According to U.S. Census figures, the average size of an American home has doubled since the 1950s. Between 1973 and 2012, square feet went up by 62.6 percent, reaching a peak of 2,480 square feet in 2011.

While consumers demand larger properties, many features are luxurious by mid-century standards. For instance, four-car garages, mancaves, walk-in closets and guest suites. Common spaces have also grown, with ceilings now a foot taller and bedrooms with 54 extra square feet.

During the Recession, as new construction slowed, so did the demand for McMansion-sized and outfitted properties. In response, those shopping around should ask themselves how much house they actually need. Consider these factors:

Will the House Fit Your Lifestyle?

Your lifestyle ultimately determines how much house you’ll actually use. As you look at new homes, ask yourself if you:

  • Lead a more active life or do you tend to stay at home?
  • Entertain often in the home or go out?
  • Have family that visits frequently through the year?
  • Work at home and need separate office space?
  • Have children or plan to have them in the future?
  • Will you eventually have elderly parents move in with you?
  • Partake in hobbies – sewing, music or gaming – that might need a dedicated room?

Realize that property size directly impacts most, if not all, factors listed above. Smaller homes give you less storage space, fewer rooms for accommodating guests or family members and fewer options for growing your family. On the other hand, a larger property proves to be costly when you’re out for work, entertainment and travel more frequently.

Planning for the Future

Life and your plans can change and for many homeowners, a property that once seemed ideal is now too small, in the wrong school district or involves too much maintenance. As you browse, think about how this home will fit into your future plans:

  • Do you want a large family?
  • Will you be caring for parents or other in-laws at some point?
  • Will retirement impact your ability to make mortgage or utility payments or pay your taxes?
  • Are you planning to buy – upgrade or downgrade – at some point?
  • How much are you saving?
  •  Do you plan to travel after retirement?

How Much Will You Put into the Home?

A recent University of California study found that, even in bigger homes, most family members spend the majority of their time in the kitchen or TV room. Formal dining and living rooms get less use. As such, you end up with unused spaces that collect dust. Factor in:

  • How much maintenance you want to do. For instance, larger yards require more work and snow removal. Also, expect to clean more windows, dust more area and paint a larger exterior.
  • Will you be able to pay all taxes and insurance – now and in the future – on a larger property?
  • Bigger homes also have higher heating and electricity bills. In this regard, smaller properties tend to be more financially economical.
  • Additionally, how much stuff do you plan to accumulate? With less space, homeowners tend to be more careful about their purchases.

To find the right size property, begin your search with By Carrier. To learn more about our properties, give us a call today.

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