How Big a Home Do You Need?

First-time home buyers, and really any home buyers, often struggle with determining the best size for their new home. Thinking through realistic expectations before embarking on a home search can save a lot of time and heartache. True Homes is pleased to offer homebuyer tips based on our experience helping thousands of families move into homes that suit both their styles and their needs.

Homebuying Tips #1: Consider the Costs.

As a general guideline, most buyers purchase 600 to 700 square feet per person in the household. This number can vary drastically, however, based on lifestyle preferences, affordability, and even location.

Still, it’s a good starting place to consider how much you might spend, especially for first-time buyers with no previous experience in the market. For an initial budget estimate, just multiply 650 by the number of people in your household, then multiply that number by the average cost per square foot in your area.

Remember that purchase price is not the only cost of owning a home. Not only will a larger home likely be more expensive to buy, it may also cost more to live in, since costs for heating, cooling and maintenance will likely be higher.

One way to offset those costs is to choose a newly constructed home. A new, larger home can be even more affordable to live in than a smaller existing home that may not be built to today’s standards for efficiency. With True Homes’ True Green promise, our homes are 40% more efficient than existing homes.  Plus, the systems and appliances are covered under a home warranty. In the unlikely event our home buyers encounter problems in the early years of ownership, fixes will not be costly.  

Homebuying Tips #2: Consider How You Live

Think about how you will actually use your space. Many first-time homebuyers, especially, believe they’ll move into their new home and host lots of parties, invite out-of-town guests in for weekend stays, and spend time using every inch of their new home, inside and out.

Sometimes it works out like that. But many times, it doesn’t.

And even if you do invite visitors over for weekend stays, does it make more sense to purchase an extra bed and bathroom or to find a friendly bed and breakfast nearby? Will you really host dinner parties at home, or do you like meeting up in restaurants?

Similarly, that huge owner’s suite with a sitting area is brag-worthy, but if you use your bedroom mainly for sleeping, is that space really needed? Would it be better to have a larger kitchen or great room, where you spend more time?

As you’re planning your living space, make a list of rooms or spaces you need and would like to have. Include an approximate size and note about how you will use the space. Add those up to estimate the size of the home you would like to buy.

Homebuyer Tips #3: Consider the Home’s Style

Homes with open floorplans, like True Homes’ designs, typically fit more usable living areas into smaller square footage. Older home designs, with segmented spaces for each use, can feel smaller.

Similarly, higher ceilings, which are typical with new construction, make smaller spaces feel larger. Windows, including transom windows placed above doors, let in more light and add to a room’s spaciousness.

Similarly, think about how a home incorporates outdoor living. Patios, porches and exterior fireplaces can extend the living outdoors and make homes feel larger.

Homebuyer Tips #4: Choose a Flexible Floorplan

When touring the model home in a new community or looking at an existing home, consider how you will use a space rather than how that space is presented.

True Homes offers first-time buyers and others flexibility in their floorplans. For example, a media room can be made into an additional bedroom, or a storage area can become a home office.

Think about how you can adjust different spaces over time as your family’s needs change. You may not need to purchase extra space if some rooms can serve multiple functions over the years.

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