Pros and cons of buying a big house

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kadye
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Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by kadye »

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Last edited by kadye on Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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geerhardusvos
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by geerhardusvos »

kadye wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:30 am pros:
- handy when hosting large groups
- handy if family/friends stay for extended periods (assuming you like their stay)
- flexibility to grow in it

cons:
- tend to have higher house prices, taxes, interest, etc.,
- feeling of the need to fill potentially unused space
- high electric bill
- higher cleaning cost
- higher maintenance Q: Can you please elaborate on this (excluding heating/cooling and cleaning costs)? How high are we talking, say when you compare a 3,000 vs 6,000 sq ft house in similar conditions? Twice as much? less? more?
- anything else I am missing here?

Thanks!
The cost probably doesn’t go up exponentially, but with every additional bathroom, square footage of the roof, size of the yard, etc., there are significant costs with having a bigger house. Time is the most valuable asset, and that’s what gets sucked away on having a large estate unless you hire everything out (which costs money). We like nice houses and we like living where we want to live, but we don’t want to be tied down. So we rent for life. I no longer worry about spreading bark on the weekend, and it’s not my problem if the furnace goes out. Our AC broke the other day, and had it fixed within 48 hours and I didn’t pay a dime. If we ever buy a home again it would be a rambler no more than 1800 ft.²

If you want a big house and can afford it, go for it. But expect it to cost more than you think to maintain it if you want to keep it nice. Not to mention what you noted around additional taxes, Hoa, and transaction cost to sell it.

The advice I typically give on the forum is don’t spend more than 3X your annual salary on a house, and try to buy as little house as you can in the nicest area (Location is everything for a single-family home).

Edit: We currently live in a 3000 square-foot home and it’s so much space. We have kids, but not that much stuff, and we feel we only use a couple rooms upstairs and then the main living area downstairs. We plan to downsize our rent footprint, but we are in the location we want and this location only has massive houses. Quality of life is amazing. I can’t imagine having a 6000 square-foot home even if you have four or five kids and a ton of crap.
Last edited by geerhardusvos on Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:28 am, edited 4 times in total.
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jharkin
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by jharkin »

3,000sq is already a big house. I live in one just under this size and I feel like we have a lot of extra space that is not well utilized and the utility bills give me a headache.

6,000 is mansion.

I cant even guess what the carrying costs are on a building that big.....
HomeStretch
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by HomeStretch »

Possible con to a large house - as you age it may become too big, too expensive or too difficult to self-maintain. This could require you to downsize which may not be ideal if you like your neighborhood, etc.
Jags4186
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Jags4186 »

kadye wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:30 am pros:
- handy when hosting large groups
- handy if family/friends stay for extended periods (assuming you like their stay)
- flexibility to grow in it

cons:
- tend to have higher house prices, taxes, interest, etc.,
- feeling of the need to fill potentially unused space
- high electric bill
- higher cleaning cost
- higher maintenance Q: Can you please elaborate on this (excluding heating/cooling and cleaning costs)? How high are we talking, say when you compare a 3,000 vs 6,000 sq ft house in similar conditions? Twice as much? less? more?
- anything else I am missing here?

Thanks!
Assuming bigger also means generally nicer, everything costs more. I live in a 1500 sqft house that cost in the high 400s. Our refrigerator broker. We replaced it with a $1100 LG refrigerator. If I lived in a 6000 sqft house in an exclusive neighborhood and my refrigerator broke, I probably have to replace it with a $15k Sub Zero refrigerator. If you need to paint the house or redo the siding, you need twice as much siding/paint and twice as much labor. Same for roof, same for likely many other systems (drive way, yard, porch, etc. etc.)

I would find it hard to believe that a 3000sqft house and a 6000sqft house in the same general neighborhood would be marketed to the same person so your similar conditions assumption may not exist.
Last edited by Jags4186 on Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
dachshunddad
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by dachshunddad »

I’ve heard costs for maintenance can be ballpark 1-2% of house price/year. This seems about right depending on the year. Plus, bigger is usually nicer as some have said. So everything goes up. And if you aren’t handy you have to get someone to do it and that is $$. Either way, just stay within your budget. If you are stretching at all, I would advise smaller for sure.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Double the size means potentially double the property tax.
Double the size means when it's time for a roof, instead of $20k for 3000 sq feet, perhaps $40k (I just had my 2800 sq foot house roof done....$15k)
Double the cost to paint.
Double the cost to heat and cool.
Increased cost for pest control.
With a double mortgage size, double the amount of interest paid. Double the entire mortgage payment, so loss of opportunity to use that money to invest or pay the mortgage off early.
Visitors will expect you'll house them (my house is smaller and visitors are sent to the nearest hotel, which is greatly preferred)

Same cost for water :D
Likely only marginally higher electric cost, if heat/cooling not included.
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28fe6
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by 28fe6 »

Same cost for water
Yet a bigger house will have a larger, more expensive water heater. Some of them have multiple water heaters or recirculation pumps to reduce turn-on delay of hot water.

