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Is it Time to Upsize Your Living Space?

August 9, 2021Teresa Siqueira

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If you’re starting to feel cramped at home, it might be a good time to upsize. The term upsizing refers to getting more room to spread out and expand, whether you decide to buy a new, larger home or work on a few home projects to enlarge the space you already have. Moving to a larger home is one option, as is getting a home addition to make your current home bigger. There are a lot of things to consider before you decide to upsize your living space. From real estate mortgage rates to family relations, upsizing involves many important decisions that must be made. Read on to discover how you can upsize your living space and whether or not it’s right for you.

When to upsize your house

Is upsizing your house right for you? Here are some signs that it’s time and things to consider.

Factors to consider: If you want to remodel to make your house larger, you’ll need to consider things like building codes and cost. You can also consider buying a bigger home if you need a lot more room. Alternatively, you may choose to pay off your mortgage, then use your new source of extra money to pay for a major home remodel. You’ll need to think about things like how long you plan to live in the house and whether moving to a new one could be a better option.

Signs you could afford a bigger house: If you recently got a promotion or you’ve paid off some debt, you could have the financial wiggle room to buy a bigger house. Think about your financial stability before you decide to upgrade. The housing market also plays a role since prices constantly fluctuate. Sit down and look closely at your current budget and determine whether you currently have the level of income you need to purchase a larger home.

Benefits of upsizing your living space: There are many perks to upsizing, including more storage space. You’ll likely also have more bedrooms which can be especially helpful for growing families. There are also many more rooms to customize so you can add more furniture and decorate each one any way you choose.

Cons of upsizing: Of course, there are also some downsides to upsizing. You may end up with a lot of wasted space, which can increase your utility bills and mortgage. There could also be a negative impact on family cohesion since everyone will have their separate room instead of spending time together in common areas. You might also have to sacrifice location if you can’t find the right size home in the area you want to live in.

Reasons to expand your living space: If you’re still unsure whether you should upsize, think about your personal goals and lifestyle. Perhaps you need a private office to work from home, or you want a man cave with games and a place to entertain your friends. Many people with a growing family also need to upsize to provide more room for new children or elderly parents living with them.

Expenses that come with expanding

Expanding your home also means that you’ll need to expand your budget and wallet. Here are some expenses to keep in mind.

Higher utility costs: A larger home means extra square footage to heat and cool and more water usage, so prepare to pay higher monthly utility bills. Think about how to save energy by switching to solar or by installing a more energy-efficient HVAC system.

More repair and maintenance costs: You’ll also likely pay more to maintain and repair your home if it’s larger in size. More demand on drains and plumbing, appliances, and just general upkeep means it’ll cost you more to keep these things adequately maintained.

Home insurance costs: Most homeowner insurance companies charge more to cover larger homes. Talk to your insurance company about possible discounts like installing a security system or bundling your home and auto coverage.

Furnishings: The bigger the home, the more furniture you’ll need. Make sure you include new furniture in your budget if you plan to renovate or move into a larger house.

Property taxes: Depending on where you live, your property taxes will probably increase when you move into a bigger home. Check with your local jurisdiction to confirm the current property tax rates and how home value is determined.

Moving to a bigger house

If moving to a bigger, more expensive house is your preference, here are some things to consider.

How to afford a more expensive house: Sit down and calculate how much home you can afford based on your current debt to income ratio. Plan a budget and make sure that you stick to it so you don’t end up going over when it’s time to buy. Talk to a real estate agent and have them help you find a great deal in your local market. You should also consider whether to sell your old home first and use the profit to put a down payment on the new one or start looking for a larger home first before you sell.

Preparing your house for sale: Make sure your current home is ready to sell so that it goes quickly and for the most money. A staging service can help you create a beautiful space for listings that will entice new buyers. Do some repairs and improve your curb appeal before putting your home on the market.

Explore market conditions: Look into the current housing market to see whether it’s a good time to buy or sell. You don’t want to overpay for your new home and end up underwater later.

