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How financially stable are you to start thinking about upsizing to a larger residence? What’s more, how willing are you to part with something extra to get that extra square footage?
If you genuinely want that bigger house to be a dream house for you rather than an unmanageable mistake, here are factors to put into consideration.
1. Is it Too Much for Your Pocket to Handle?
The bigger the home, the bigger the price tag. At the moment, you may find your mortgage to be highly affordable but can you handle one with extra zeros at the end?
Additionally, a bigger home translates to extra rooms, extra floors, and a wider outside area. Each of these can be somewhat costlier to maintain. Have you thought about how that may affect your budget?
Maintaining your bigger home may mean that you have to rule out certain expenses or cut back on various ‘luxuries’ such as going out and weekend vacations.
To be on the safer side, draft a budget for the homeownership costs and monthly mortgage payment.
Sure, acquiring a mortgage may be more of a complicated affair. What with the lenders reviewing your income, liabilities, assets, and debt harder than ever.
However, this move is highly necessary to ensure that you don’t go way past the debt-to-income ratio limit. On the plus side, you never had to damage your credit the last time you purchased a home.
If you’re a buyer with an impressive credit score of over 700, you may be lucky enough to enjoy the most competitive interest rates in the market today.
If the house is within your financial capability, there’s no point in overpaying for it just because you can easily afford it.
Take your time and review the comparables. Determine the market value of the home you intend on moving into. This way, you won’t be taken by surprise in case of any pop-up costs.
2. The Extra Rooms May Make You Spend More
Most people would not sit well with the thought of living in a five-roomed house even if they could easily afford it.
A few others, on the other hand, prefer more spacious houses and don’t mind spending their hard-earned money to accommodate their stay.
Before you think about which of these categories you lie between the two, think about how it will impact your family.
Have you always dreamed of a detached garage or separate dining room? Are you fed up with making your in-laws spend the night on the sofa each time they visit? Will your kids be needing their own individual rooms any time soon?
For all these, you may just require an extra room or two, rather than additional office spaces or a three-car garage. What’s more, if you don’t intend on using that extra space, you could put that extra money into good use.
If you’re not a cooking kind of person, you may not need a sizeable, state-of-the-art cooking area. If none of your family members works from home, you most definitely don’t need a roomy home office.
Do the smart thing and settle for a home that provides you and your family the space you need. If you’re planning on having more children, put that into consideration also.
Having extra bedrooms for a family that’s growing is not such a bad idea. If you have little ones who prefer physical games to video games, don’t think twice about the extra outdoor space.
3. Your New Neighbourhood Matters a Great Deal
Be it renting or buying, once you decide to move into a new area, you’re basically becoming part of a bigger community.
Within that community, you’ll want to feel like you belong. A good neighborhood is one that matches your personal lifestyle and caters to your individual needs at this new chapter in your life.
For instance, if you have kids, you may want to consider a bigger house that’s next to their school and offers easy access to a lively park. If you or your spouse work all day, opt for a home that’s next to a restaurant or two.
On that note, what are some of the notable features that make a good neighborhood?
Plenty Of Trees
Any neighbourhood with an ever-green landscape adds a ton of character and value to its dwellers. During summertime, lush landscaping and the tall trees can offer that much-needed shade as well as add a touch of serenity.
Safe and Secure
In your proposed neighborhood, check out the level of crime rates. Being the concerned parent or guardian that you are, you’ll want to ensure that your kids are safe.
Aside from confirming how secure your family will be from the local police, RAIDS Online can be of more assistance. It offers a real-time crime mapping tool that will definitely come in handy.
Safe neighborhoods typically offer quick access to quality clinics, hospitals or emergency rooms. Having in mind that your next home has either of these three will give you peace of mind. In case any member of your family falls ill, you’re sorted.
Speaking of wasting fuel, consider a neighborhood that has adequate public transportation that gives you the option of leaving your car at home most of the time.
Also, in case of a tragic emergency, you will need to get to the nearest fire or police station on time. The roads should also be in good condition.
In fact, this should be the main feature you should be looking for in your new neighborhood. Your new neighborhood should feel inviting and be very appealing.
Wherever you live, visual interest should be the most important factor. Visually appealing neighborhoods have the following features:
- Interesting design and architecture
- Clean streets with adequate lighting
- Intriguing storefronts
- Inviting flowers and trees
You may move into a bigger house, but clearly, your neighborhood may not be worth your stay there.