Don't forget irrigation water if the yard is bigger.
orangesherbet
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by orangesherbet »

I’ve lived in a

5,500sf house
2,600sf house
and currently downsized to a 1,600sf house

We are a family of 5. Besides the maintenance and utilities being higher, and yes, 2x the amount of roof to replace, I just couldn’t keep up with the cleaning in the 5,500sf home. The rooms also just felt cavernous to me. It was hard to make it feel cozy.
CycloRista
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by CycloRista »

I went from sub 2,200 sq ft (built in the 1950's) to ~3,500 (built in the 1970's) last go round and it has been mostly plusses. The big negative is that when you have more space, you tend to accumulate more stuff...

My utility bills went down by >25% (I assume due to somewhat newer construction, better insulation, etc.) and that was before I replaced all of the windows except for a semi-newer bay window (22 total and two sliding glass doors).

Replacing the roof wasn't that bad on the current one... I did it a few years ago (for <$10k). When a bunch of my neighbors paid $15-20k in the year or two prior. My roofing guy is an old college buddy who probably would have quoted similar pricing to my neighbors had they followed up on my recommendation to call his company for an estimate :oops:

It has been nice having the extra bedrooms for guests/space for parties, etc. but now that my kids have graduated from college, it is too big and we'd like to downsize. The problem with downsizing where I live is that I'll pay more than I did for this one to buy a smaller house on less property. I really don't want to sink more of my "winnings" from this house into the next one so we may wait until it is time to move out of the area.
siker
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by siker »

Just a question, since I have not bought a house yet.

If you live in a place where property prices are appreciating quickly like the northern suburbs of atlanta, would it be better to buy a larger house, as you will make a bigger profit when you sell the house. I know it is speculation, but just asking.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Sandtrap »

kadye wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:30 am pros:
- handy when hosting large groups
- handy if family/friends stay for extended periods (assuming you like their stay)
- flexibility to grow in it

cons:
- tend to have higher house prices, taxes, interest, etc.,
- feeling of the need to fill potentially unused space
- high electric bill
- higher cleaning cost
- higher maintenance Q: Can you please elaborate on this (excluding heating/cooling and cleaning costs)? How high are we talking, say when you compare a 3,000 vs 6,000 sq ft house in similar conditions? Twice as much? less? more?
- anything else I am missing here?

Thanks!
Actionably:
As it pertains to you:


What size home are you considering?
How much do you have to spend?
How large is your family?
What are your needs for various rooms in the house?
What are your needs for the size of the property? (horses?)
Is this your forever retirement home?
Do you have family/friends that stay in your home? (not everyone does)
Do you entertain small or large groups? (some folks don't entertain at all)
Do you need special use rooms or large areas? (photo studio, art gallery craft room, home gym, etc?)

Realize:
Various "large homes" of the same S.F. can be very different.
IE: more rooms or vast caverns of unusable "wow me" space, etc, etc.
IE: many large homes are impractical, some are very useable, depends on your use.
IE: for some, 5000 s.f. will be too small, etc.

Homes are like buying shoes.

Not too tight, not too loose, etc.

Are you house shopping?

j :happy
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willthrill81
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by willthrill81 »

kadye wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:30 am pros:
- handy when hosting large groups
- handy if family/friends stay for extended periods (assuming you like their stay)
- flexibility to grow in it

cons:
- tend to have higher house prices, taxes, interest, etc.,
- feeling of the need to fill potentially unused space
- high electric bill
- higher cleaning cost
- higher maintenance Q: Can you please elaborate on this (excluding heating/cooling and cleaning costs)? How high are we talking, say when you compare a 3,000 vs 6,000 sq ft house in similar conditions? Twice as much? less? more?
- anything else I am missing here?

Thanks!
In general, all of those pros are vastly overrated in my view.

People can be entertained in small spaces. We once hosted a Christmas party for 17 people in a 550 sq. ft. apartment. Also, alternative venues are generally easy to find.

We have hosted family in our home many times in our 1,200 sq. ft. 3/2 home, including single stays as long as a month and over 60 nights in a calendar year. Guests don't need a lot of space. If they do, a hotel can be arranged for.

"Growing into a home" is something that we fell for, as have many others. My DW and I bought a 2,400 sq. ft. 4/3 home in anticipation of having two children. The home was actually far bigger than we would have needed had that happened, and it turned out that we only had one child, and only then five years after buying the home. We owned a far bigger home than we needed for all that time. And the three of us are very content in our 1,200 sq. ft. 3/2 home while most of our neighbors are 'up-sizing' their homes every few years, getting ever larger mortgages, property tax bills, utility bills, maintenance bills, etc. for space that they clearly do not need.