Renting a bigger house: You can always start by renting a bigger home before you buy. Consider the areas where you want to live and look for a great deal on a rental to give you a feel for what it’s like to upsize before you actually buy something new. Some landlords even offer a rent to own option if you fall in love with your new place.

Financing the new place: Make sure you get a good interest rate on your new mortgage. Talk to a mortgage broker who can help you find the best deals and terms. Think about how much home equity you currently have and what type of equity you can expect to gain in the future with your bigger home.

What to look for in a larger house: Write down the most important features you’re looking for in a bigger home. You should also list your favorite neighborhoods to help you narrow down your choices.

Finding an agent: Look for a reputable local real estate agent who’s familiar with your market. Ask friends or family for referrals to make sure you choose a quality agent who can help you market your current home and find the right new home for your needs.

Create more space in your current home

If you’d instead expand your current home to make more space, here are some helpful tips.

Budgeting and financing a home remodel: Consider how much money you’re willing and able to spend on your project. You may be able to take out a home equity loan to help fund it or look into getting financing plans from local remodeling contractors.

Home addition ideas: Perhaps you need a more oversized master bedroom, or your living room feels cramped. Go over the areas of your home that need more elbow room and focus on those areas only. Sit down with an experienced architect or contractor who can help you come up with the best usage of your money, space, and time.

Add more storage: If storage is your biggest concern, a shed or new garage might be your best option. You can also look into under-house storage ideas, like finishing your basement or creating a laundry room underneath the home. You may just need to downsize some of your belongings to give you and your family more space in the house.

Finding a contractor: Ask people you trust for references to some local remodeling contractors. Always get at least three estimates before you make a final decision. Your contractor should be responsive to your needs and get the job done within a reasonable budget and timeframe.

DIY Home Upsizing Projects

You don’t need to pay a professional to upsize your home. Here are some ways you can DIY your home upsizing project to save money.

Repurpose existing rooms: If the kids have moved out, repurpose their old bedroom and turn it into a home office or a craft room. Look at the rooms that aren’t being utilized in the best way and develop new ways to enjoy them to get more space.

Doubling up rooms: Siblings can share a bedroom, which will free up space for other things. You can also consider knocking down a wall to create an open floor plan that combines your living and dining rooms.

Multipurpose rooms: A large master suite can easily double as an office area, as can a living room. Explore the rooms you have that could be turned into multipurpose rooms so that you’re getting more use out of them. If your kitchen is relatively large, consider adding an island so that it becomes an eat-in kitchen and dining area, too.

Taking Advantage of a Bigger Space

There are several ways to take advantage of having a bigger space:

Wise financial investment: There is always a demand for larger homes, which means that your bigger house can have a higher resale value if or when you ever plan to sell it later.

Add a workspace: Having a bigger home provides you with a place to design an appropriate home office or start a home-based business.

Use task lighting: Install lighting that helps you create a well-balanced space. The proper lighting can enhance the way you use a room and how it looks and feels.

Save on utility costs: Consider installing a smart thermostat to help you save on utility costs. Upgrade your windows and add more insulation to save even more.

Outdoor space: If you have a big backyard, there’s plenty to take advantage of. Add a shed for storage, buy an inground swimming pool, or start your own backyard garden.

Rent out a room: If you want to make some money off your home, consider renting out one of your rooms to help cover the mortgage or your monthly expenses.  You can even take advantage of the extra space by becoming a vacation rental owner if you don’t want to commit to a long-term tenant. 

More storage: A larger home means more storage. Use the attic or basement to store holiday decorations, lawn and garden equipment, and tools.

Space for your hobbies or lifestyle: When you have more room, it gives you greater opportunities to do the things you enjoy. For example, turn one room into a home theater, add a sports court to the backyard, or give the kids a fantastic backyard playground so they have a nice outdoor area to burn off all that extra energy.

Whether you’re thinking of moving into a larger home or you prefer to remodel your existing one, keep all of these things in mind before you upsize. Having more space provides you with the opportunity to grow and enjoy your home even more. Whether you choose to upsize your living space, it can be a smart financial move and a great way to make your entire family happier. 

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