Put all these factors into consideration and think about whether you really want to upsize your home for a bigger home whose neighborhood has what it takes to be called a neighborhood.
4. Keep in Mind the Latest Buying Trends
Right now, upsizing can easily translate to a mouthwatering profit in the future. This is if you were to choose the precise location of your desired home as well as the home itself wisely.
Of course, it’s easy to conclude that once you’ve found a suitable home size, there will be no need to move out any time soon.
Probably not so far from now, you may find yourself making the necessary downsizing arrangements. As it goes with all home purchases, focus your thoughts on the resale value before future buyers come along and do it for you.
What this means is that you should do some serious research on what it is that appeals to home buyers.
Of course, ample space should be the number one factor. More than anything else, home buyers get asked a lot about guest bedrooms.
The reason behind this is that they need a ton of space to accommodate guests who plan on spending the night.
The resale value of any home matters a great deal. If you buy a bigger home with a good resale value, you may find it relatively easy to find a buyer when the time comes.
You don’t want to be among the many homebuyers who never put the resale value into consideration.
How do you determine whether a house has a good resale value or not? If it has any of the following, don’t think twice about moving into it right away:
- Adequate family space
- More than one bathroom
- Remodeled and updated design
- Open floor plan and good flow
- Ample closets and storage spaces
- More than one parking spot
- A spacious family room
As you scope out the various listings, always keep up with the latest housing trends. In time, your new home could become your most-prized asset.
5. Review the Latest Mortgage Interest Rates
For a while now, mortgage rates have been fluctuating on a weekly basis. Currently, the price of buying a home (regardless of its size) varies slightly between a fixed interest rate of 4.5% and an interest rate of 14%.
Your chances of getting the lowest interest rate should be a key factor in deciding whether to buy a bigger home or not.
If you have a credit score that is not so impressive, you have no other choice but to pay a significantly higher monthly payments and interest rates. On the other hand, if your credit score is in tip-top shape, you won’t have to pay a lot or anything at all.
In case you’re not aware, mortgage rates, for some time now, have been experiencing some dark days.
For instance, if you locked in a thirty-year 5% fixed rate back in January 2010, you understand how high it has risen since 2005 when you locked in your first home for a mere 1% rate.
For you who’s planning on moving into a bigger home, there’s every reason to be more concerned about the latest interest rate environment.
Having this critical information will enable you to determine if you can afford the house you’ve been longing to move into for a while now.
Higher interest rates don’t automatically translate to a higher monthly mortgage payment. It all rides upon the size of your loan as well as the rise in the interest rate.
6. Think of How It Will Affect Your Budget
If you really feel that you should move into a bigger house, compare the price of the house and your initial budget.
Try out the following strategies if you have a feeling your budget has the potential to be outweighed by the ever-rising mortgage rates:
Seek Financial Assistance
It won’t hurt to involve your next of kin to the contribution of your down payment. In this case, you may have extra cash to pay for discount points.
With down payment assistance or a lower interest rate, you have the potential of enrolling for a homeownership program.
Alternatively, you can request sellers to help you cover the closing costs to use your cash in buying down your rate.
This may prove to be a difficult field to explore with your real estate agent and loan officer, putting into consideration that there are limitations and rules on seller contributions, down payment assistance and gift letters.
Close the Deal With Extra Cash
Do this only if you can afford that extra cash. With that money, you can use it to make a size-able down payment.
This will go a long way in reducing the amount you’ll need in taking a loan. However, if your down payment is, for example, 20 percent or more, you may not need to pay a private mortgage insurance.
Money can also be used at the closing to pay discount points – which are quite similar to 1% of your total loan amount.
One thing about discount points is that they buy down your average interest rate for taking a loan. One significant question you should ask yourself before considering doing so is how long you plan on staying in the home.
If you’re planning on staying for the long term, the higher the discount points you’ll be required to take care of.
Solidify Your Credit Score
If you’re a borrower with a 760-and-above credit score can take a conventional loan with the most affordable interest rates. Your mortgage rate is bound to go slightly higher with every 20-point credit score decline.
Therefore, if you can pull off clearing your debt, be punctual in your bill payment and rectify any mistakes, you stand a chance in raising your score.
The higher you can raise it may lower your mortgage payment to something more affordable in the long haul.
7. Be Prepared for Both Expected and Unexpected Life Situations
If you’re planning on becoming either a renter or a homeowner, unforeseen life changes can put even the most strategically-laid financial plans.
Aside from what life has to offer, there are a number of unpredictable ways in which your housing needs are bound to change in the course of time.