My advice is to only buy a home just large enough to comfortably accommodate your current needs, and outside of really extraordinary circumstances, do not buy a home for visitors or party goers.
Last edited by willthrill81 on Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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almostretired1965
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by almostretired1965 »

The novelty of owning a big house wears off really quick. I've never owned a mansion, but my wife and I rented a ~ 4K square foot house on a lake for 3 years that was about 1.5 times as big as the previous house we owned. It was beautiful house and we enjoyed our stay, but what we found was that we ended off using about half the living space. The other half was used for about 10 days or so a year when family visited.

For the two of us, the optimal arrangement is around 2000 to 2500 square feet of living space with 2 full baths, a large open main living area, and a large MBR. Anything more will not improve satisfaction in the long run, and the only reason to do so is to impress visitors.

A
Last edited by almostretired1965 on Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by TomatoTomahto »

jharkin wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:59 am 3,000sq is already a big house. I live in one just under this size and I feel like we have a lot of extra space that is not well utilized and the utility bills give me a headache.

6,000 is mansion.

I cant even guess what the carrying costs are on a building that big.....
One pro that I’m surprised hasn’t been mentioned: the ability to have multiple WFH parties doing so without imposing on the others.

We have a roughly 6,000 SF home that doesn’t feel like a mansion to me. DW, son, and son’s GF are all working from home in challenging jobs, without worry that their meetings are bothering other parties. I get to putter around with freedom.

As far as costs to heat and cool, let me out in another plug for geothermal, solar, insulation, etc. The initial outlay was large, even with the various subsidies, but it is of no financial concern and other than changing filters quarterly, maintenance is zero.
Last edited by TomatoTomahto on Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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KlangFool
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

1) The biggest con is living among the Jones. And, the impact on you and your family.

2) What is the size/price of the house as compared to the neighborhood? Median? Average? Above Average? Below Average?

KlangFool
Count of Notre Dame
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Count of Notre Dame »

This has been especially handy during Covid. We have:

1) a home gym which I now use every day in addition to running outside
2) two offices (for when my wife does telemedicine since I WFH every day now)
3) a casita for my sister to stay full time to watch our children as our daycare and it offers her privacy and separate access to the garage
4) an upstairs guest bedroom for when we have family stay with us, which is twice a month right now
5) a pool with an entertaining area outside which is a must have for SoCal

Landscaping, pool maintenance, and energy costs are all higher in addition to higher mortgage and property tax payments. I bought a huge solar panels and my average energy bill is about $100 year round even with running our AC at 70 degrees at night.
Count of Notre Dame
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Count of Notre Dame »

almostretired1965 wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:07 am The novelty of owning a big house wears off really quick. I've never owned a mansion, but my wife and I rented a ~ 4K square foot house on a lake for 3 years that was about 1.5 times as big as the previous house we owned. It was beautiful house and we enjoyed our stay, but what we found was that we ended off using about half the living space. The other half was used for about 10 days or so a year when family visited.

For the two of us, the optimal arrangement is around 2000 to 2500 square feet of living space with 2 full baths, a large open main living area, and a large MBR. Anything more will not improve satisfaction in the long run, and the only reason to do so is to impress visitors.

A
The novelty absolutely wears off and what you should buy the house for is functional spaces, not empty rooms you never use.
VoiceOfReason
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by VoiceOfReason »

Con:
It will slow down your march towards FIRE.
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gr7070
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by gr7070 »

orangesherbet wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:28 am The rooms also just felt cavernous to me. It was hard to make it feel cozy.
This!

Our bedrooms are a little small and a less ideal storage, but the living areas are way more appealing, comfortable. We're in a home not an auditorium.

OP, if you can comfortably afford the 6000 SF, I'd mostly look at preferred lifestyle to make the decision. However, I suspect there's not a ton different re lifestyle.

Financially the smaller is of course less expensive by a similar ratio.

Much like RVs and boats and pools, etc. you can usually rent the equivalent for less lifetime costs. Say a big room for entertaining once a year, a few nearby hotel rooms for many guests, on and on.
We just repurposed our rarely used guest room into a music room - it still has a bed, but stowed. It's a room we use now, was largely wasted before and that's in a small house.

Housing is largely a lifestyle choice. Like the above quoted I prefer not in a cavern.
Money is important, but few if anything should money be the primary consideration.
Last edited by gr7070 on Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Taylor Larimore »

Kadye:

As a child, I grew-up in a 4-story mansion in Miami. I now live next door in a 1640 sq. foot condominium.

I prefer the condominium.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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JPM
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by JPM »

Depends on what you like and what your mate likes.

