A lot of people these days are downsizing their homes. This is because a large number of Baby Boomers are retiring, their kids are all moved out, and they don’t want the hassle of upkeep on a large home.
However, what if you are a young couple adding a child, or two, to your family, and your current home is simply not big enough. Or, you are adding a home office (very popular these days) or want a home gym.
Here are six common mistakes to avoid when thinking of buying a larger home.
Mistake No. 1: Rushing to buy a bigger home
You can’t stop fantasizing about bigger spaces, but take a break for a reality check. You don’t want to ditch your current dwelling without understanding the market and thinking things through.
Although the frenzy of the current real estate market creates motivation to move as quickly as possible, it is important to be diligent and thoughtful in your decision process. Make sure you understand the market, comparable sales, and value of the house you may bid on. Your local Realtor can assist with an analysis of sold properties and competing inventory.
And in the rush, don’t get suckered into paying for any conveniences you don’t need, such as expediting certain services. A lot of times, when you want service to your old home or upsized home, you are paying more for speed. Instead, allow yourself time to get those things done.
Mistake No. 2: Miscalculating your space needs
It’s important to be realistic about how much space you actually need. Assess your space in your current home, and what’s missing or necessary to improve upon it. It may turn out that the floor plan or your furniture layout is the problem, and not a lack of space. By the same token, make sure that space in a new home is laid out for maximum usability.
And once you move into that bigger space, live in it for a while, without buying extra furniture, to assess what pieces you really need. Furniture needs space to be used effectively, so you can move between pieces without squeezing through.
Also, plan your home for everyday use, not for special occasions. People have a habit of buying too many chairs and larger-than-needed sofas for company. But you can always use foldable chairs for that.
Mistake No. 3: Ignoring long-term factors
When making any major purchase, try to picture how your life might change in coming years. Buying a new home that won’t potentially fit your needs in the future will only lead to another purchase and move that could be avoided with proper forward thinking.
Make sure to have a realistic projection of how long you plan to stay in the new home, how your family’s needs might change in that time, and whether the home would continue to meet your requirements.
Another thing homeowners often forget is that upsizing brings extra costs that can snowball over time — bigger homes cost more to maintain.
Mistake No. 4: Disregarding financing
Make sure to do your homework on financing, and don’t go in blind when trying to buy a bigger (read: more expensive) home. Without accurate information regarding what you are qualified for, you’ll be wasting time.
This is why it is critical that you find a mortgage expert to help guide you through this process. Again, rely on your local trusted REALTOR® to introduce you to a local lender that will help you every step of the way.
Bigger homes mean larger property taxes, larger mortgage, and larger homeowner insurance. Only upsize your home if you have the budget, realistically, for it.
Mistake No. 5: Neglecting your current home
Don’t let maintenance of your current home fall by the wayside in your rush to upsize.
Keeping up the maintenance of your home, and if something breaks, to fix it before you move out.
In order to capture your current home’s peak value, you want to keep it in top condition. Investing in routine and proactive maintenance of your current property is necessary to provide more value to you when it’s time to sell.
Mistake No. 6: Spending too much on items for the new home
Upsizing to a new home doesn’t give you carte blanche to go crazy and overspend.
People have an initial “hotel” experience with their new home, where they leave all their lights on, and just really change their living at home habits and become more wasteful.
Hold off on buying all new stuff. Instead, replace items when they break or are no longer usable.
The bottom line is smart about all of this, take your time, and work with your local trusted Realtor and rely on him/her to guide you through this very exciting and important process.
Next week: 2022 Spring CAR Meetings
Bob Walsmsith Jr. is the 2022 president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors (SBAOR). He is a California licensed real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties here in Santa Barbara. He has served on and chaired several committees within the SBAOR, and served on its board of directors for the past five years. Bob can be reached at 805.720.5362 and firstname.lastname@example.org.