Confession – I used to want a big house, a really big house.
When I was pretty little, I thought it meant I was successful and that it meant I ‘had it together.’ It meant I had a job that was important and well paying. I might have even dreamt up a picket fence.
Now, in my early thirties, living in a gorgeous one bedroom apartment with my boyfriend (that we LOVE), I can’t quite imagine what I would do with a whole lotta house.
These days, I dream of a smaller layout for our future house – I still want enough space for three to four bedrooms (a master, upstairs bedrooms for the kids we want to have and one for an office/guest bedroom), but I no longer need these rooms to be oversized.
Because the truth is, I love that we know how to live with each other in a small space, not always talking or “being” with each other, but co-existing and actually living together. Secretly, I think I’m a bit scared of being spread out over all that space.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for quiet spaces where you can be alone and am definitely not condoning constant companionship and always being together, but rather, I’m building a case for a smaller, more minimal life.
If I have less space to store things, I’ll probably own fewer things. If I spend most of my time in our common space, chances are I get to also enjoy being with my partner, often quietly, each of us doing our own thing, but together in the same space – meaning, in our specific life, I share a deeper and closer relationship with my partner. And better yet, if I seek out a small home, chances are I can also probably afford it or at least won’t be house poor.
To be clear, I’m not talking about tiny homes as the housing future, what I’m talking about is smaller homes and more importantly, altering our expectations of our future homes…
So, with that in mind, here are a six reasons to consider a smaller home:
It’s easier to maintain (and you’re literally forced to own less stuff!): a smaller home requires less time, energy and effort to maintain, simply by being a smaller space. It also means you have less storage space, resulting in (hopefully) fewer things!
Lower environmental impact: a smaller home requires fewer resources, not only to build, but to maintain.
Less time CLEANING! YES! Period. End of sentence.
Wider Market Sell: a smaller, more affordable home is much more accessible to a wider range of the population, than a larger, more expensive home, meaning overall, it’s likely easier to sell.
More affordable (possibly less debt) and overall, potentially less risky: mortgages are generally based on the premise that we should spend 28% of our net income on our monthly mortgage payments (1). But if we had the opportunity to be more financially stable (and happier) by spending only 15%, for example, then why would we ever choose to spend 28%?
- “You can use 28% as your rule of thumb too when making a budget for buying a home. Here’s an easy formula: Multiply your monthly income by 28, then divide that by 100. The answer is 28% of your monthly income. The median income in the U.S. is $55,775. If this were your income, you’d make about $4,648 per month; 28% of that monthly income comes out to about $1,301” (1).
More time in general and more time together: who isn’t looking for more time. We hear it everyday, “I’m so busy, I have no time…” and bonus, more time with the people you love the most in the whole wide world.
It’s impossible to sum up all the reasons that would contribute to the decision to purchase a smaller house and your home is a very personal decision – only you know what will really work for you. BUT, it’s something to consider – especially if you’re looking at purchasing your very first home – and choosing a smaller home may in fact make you happier.
Three cheers for a ‘smaller life’ (I bet you never thought you would say that)!