Quality of the initial build determines a lot of maintenance costs. Quality of materials and workmanship, adequacy of insulation, quality and space-related adequacy of the mechanicals, etc. DW and I built a 4500 SF 2.5 story house on 1.5 acres in the late 80s. Maintenance costs of our 4500, later 5500 SF big suburban home were low due to the quality of the initial build. Initial construction cost was very reasonable, not much more than $50/SF and a bargain considering the build quality. We did have to reroof at the 20 year mark because a tornado tore off a section of roof and since the roofers were already coming to do the repair, they gave us a good deal on complete reroofing job. We did have to replace the mechanicals between 20 and 25 year marks. Never needed a residing job. The original well and septic function well there. We did have to replace the well pump once.

In our earlier smaller home on a city lot,the main hobby for DW and me had been gardening, landscaping, and growing fruit trees. In the new house with the big lot, we enjoyed developing flower and fruit and vegetable gardens together. That was our shared hobby and we enjoyed the beauty and other aspects of our gardens on the big lot and we raised 3 kids there. We lived there for 30 years. If you don't enjoy gardening and landscaping, a big house on a postage stamp lot might be an option.

As we aged, the kids moved away, and DW's health declined and I continued to work full-time, it became too much for us to maintain to our satisfaction, so we downsized after 30 years there.
aceoperations
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by aceoperations »

We are a family of 4 right now in a 1100 sq ft house, 2 young kids. But I grew up as an only child in a 4000 sq ft house with only 3 people living in it including my parents. I would go several hours without knowing where my parents are in the house. We used to call each other on phones to find out where we were. I found that it kind of got lonely and the feeling of togetherness is just not there. It was kinda of a vertically built up home, but maybe its different if it is an open but large floorplan.

IMHO, there is a right sized house for a given number of people where there is enough space for each person to not step on each others toes, but not so much space that it feels empty.
GT99
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by GT99 »

A bit more than 2 years ago we moved from a 3400 sq foot house to a 5600 sq foot house. I don't think of our house as remotely close to a mansion, but I would never have wanted a house this size, but at the time my inlaws were going to move in with us, and the basement (err...terrace level if you're fancy) sets up great as an apartment, so it made sense. Until they decided the wanted to move back to Florida after 14 months.

And we were moving into a much better school district and closer to my family, and it's a great neighborhood with lots of kids - and big houses are just normal in the area (north Atlanta suburbs).

We're a family of 4, and we actually do use every single room. The rooms are just unnecessarily big. The smallest bedroom is the size of the master in our last house.

For us, guest space is important. DW has a pretty big family and they pretty much all live 5-8 hours away by car and visit fairly regularly. We much prefer to have them stay with us, and we can house 4 adults and 6 kids for a few nights pretty easily (we've done so several times). But that's a just personal preference.

That said, configuration is more important than size, IMO. Our 3400 square foot house was plenty big - could still easily accommodate a 5 person family staying with us, and before kids we threw parties with 50 people easily. It just had a frustrating configuration, like tiny closets and no storage space on the main level. Had to store things we used fairly regularly downstairs. I'd much rather have a big closet and small bedroom - in our new house, we literally have 100% of our clothing in the master closet, and nothing stored in dressers, etc...which makes the size of the bedroom even more silly.

TL;DR - the configuration of our bigger house is much better, but I'd be happier if all rooms except the kitchen and main living room were 25% smaller.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by GT99 »

siker wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:48 am Just a question, since I have not bought a house yet.

If you live in a place where property prices are appreciating quickly like the northern suburbs of atlanta, would it be better to buy a larger house, as you will make a bigger profit when you sell the house. I know it is speculation, but just asking.
There are way too many variables to just say yes/no a bigger house is a better investment, but in general, the vast majority of the time you'll come out ahead by taking the price difference and investing it.

As noted in my last post, I live in one of those big houses in the Northern suburbs of Atlanta. Frankly, one of my concerns is that big houses will go out of style, so to speak. Current conditions may have long term impacts on city vs suburb vs rural living that change this, but prior to the pandemic, the trend was to move more in town and smaller. If interest in big houses is even 20% smaller in Millenials and Gen Z than prior generations, that's a big impact on supply and demand.

In short, buying a bigger house for investment reasons is almost never a good idea.
Normchad
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Normchad »

I live in a really big house. There are pros and cons

1. The roof replacement cost is real, and easy to understand.
2. I have multiple AC units and furnaces. So replacement cost is double. Pro though is I would still have heat if one furnace died
3. The water heater is a wash I think. It’s bigger and more expensive. But the plumbing labor for install is the same. It just doesn’t cost enough to heat water to worry about it.
4. It costs more to paint. Not only that though, you basically have to,pay to paint it. Might be reasonable to paint a 3000 sq ft house DIY, but just no way you can do this house.
5. House cleaning is more expensive.

