Have you ever felt like the walls of your house are closing in on you? Like you can’t get a moment of privacy in your own home? Like you’re living in a storage unit rather than in a cozy dwelling?
If yes, you’ve probably “outgrown” your current residence and need to move to a bigger house. Maybe your family has expanded since the time you bought/rented the property, maybe you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff over the years of living there, or maybe your lifestyle has changed and you need much more space than you did before – whatever the reason you’re feeling claustrophobic in your present house or apartment, the solution remains the same – UPSIZE your home.
Things aren’t that simple, though – even if you want to move to a bigger house, you may not be sure that you’ll be able to do so without going broke or going insane. Because upsizing will cost you (and not just in terms of a higher monthly mortgage or rent) and will put your skills (financial, organizational, and psychological alike) to the test.
So, to be able to make the right choices and ensure a smooth relocation and a successful life in your bigger home, you have to be well informed and well prepared. Here is everything you need to know about upsizing a home:
Reasons to move to a bigger house
It’s only logical that if you’re dreaming of moving to a bigger house, then you need more space. The question is what you need extra space for:
- A growing family – New kids have always been the number one reason to move to a bigger place – everyone wants their children to have ample room to play and grow, after all. Besides, kids need their own rooms, their own privacy, etc. Your one-bedroom apartment may have worked fine for you and your partner, but when you have children, things are going to change – more people mean more stuff, more activity, more demand on bathroom space, etc. (not to mention less privacy and less personal space). So, if you have a couple of little ones or if you’re about to have a baby, you may want to consider moving to a bigger place;
- A lot of clutter – When you live in a small space, even a few excess items can create a big mess. Your studio apartment may have been large enough to accommodate your items when you first moved out of your parents’ home, but things are likely to be quite different several years down the road – you’ll slowly but surely accumulate a great number of household items and personal possessions and you may have troubles keeping your tiny flat neat and tidy. If most of these items have high practical, sentimental, aesthetic, or monetary value and you don’t want to part with any of them, you’ll have to find a bigger place to move to, so that you can keep your belongings and enjoy a more comfortable, more beautiful, and better functioning home;
- A change in your (life)style – Your starter home may have looked OK to your younger self, but your aesthetic taste may have evolved over time and you may find yourself wishing for a more elegant or more luxurious home. Or you may want to work from home (and need more space for a home office), or to have friends and relatives stay over (and need space for guest rooms), or to engage in some activity that requires more free space (exercises, art projects, etc.). As long as you can afford a bigger place, there’s no reason why you should not indulge yourself;
- A higher income – Just because you can afford a bigger home does not necessarily mean that you should buy one. What it means, however, is that you can be more selective and get exactly what you need and want, not live in tight quarters out of necessity.
Things to consider when moving to a bigger house
In order to make smart decisions about upsizing your home (and feel financially comfortable with these decisions), you must be well aware of the pros and cons of moving to a bigger house and consider all the relevant factors:
It’s no secret that bigger homes have higher monthly mortgages or rents than smaller ones. This, however, is not all you need think about when assessing your finances and calculating your housing expenses:
- The bills, property taxes, and maintenance costs (repair works, cleaning, etc.) will be higher too;
- The bigger place will require more furnishings than your smaller old home, so you’ll most probably need to buy new furniture, area rugs, curtains, lamps, home décor, etc.
- A bigger house will probably have a bigger yard, so you may need to purchase new, more suitable gardening equipment and tools, lawn furniture and garden decorations, etc.
You need to be sure that you’ll be able to cover all these costs without experiencing any financial difficulties before you make the decision to upsize.
Bigger houses are typically found in the suburbs or, at least, in areas that are further away from the city center. And even if you can find a big downtown home, it will come at an exuberant cost. Therefore, moving to a bigger house, usually means moving away from the city center. This may be a great advantage (less noise, less dangerous traffic, more green areas in the vicinity, etc.) or a great disadvantage (large distance from your workplace, your children’s school, or other key places you visit on a daily basis). So, when choosing a new bigger home for you and your family, you need to be very careful and make sure that it is located in a neighborhood or community that suits your lifestyle, preferences, and needs.
Good to know: Since downtown homes tend to be more expensive than real estates in other parts of the city, you may be able to get a bigger house in a more distant area for the same mortgage or rent you used to pay for your smaller downtown flat.
The bigger your home, the more time and effort it will take to keep it clean and in good repair – there will be more things to be fixed around the house, the large space will take longer to tidy up, the vast yard will require regular care, etc.
So, if you’re planning on upsizing, you need to be prepared for some extra “elbow grease” and less free time.
Even if you need/want a bigger house right now, this may not be the case in a few years – your grown up children may leave the family nest (so you won’t need the extra space anymore), your financial situation may change (and you may not be able to afford the big house), you may not be able to keep up with the maintenance work (and decide to downsize), etc. If you choose your spacious home well (so that it has the features most home buyers want), you’ll be able to make a profit out of it when the time comes to sell the house and move to a smaller place once again.
So, make sure you keep the latest buying trends in mind when looking for a bigger new home to call your own – the investment is certain to pay off in the long run.
Do you actually need the extra space
Last but not least, when asking yourself “Should I move to a bigger house?”, you have to consider your actual needs and make sure you really need the extra space:
- What are you going to use the larger space for? Do you need more storage space, more rooms, or just more spacious rooms? Whatever the case, make sure the entire space and all the features in the larger house will actually be used;
- Do you really need all the items you currently own? If you want a bigger house simply because your old one is bursting at the seams, maybe you should consider paring down your possessions first. If you purge your home of everything that has no particular value (outdated items, outgrown items, duplicate items, items you don’t really like, etc.), maybe you won’t need to move to a bigger house at all;
- Have you considered renovating your current home? Sometimes, a single renovation project may be enough to solve your “lack of space” problem;
- Do you use your available space efficiently? You can find creative ways to make your small place appear bigger and brighter, utilize the vertical space in the rooms, and increase the overall functionality of your home. Consider multi-purpose furniture, room dividers, light colors, abundant light and other similar tricks that will allow you to make the most out of your small space.
Needless to say, you also need to consider the actual square footage, layout, floor plan and available features of your potential new home before making your final decision.
How to upsize your house
Once you’ve taken the decision to move to a bigger house, you need to ensure a smooth and successful upsizing process:
- Make a list of the things you want in a bigger home;
- Assess your finances and be prepared for the heavier financial burden of upsizing;
- Visit several houses that meet your demands (size, location, price, extra features, etc.) to choose the best new home for you and your family;
- Prepare your old home for sale;
- Organize your move – research your moving options, decide on a moving date, find good movers, and book their professional services as early as possible;
- Complete the moving preparations in a timely and efficient manner – take care of the necessary paperwork, pack your belongings with utmost care, etc.;
- Organize a safe and successful Moving day;
- Turn your big house into your dream home and enjoy your spacious new life!