Just like your clothes, your housing needs change as you grow. But while clothes are easily bought and discarded, a house isn’t. Buying a home is one of the most significant investments you can make in your life. This is why choosing the right one is crucial, especially if you’re buying or building a home not just for yourself but for your family.
The Ever-growing American Home
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 903,000 single-family homes completed in 2019, while a further 124,000 were started by building contractors. The median size of these homes was 2,301 square feet. Ten years before, the median size of completed single-family homes was 2,135 sq. ft. And in 1999, it was 2,028 sq. ft. This shows that every ten years, the median size of an American home increases by no less than 100 sq. ft. This is about the size of a cozy bedroom.
However, this increase in home size doesn’t reflect the growth of American families. Since 1850, the size of the average U.S. household has been steadily decreasing. According to the Pew Research Center, there were 2.63 people per household in the U.S. back in 2018.
Large homes represent safety, especially in times as uncertain as now. But while these homes may look impressive and give you a sense of security, bigger is not always better. This is especially true if you’re building or purchasing a starter home.
So how do you know what size is right for your family?
1. Assess your current living condition
Take a serious look at the place you’re living in right now and take note of what you like and don’t like about it. Does it have a big yard? If you’re building a family and you’re also working, you might not want a high-maintenance outdoor space in your next place. Is the size of your home office just right, or will a bigger one be better? How about the number of bedrooms? These things can help you decide what you’ll need for your next home.
2. Look at your finances
You may want a big house because you’re planning for a big family, but can your finances handle it right now? According to the Census Bureau, the average sales price of a single-family home in 2019 was $321,500, almost five times the national median household income of $59,039. Experts do not recommend spending more than five times your household’s income on the house. Remember, a huge home doesn’t merely incur mortgage costs. You also have to consider the cost of running it, including utilities, furnishings, and upkeep.
3. Consider your future needs
Are you planning for a brood of kids? How about keeping your aging parents? While plans don’t always pan out the way you want them to, it’s better to have one and then adjust later on than throw your money into a home that might not fit your lifestyle five or ten years down the line.
Buying a home is no joke, and the size of it is one of the most important considerations. Hopefully, the tips and insights above can help you choose the perfect home for you and your family.