Here are the big pros though.
1. When real estate prices go up by 10%, you make more money.
2. Living in big rich houses, means you are surrounded by other big rich houses. Which means a good tax base. Which leads to new schools and better teachers. And better amenities all around. You want a fancy grocery store, they build them where the money is.

Honestly, I don’t want this house. It’s too big. But they just don’t make anything I want in this area that is less than about 4000 sq ft. They don’t make 1000 SQ FT houses in expensive areas....
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by THY4373 »

I went from a 2100 square foot townhouse to a 3600 house on an acre when I moved with my now ex from HCOL to MCOL area. The biggest negative of my larger house was the larger yard that went with it. I wasn't willing to outsource most of the work due to cost so I often spent a major chunk of my weekend working in the yard. I very quickly came to hate it especially since nobody was actually using the yard 95% of the time (way too humid and buggy during the summer). As others have noted for me the novelty of a larger house wore off though we did put the space to some use. The living room became ex's office, one of the upstairs bedrooms became my office (we both worked from home part or full time). The over garage very large bedroom became a home theater. So really only the dining and sun rooms really went to "waste". That said I rent by choice a much smaller house and I am happier because my time is now mine to do as I please. When I own again it will mostly like be a decent townhouse or condo.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by THY4373 »

Normchad wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:26 pm Here are the big pros though.
1. When real estate prices go up by 10%, you make more money.
Minor nit house appreciation is not evenly spread across all homes. Bigger houses may appreciate more or less than market. In my current MCOL city bigger/more expensive houses have appreciated more slowly than the market at least since 2008. In some very HCOL areas the value of the place may be driven more by the land than the house though a larger house is more likely to have more land of course.
Normchad
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Normchad »

THY4373 wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:33 pm
Normchad wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:26 pm Here are the big pros though.
1. When real estate prices go up by 10%, you make more money.
Minor nit house appreciation is not even spread across all homes. Bigger houses may appreciate more or less than market. In my current MCOL city bigger/more expensive houses have appreciated more slowly than the market at least since 2008. In other areas the value of the place will be driven more by the land than the house though a larger house is more likely to have more land of course.
Good point. It may vary by area. Here, buyers seem really focused on sq. Ft and cost/sq ft. So it does feel linear, but maybe it’s not. I have t sold in ten years....

I just checked Zillow. The last house I sound was 2500 SQ ft and appreciated 41% (140K) since I sold it in 2010. The one I bought is about 5000 sq ft and has appreciated 47% (206K) in the same time. So the rate is close, the absolute dollar amounts are sizable.

But in real estate location is everything, so I’m sure it’s different in different places.
retire57
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by retire57 »

kadye wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:30 am pros:
- handy when hosting large groups
- handy if family/friends stay for extended periods (assuming you like their stay)
- flexibility to grow in it

cons:
- tend to have higher house prices, taxes, interest, etc.,
- feeling of the need to fill potentially unused space
- high electric bill
- higher cleaning cost
- higher maintenance Q: Can you please elaborate on this (excluding heating/cooling and cleaning costs)? How high are we talking, say when you compare a 3,000 vs 6,000 sq ft house in similar conditions? Twice as much? less? more?
- anything else I am missing here?

Thanks!
For us introverts, the first 2 points move to the "con" column.
femmefire
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by femmefire »

We were in a 988 sq ft house for a family of four on a decent sized lot. We don't own a lot of material goods, but I felt like we were bursting at the seams. I couldn't wait to get out of there. We are now in a 2300 sq ft house and use every single bit of space daily. I honestly can say it's been much easier to watch the kids all day in our current house without them bouncing off the walls. I can only imagine when they're grown up and teenagers. I don't foresee myself ever owning something much bigger but I also don't want to go much smaller. I'm amazed at how many posters are pro sub-2000 sq ft with kids.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by cogito »

My younger brother and his family of 7 (including a newborn) sold their house to live in their 367 sq foot fifth wheel on his business acreage, and have done so quite happily for a while now. They homeschool outdoors, travel, and enjoy each others (close) company quite a bit. Us, and our family of 4, feel just right with 2700 sq ft, and with WFH, I wouldn't mind even a little more space with an attached office that wasn't next to the kitchen. My brother and I are very similar, but cannot imagine being happy if we traded positions with each other.

Different strokes for different folks. Know thyself.
CycloRista
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by CycloRista »

I went from sub 2,200 sq ft (built in the 1950's) to ~3,500 (built in the 1970's) last go round and it has been mostly plusses. The big negative is that when you have more space, you tend to accumulate more stuff...

My utility bills went down by >25% (I assume due to somewhat newer construction, better insulation, etc.) and that was before I replaced all of the windows except for a semi-newer bay window (22 total and two sliding glass doors).

