“How many bedrooms do you want?”
It’s one of the most basic questions you’ll answer as you begin your home search. Although the question seems simple, your response will require careful consideration. The average home size has nearly doubled since the 1950’s, resulting in some buyer’s need for more bedrooms and more square footage. However, not every consumer wants to maximize their square footage. Recently, a small house movement has emerged, including “tiny houses” that have been built with less than 120 square feet of livable area. What people desire and what they ultimately buy really is across the map. To help you identify what you need, here are a few things to consider.
First and foremost, consider your current lifestyle. Do you travel a lot for work? Or, do you work from home and need a productive work space? Do you rarely have guests visit, or are you always entertaining large groups? Do you have three kids with twins on the way, or are you single? The size of your home and the amount of rooms that you need likely reflects both your lifestyle and your season of life. Carefully consider your current lifestyle and think about a home that best fits who you are.
Some features of the home carry greater value than others, depending on your priorities. For one buyer, a large kitchen may be the most important room in the whole house. Others may spend the majority of their time in a great room or family room, and thus that room is the most important. Some hobbies favor large amounts of space, while others can occur on a desk. While considering how much space you need or how many rooms you’d like to have, a purchaser must define their priorities.
In my market, buyers typically want a basement. If there’s an additional bonus room elsewhere in the house, a basement is not needed. The priority in that scenario is a separate space that can function as a recreation room, man cave, or kid’s play room.
As you consider your current lifestyle and priorities, think about your future needs as well. The only “constant” in life is change. Nowadays, a lot of younger couples keep in mind that they may have to take care of an aging parent and/or grandparent. Some other things to think about in the future are income changes, children, work environments, and more. These future needs may not warrant more rooms or more space, but thoughtful consideration of how spaces can evolve with your family. For example, a formal living room could morph into a kid’s play room and then change into a first floor master bedroom. If there’s some foreshadowing that those needs may arise then a transformational room may be required. Some rooms can serve multifunctional purposes as well.
The last thing to consider is your finances. Not just “can you afford the price increase to jump from a three bedroom home to a four bedroom – but are you able to afford the upkeep on a larger home?” The utility bills will be larger, there will be more interior space to clean, more exterior surface to maintain, and typically more yard to take care of. Some of the numbers may not be easily calculated so you’ll need to do your due diligence to find your comfort level.
It’s easy to try to keep up with the Joneses. It’s especially evident as you’re shopping for a home and thinking through the size of the home and how many bedrooms you want. Thinking through your current lifestyle, your priorities, future needs, and finances will help you to best evaluate what’s too much and what’s not enough. Defining how much space and how many rooms you need will help narrow down your search and find your perfect home. Be sure to use it in the advanced settings as your search through Homes.com.