselves, you may also have to consider whether a bigger home is necessary to care for them.
If your family is growing, a bigger home could have other advantages beyond extra bedroom space. Having two bathrooms could prevent queues for the bathroom. A larger living room could offer more space for everyone to relax in the evening. And you could also need space for the growing amount of stuff that each family member needs (which is discussed in the next section).
Extra space could also be useful if you want to get pets. This is particularly the case if you want to get dogs and don’t have a yard, or only have a small yard.
You may want to think twice about upsizing if your household is likely to shrink in the near future. For instance, if your kids are getting older, they may be starting to think about moving out. Those extra bedrooms could still be useful for when your kids or other guests come to stay, but they’re likely to be lying empty for most of the year. This is likely to only amplify the sense of empty nest syndrome (which is why many people downsize in their later years).
Upsizing could provide you with more space for storing your possessions. This could be useful if you’re already running out of space to put essentials. It could even provide you extra space to dedicate to hobbies (such as an extra room to store a library of books or a room to put exercise gear which could serve as a gym), or possibly space to use as a home office.
Just make sure that you’re not simply enabling a hoarding habit. If your home is overflowing with stuff, you should consider how much of it is necessary and how much is simply clutter. Taking the time to declutter could free up a lot of space and may reduce the need to upsize.
If you’re a homeowner, you may have the option to make your current home bigger by building an extension or converting an unused room (such as a loft or a garage). This could work out a lot cheaper than upsizing. It could also be a lot less hassle than having to move.
Renovating is unlikely to be an option if you’re renting. A landlord may allow you to renovate if you’ve lived in the property a while and have been a good tenant - otherwise it is unlikely you will be able to get permission.
If you own your property, there may still be various restrictions to get around. When extending your home, you will likely need to apply for planning approval. Cities in particular are likely to have stringent building codes. Make sure that you’ve done your research and got the necessary permission so that your project isn’t forced to be pulled down. Conversions are unlikely to require approval, but an extension may.
Upsizing to a larger home means going through the hassle of moving. You have to be prepared to pack and unpack all your stuff and you need to be prepared to carry out all the paperwork involved with moving. You’ll then need to notify everyone of your address change and potentially get used to living in a new neighborhood.
It’s possible that you may be ready for such a big event. In fact, you may be eager for change and in need of a challenge. Alternatively, you may already be going through a stressful time in your life. Work out exactly how you’re feeling right now and whether you can cope with the hassle of moving.
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