Replacing the roof wasn't that bad on the current one... I did it a few years ago (for <$10k). When a bunch of my neighbors paid $15-20k in the year or two prior. My roofing guy is an old college buddy who probably would have quoted similar pricing to my neighbors had they followed up on my recommendation to call his company for an estimate :oops:

It has been nice having the extra bedrooms for guests/space for parties, etc. but now that my kids have graduated from college, it is too big and we'd like to downsize. The problem with downsizing where I live is that I'll pay more than I did for this one to buy a smaller house on less property. I really don't want to sink more of my "winnings" from this house into the next one so we may wait until it is time to move out of the area.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by stoptothink »

THY4373 wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:30 pm The biggest negative of my larger house was the larger yard that went with it. I wasn't willing to outsource most of the work due to cost so I often spent a major chunk of my weekend working in the yard. I very quickly came to hate it especially since nobody was actually using the yard 95% of the time (way too humid and buggy during the summer).
My mother, step-father, and 17yr old step-sister live in ~3700sq. ft. on 3/4 acre, that includes multiple trees, bushes, and a small "salsa garden". Nobody is ever actually using the yard. My mother is 59, my step-father is blind and almost totally immobile thanks to diabetes, and my sister isn't about to do it, so we (wife and I) spend at least 2 full weekend days a month doing all of their yard maintenance. It is such a massive headache and makes us appreciate the tiny little patch of grass we have that my kids play on virtually every single day. Close access to parks - a massive, yes - but we have zero interest in a large yard or really a yard at all.

We are 4 living in <1500sq. ft. and it is plenty of space. We've had my in-laws live with us multiple time for extended periods (6 months being the longest), friends and family visit countless times (my brother's family of 4 was with us for 8 days about a month ago), and parties with 30+ people on several occasions. When my family comes to town, they almost always rather stay with us than my parents (who live ~10 miles away). Ideally we'd like less living space, but with a full basement where we could put our gym (currently in the garage) and maybe a modest home theater. We're likely moving within the next 5-6yrs (thanks wife), and as someone else mentioned, houses <$3k sq. ft. simply do not exist in the areas we are interested in (I am already ingraining this in my wife's head as a reason why we have no reason to move from our paid off home).
Isabelle77
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Isabelle77 »

We've lived in everything from tiny studio apartments in NYC, just my husband and I, to 1500sqft homes with our 2 kids, and up from there to 4200sqft. Right now we're in 3500sqft, with one room we don't use, I find it a little large but we have two teens who may be doing school from home this year (please, NO), and my husband is also working from home.

That said, my parents live, just the two of them, in a 6000sqft house. We visit for a month or so every summer and the first week I'm always in awe of the luxury of a huge fancy home. By week 2, it's just a house. Once you all fit comfortably in a space, it doesn't really add anything to have more of it. Just cost.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Chris K Jones »

I owned a 5700 square foot for more than 20 years and now live in a 3 bedroom, rented apartment. Expenses were higher with the house, but the thing I learned was that EVERYTHING costs more if it is a big, nice, well located house. Anyone that you hired to do something charged you more. Electricians, plumbers, painters, etc. It isn't that it just costs more to do a bigger place, it is that they take advantage of you because they think you have more. That was my experience anyway. I will never live in such a place again. Best wishes to you.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by hoffse »

Our first house was about 2000 sq ft. Our current house is 4500 so ft or so, if you count the basement (which for maintenance costs I do).

Heating and cooling: Costs decreased about $50/mo because new house is better insulated.

Water: Same. We did not lengthen our showers or flush toilets more often when moving to the new house.

Lawn care: $50/month less due to yard slope. Old house required a push mower and new house can accommodate a riding mower.

Cleaning: increase $75/month due to size and 2 extra bathrooms.

Net, we experienced a decrease in costs by about $25/month.

Size isn’t everything. Age of the house, building integrity and quality, and even things like lot orientation affect all of these things.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by hnd »

we bought a ranch style home with 2 additions on each end of the original home. the total square footage of the main level not including the garage (25x30) is about 3300 sqr ft. we have 5 kids and its plenty. coupled with an equally sized basment with finishing ability, I can't imagine needing more living space. We don't plan on ever moving but we also know that this much space will not be needed forever.

the home just got new well and a new septic system. we are on natural gas through the utility company. electric expenses are ridiculous not because its inefficient but because we have 5 children
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by FIREchief »

kadye wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:30 am pros:
- handy when hosting large groups
- handy if family/friends stay for extended periods (assuming you like their stay)
As you partially suggested, these can both turn into big "cons." If you have rooms you never use, your house is too big. If your family is driving each other nuts, your house is too small. If everybody has enough private space, the house is just right. 8-)
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SmileyFace
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by SmileyFace »

kadye wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:30 am pros:
- handy when hosting large groups
- handy if family/friends stay for extended periods (assuming you like their stay)
....
Funny - I have these in the cons list :)

Would prefer no room for people to use us for vacations/etc. - rather they stay in a hotel.
If I can't host a large group as well as another friend or family member it would be better - would rather they host.