For instance, as your children grow older and fly away to their own nests, you’ll age and will need to start planning for your own retirement.
An emergency fund has always been known to counter each and every arrow of financial burden that life may throw at you.
Things are bound to shudder, leak and stop working every now and then, leading up to extra expenses you had not even planned for.
Obviously, you’re armed with homeowner’s insurance, but don’t put all your hopes on it completely. If you have what is considered to be a high deductible, you may still be in need of a sizeable amount of cash.
Should all your expenses go contrary to your insurance coverage, God forbid, you’ll not regret your decision to start saving early enough.
What Your Emergency Fund Should Cover
- Taking care of flooding
- Purchasing a functional water heater
- Repairing or replacing a roof
- Restyling your kitchen
- Repainting your walls
- Repairing your HVAC system, etc.
When it comes to how much you should save, well, there’s no right answer to this question.
Financial experts, however, recommend that you save a mere 1% of the value of your home, while others reason that about three to eight months of your salary will be more than enough.
Whatever you choose to set aside, it’s essential that you choose a goal that you find reachable.
Exorbitant numbers only cloud your brain with negative thoughts of how hard it will be to achieve such an amount. Pick something based on your expenses, the cost of your home and your overall salary.
8. What Style Would You Want to Incorporate Into Your New Home?
Among the first things homeowners put into consideration when owning property (big or small) is the style.
What’s yours? If you don’t have one, look up one or two that would totally be in sync with your individual personality.
Single homes are an exceptional option for individuals who would be at liberty to pick their own color scheme or style the property according to their desired specifications.
Individuals who prefer enjoying the best of both worlds i.e owning their own home while enjoying full-access to hotel-themed amenities are well-suited to live in a condo.
For a compromise between these two options, town living is your best bet. Each of these associations has their unique differences.
It’s up to you to ensure that you’re fully aware of the policies that are tied to each of the two.
When you decide upon which of the two styles would be best for your next home, aesthetic should be the next thing you think about.
As you go about your day-to-day activities, give thought to the various kinds of homes you come across.
Make a clear note of each of the styles and consider which one you’d be comfortable incorporating into your own home.
9. Find the Perfect Layout
There is no way you can determine which square footage is created equal and which one isn’t; that’s why you need a floor plan.
If you were to compare two homes that have similar square footage, one can set aside a huge portion of it to a cozy bedroom, while another will partition the extra space to a luxurious living area.
Whereas it’s very possible to renovate your floor plan as soon as you move into the home, it’s important to know that it’s an extremely long process.
Not only will it require most of your time, you will also be required to part with a certain portion of your cash – unless you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person.
Even then, you’ll need an extra set of hands to get the project done in the shortest time possible.
Before all that, find a certain layout that appeals to you as much as possible. Imagine yourself walking through the house.
Think about all the activities you’d like to engage yourself or your family in over the years. If you’re a social person who hosts parties every other night, what you should be having is an open-concept plan. If your family desires their own personal space, opt for a more traditional style.
10. How Often Will You Buy New Stuff?
A bigger home means more stuff. You can’t afford to have five bedrooms but only two out of the five have a bed.
Buying a bigger home clearly has its good side and its downside. If you intend of replacing or just buying new stuff to fill the abundant void in your new home, go ahead – just as long as you can afford them.
If you’re moving into a bigger home with and have a few household goods, you should reconsider moving into a bigger home.
It’s understandable that you’ve always wanted to live life in a big home, but your timing may not be right. Other than struggling to take care of the utilities and cleanliness, you’ll also need to replenish your supplies.
Don’t be in a rush to get into a home that may turn out to be a burden rather than a blessing. Extravagance is expensive, while comfortability won’t cost you much.
You may not move into a home that can fully entertain your extended family, but so long as it supports your direct family, that’s all you need for now. When all is said and done, the final decision rests upon your financial ability.
Do you recall that time when you purchased your current home? Back then, it was more than enough considering you were either solo or starting out life with your spouse.
Now, with a couple of small feet running around the house, your cat has a litter of its own, and a few cracks and creaks here and there, the time has come for you to say goodbye to your home.
For what it’s worth, this time was bound to come. Start packing your stuff and get ready to breathe a new wave of fresh air – but wait, there are some factors that you should key in.
Not only is moving into a bigger house a risky move (considering sellers may hike their prices for clueless buyers), it’s also an expensive process.
However, by following the above tips, you’re well on track to living your best life in your humble but bigger home.