“Living large” has always given the perception that we’ve made it. It’s just something we’ve grown accustomed to as an indicator of success or status. Having more space can give a sense of flexibility, we don’t feel limited and let’s face it,that’s the first impression anyone will have of us without meeting us — our home. Regardless of the reason, check out these underlying factors that go beyond the initial big cost before making the choice.
Living in big homes is often disadvantageous as they can cost more money and time spent in repair and regular cleaning. It also has larger cost implications in property tax and maintenance to ensure its resale value will remain high (which also isn’t certain as more people now cannot afford large homes). It also may ask us to relocate to a less desirable location to get that bigger space.
It’s not our fault entirely that the media and perception of all those around us have equally conditioned us to view big homes as a goal of status or symbol of success. People may also want the leisure of having more space because they can. Others may want the big home as a future investment or as the family casita that everyone comes home to. (1)
More space can definitely afford more breathing space and personal time for each household member. It also enables you to accommodate your loved ones. Should you have hobbies that occupy a lot of space like your golf clubs or fashion sewing dream studio, or just want a big proper home office, this definitely gives peace of mind there. Also, who doesn’t want that big yard that’s great for your kids and pets to play around in. (2)
What becomes a problem with big homes is when most spaces go unused, therefore wasted but still highly paid for in property tax, cooling/heating and maintenance.
Examples of “wasted space” enumerated by”Why do people buy big homes? 5 disadvantages of having a big house. Maximize Minimalism” are:
- Homes with both a family room and living room
- Having both an eat-in-kitchen and formal dining room
- Unused home gyms, offices and guest rooms
- Oversized rooms that either go unfurnished or contain furniture meant to just fill up space
The simplest solution would be finding common unused rooms then perhaps fusing them together to up its functionality as a space.
Can your home gym and office be combined? Can it have a sofa bed that will serve as your guest room should one arrive?
Can the family room double up as the guest room? Living room converted into an expanded dining room for big events?
Line up the events per year as rooms are used and needed. View each room and judge their functionality by frequency of use rather than dedicated use.
Want to make more efficient use of your space? Check out our piece on Hybrid Spaces. LINK to Hybrid Spaces
Unfortunately, the biggest expense in buying a large home isn’t the initial purchase and move in.
The ongoing maintenance is demanding on both time and money. Repairing a roof for 200 sqm is much pricier than that covering half a house of 100 sqm. Air-conditioning and heating ducts, plumbing pipes and electrical wiring span larger distances meaning they run longer and cost more. More rooms in a home also mean more potential problem areas like a possible leaky roof somewhere, a broken appliance or floor board, etc. (2)
Having that wide yard as a playground or for family picnics may be nice, but also cost a lot to trim the lawn, irrigate properly and just overall maintain! It may be less of a headache to bring your kids to the park. (2)
If you’re planning to maintain these all yourself, it’ll be eating up a lot of your time that could’ve been used to earn money or relax. Say you’ll hire someone to do the general cleaning and gardening, after a few square meters more they’ll eventually need some help themselves if you want the work done well.
They say a good rule of thumb is to save $1 per square foot as a maintenance fund. This needs to be taken seriously as the home ages, it won’t be as desirable and naturally, things will wear out the older they get.
Another cost to prepare for is that some districts impose a higher real estate tax for luxury properties. Assuming this isn’t the case in your area, naturally more square meters means a higher property tax.. (4)
Living large means spending large and the upkeep doesn’t stop as costs for energy, utility, furnishing, and renovation will all surely be higher.
Although your equity may do well, having a large home nowadays does not guarantee you a good resale value. It can actually decrease in value being harder to sell as the current trend is to scale down in minimalist living, flexible nomadic lifestyles or tiny homes. The other sad reality is that the upcoming generations cannot afford to buy as large a home, therefore it’s a significantly smaller pool of potential buyers. (3)
Just be sure that you are not compromising on location to get that bigger space. This is a tactic to get a bigger home in a less desirable location. You will end up spending more on the commute to get to places, good schools for the kids and security in safer communities. Be sure of these factors as you would need to stay long term to get good financial gain on your investment. (5)
If all still checks out with you in having a bigger home, make use of the online mortgage calculators to keep your finances in check.
Yes you may have hobbies that eat up a lot of space, but more often than not, an empty shelf, table or room just encourages more clutter. The elliptical bike may become a coat rack and the spare guest bedroom a storage room full of boxes.
Not to mention larger homes are more harmful to the environment. It surely would’ve cost more cement to make or furniture to fill, which has a great negative impact on air, water and land pollution.
One aspect we need to be very mindful of is how big homes can contribute or develop a depression. Money can buy safety and some happiness, but the unforeseen effects would come from having a depressing commute that stresses you out or not having as much time to spend with family from maintaining the home, earning to maintain or just being too big to encounter each other regularly. (4)
The opposite end of the spectrum is forcing our extrovert selves to the max as the expectations of a big home may loom. The one with the biggest house would by default be the venue for family gatherings, friend reunions and a place to stay for relatives, as we have the “space for it” (2)
Possibly linked to the vision for the “American dream”, this phenomenon of large homes is observable in many suburbs. An interesting study among big home owners showed that the happiness and satisfaction from buying the biggest home on the block is that it only lasts until someone buys a bigger home. Like all new toys, the allure of a large space fades and can in place grow lonely even after filling it up with all your favorite things.(6)
If you’re going to spend anyway, ensure the architecture of your home encourages family and friends to come together rather than grow apart. Design spaces for gathering and encountering each other in hallways or common spaces than having isolated rooms.(3)
A smaller home means less money and time spent on repairing and cleaning and more on what and who you love.
Circling back to cost, you’ll see from the photo above that larger homes also have overly large building elements to make the building look proportionate. Take for example a regular door will looked dwarfed to a big building so the door is exaggerated or enlarged to fit.
Adding onto the social aspect, a lot of pressure and stress (besides the financial stress) can play in a bigger home if one is farther away from other beloved people and activities.
There’s nothing wrong with having a big house so long as we are mindful of the spaces within and if we’re making good use of them.
- Why do people buy big homes? 5 disadvantages of having a big house. Maximize Minimalism. (2021, September 15). Retrieved March 2022, from https://maximizeminimalism.com/why-people-buy-big-homes-disadvantages-of-having-big-house/
- Greenfield, E. (2021, June 15). Pros and cons of moving to a big house. Moving Tips. Retrieved March 2022, from https://moving.tips/pre-move-tips/pros-and-cons-of-moving-to-a-big-house/
- Mueller, L. (2019, November 8). 6 reasons why buying a bigger house isn’t always a good idea. Moving.com. Retrieved March 2022, from https://www.moving.com/tips/6-reasons-why-buying-a-bigger-house-isnt-always-a-good-idea/
- Greenwald, M. (2019, January 29). 13 reasons you should be glad you don’t live in a huge house. Best Life. Retrieved March 2022, from https://bestlifeonline.com/cons-of-owning-a-big-house/
- Morris, G. (2021, December 21). Pros & Cons of home ownership: Homebuyer Education. InCharge Debt Solutions. Retrieved March 2022, from https://www.incharge.org/housing/homebuyer-education/homeownership-guide/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-owning-a-home/
- Breen, K. (2019, June 14). Living in a bigger House won’t make you happier – but this will. TODAY.com. Retrieved March 2022, from https://www.today.com/home/living-bigger-house-won-t-make-you-happier-will-t156360