(EDIT ADD: Just read rest of responses and realize someone else already said this)
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FIREchief
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by FIREchief »

DaftInvestor wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:56 pm
kadye wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:30 am pros:
- handy when hosting large groups
- handy if family/friends stay for extended periods (assuming you like their stay)
....
Funny - I have these in the cons list :)

Would prefer no room for people to use us for vacations/etc. - rather they stay in a hotel.
If I can't host a large group as well as another friend or family member it would be better - would rather they host.

(EDIT ADD: Just read rest of responses and realize someone else already said this)
Yep, and I'm guessing a whole lot of us feel this way. Those who don't probably just haven't experienced enough "visitors." 8-)
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by goodenyou »

We plan to move out of a 5400 sq ft house that we have been living in for 20 years. It is costly to live in a house with multiple air conditioners, expensive appliances, pool, large yard with landscaping etc.. It's a pain to maintain. Every time I turn around there are pool costs, yard cost, tree trimming. It never ends. We plan on moving to a new custom-built 1-story home 3000-3500, energy efficient and well laid out for us to age in place. Enough room for 2 offices, big kitchen (wife loves to cook) and a few bedrooms for child visits. Minimum landscape and no pool. The house will cost 2x my current home, but will be much smaller. It's not the initial cost, it's the upkeep of cleaning and maintenance that is undesirable.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by ncbill »

FIREchief wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:25 pm
DaftInvestor wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:56 pm
kadye wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:30 am pros:
- handy when hosting large groups
- handy if family/friends stay for extended periods (assuming you like their stay)
....
Funny - I have these in the cons list :)

Would prefer no room for people to use us for vacations/etc. - rather they stay in a hotel.
If I can't host a large group as well as another friend or family member it would be better - would rather they host.

(EDIT ADD: Just read rest of responses and realize someone else already said this)
Yep, and I'm guessing a whole lot of us feel this way. Those who don't probably just haven't experienced enough "visitors." 8-)
Grew up in a large (~6,000 sqft.) home with a detached 2-story garage...we turned the upstairs into a one-bedroom apartment.

When I visited the home for a charity fundraiser years later the homeowner told me he renovated it for in-laws to visit...he wouldn't let them stay in the main house! :)

And since I watched mom go broke trying to keep that house after her divorce I've lived in a 3BR/3BA townhouse roughly half that size for the last 20+ years...all yard work (which I had to do at the above house) taken care of for a modest monthly fee.
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Watty
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Watty »

I know someone with one kid that ended up in a fairly large house with a basement after a divorce.

Their laundry was upstairs so they rarely had any reason to go into the the basement.

One time they went down downstairs to do something only to find that they had a water leak. By looking at the water bills as best as they can figure it might have been leaking for six months before they found it. :oops:

Fortunately it was an unfinished basement so it did not do a lot of damage but there was a lot of stuff down there that they had to throw out.

I have also heard of people with leaks in their roofs over a rarely used rooms that they did not find right away.

There is also a very real risk that you or a kid could get hurt and people on the other side of the house would not be able to hear them.

If you have kids it will be a lot harder to keep an eye on what they and their friends are doing, especially when they are teenagers.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by stoptothink »

Watty wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:41 pm I know someone with one kid that ended up in a fairly large house with a basement after a divorce.

Their laundry was upstairs so they rarely had any reason to go into the the basement.

One time they went down downstairs to do something only to find that they had a water leak. By looking at the water bills as best as they can figure it might have been leaking for six months before they found it. :oops:

Fortunately it was an unfinished basement so it did not do a lot of damage but there was a lot of stuff down there that they had to throw out.

I have also heard of people with leaks in their roofs over a rarely used rooms that they did not find right away.

There is also a very real risk that you or a kid could get hurt and people on the other side of the house would not be able to hear them.

If you have kids it will be a lot harder to keep an eye on what they and their friends are doing, especially when they are teenagers.
The brother of my ex-GF was a very successful entrepeneur. When I knew him, they (him, wife, and young son) were living in a ~20k sq. ft. home. One day his wife "lost" his son (like 3 at the time) in the home, she spent several hours hysterically looking for him. He ended up having fallen asleep in a room that they're not sure anyone had ever really even been in. They put the home up for sale within a month or so.
000
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by 000 »

IMO, the smaller the better. Keeps you close to your family, expenses low, liquidity higher, and less exposure to an undiversified asset.
kadye wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:30 am - handy when hosting large groups
- handy if family/friends stay for extended periods (assuming you like their stay)
I'm not sure if these are positives, lol!
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by abuss368 »

Taylor Larimore wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:36 am Kadye:

As a child, I grew-up in a 4-story mansion in Miami. I now live next door in a 1640 sq. foot condominium.

I prefer the condominium.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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Incredible Taylor! If given the choice I would definitely prefer the condo. As soon as our kids have left the nest, we are downsizing to a small adult community condo.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Taylor Larimore »

abuss368:

Our condo has 1 large bedroom. Advantage: We put overnight guests in a nearby hotel. :wink:

Best wishes
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle
Freetime76
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by Freetime76 »

We just downsized to about half the size of house, so perhaps it is a reverse experiment?
We are not retirement age. We have family visit several times per year for a week or weekend, potentially. We entertain informally only, with family or close friends and they’ll expect fun, good food, drinks, and a spot to sit (outside if the weather is good) for good conversation...probably leaving with dog or horse hairs on their clothes somewhere. If that explains our lifestyle a bit. We both detest waste, making a smaller place a no-brainer.

The pros of the smaller house are numerous:
- Cost much less than our previous home, letting us put the abundance of “extra” money into investments. If I recall, investments make us money. I like that.

- Less junk. I include designer furniture/decor/lamps in the luxury price range in this category. No, we don’t even remotely play at that level. Beautiful? Yes, but so much stuff needs a lot of tending. And updating. And not messing it up. We’ve really pared life down to what WE want, not what you’re “supposed” to have. No more, “hmm, this house has a dining room...what should we put in there?” (when we only use the eat-in kitchen). Or, “wow, this living room is enormous...guess we’ll need another said of chairs in the corner” (which look nice but nobody ever uses).

- Less update cost. As someone said: This is a real number. Fewer gallons of paint. Half the flooring square footage/# of doors, windows, light fixtures, bathroom vanities, tile, kitchen cabinets, normal appliances/finishes/skill level for repairs, and no contractor will ever come in here expecting to put the kids through college by doing our roof.

- We use the space. No problem finding our smallest dog, or yelling to locate each other. No mystery rooms. If we don’t have space for it, do we really need it? Over and over, we find the answer is No. Traveling light through life is making us so much happier.

- Cleaning time is targeted and over within an eyeblink.. No vacuuming back-and-forth, back-and-forth 4-ever :wink: just to make those neat lines in the carpet/get the dust off all the surface area of a hardwood floor...of a room nobody uses. I’m assuming you’ll hire out. Still.

- Less consumption to support our little selves. No heating or cooling vast spaces we don’t use, no closing the doors to rooms we don’t use, just to keep the dust out (are we the only people who do this?)

Cons:
- Family that fills us beyond capacity will have to stay in a hotel. We also have a very nice tent available. Not a con for us, but maybe for them. Sadly, it may not be enough of a deterrent for certain people. 8-)
- Spouse and I actually have to communicate more. Just kidding :shock:
...so far, we love the smaller life, because there’s more time for actual life. Nobody will expect luxury anything here, so zero pressure to buy up. People stop by, because we’re obviously here and this place is very unintimidating and unassuming.

Lastly, I once was told ‘creativity before capital’. This saying serves us well here, where we find a way to use the (smaller) space we have.
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Re: Pros and cons of buying a big house

Post by 02nz »

willthrill81 wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:05 am In general, all of those pros are vastly overrated in my view.

People can be entertained in small spaces. We once hosted a Christmas party for 17 people in a 550 sq. ft. apartment. Also, alternative venues are generally easy to find.

We have hosted family in our home many times in our 1,200 sq. ft. 3/2 home, including single stays as long as a month and over 60 nights in a calendar year. Guests don't need a lot of space. If they do, a hotel can be arranged for.

"Growing into a home" is something that we fell for, as have many others. My DW and I bought a 2,400 sq. ft. 4/3 home in anticipation of having two children. The home was actually far bigger than we would have needed had that happened, and it turned out that we only had one child, and only then five years after buying the home. We owned a far bigger home than we needed for all that time. And the three of us are very content in our 1,200 sq. ft. 3/2 home while most of our neighbors are 'up-sizing' their homes every few years, getting ever larger mortgages, property tax bills, utility bills, maintenance bills, etc. for space that they clearly do not need.

My advice is to only buy a home just large enough to comfortably accommodate your current needs, and outside of really extraordinary circumstances, do not buy a home for visitors or party goers.
Good advice, and not only for houses; people also buy way too much car with the mindset of "well what if I need to ..." In much of the world (even many developed places) 1200 sq ft would be considered a luxury, and people still live and kids grow up just fine, without the costs (not just financial) of thinking you "need" ever more/bigger.
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