The biggest piece of advice I hear all the time when it comes to buying a home is, “Don’t become house poor”. Listen, I totally agree with that one…to a point. We were the very definition of house poor when we bought our first home. So much so, we couldn’t afford a stitch of furniture to put inside and had to rely on hand-me-downs from family for everything from silverware to toilet paper. And bless my generous in-laws for treating us to a couch so we could stop eating dinner on our bed pillows. (Though it was kind of sweet and romantic for the first few weeks). In any event, I get the house poor point. But we have a bigger one.
Six homes in ten years later, a theme was brewing. We sold each with the goal of, “let’s get something a little bigger, we need more yard for the dogs to run and play, we need a better layout for entertaining, we need a guest room with its own bathroom, we need a larger master, we need space for a playroom…”. More…bigger…better. We weren’t entirely wrong, it is the American Dream after all. We did it in a smart way financially. Always building that sweat equity, doing the work where we could, and making good choices with resale top of mind. But. Here’s the lesson we just learned. Just now. Just today actually. Having more, sometimes means less.
Less free time to spend outside your home. Less patience for for mowing more lawn, for cleaning another toilet, for wiping on and wiping off hardwood polish on a thousand more square feet with blisters on your knees. And just because you can afford it, and it ticks off every box in your “more” category, doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you. So there goes the whole “house poor” advice. All we’re trying to say is, don’t become a slave to your house. You might love lingering at the Farmer’s Market every Saturday instead of a four hour scrubbing sentence. Weeding and pruning acres of gardens might sound idyllic when you read the little blurb on the app. But in real life, your nails are brittle and dirty, your back is aching from 30 yards of mulch and you’re so dead tired you can’t even cut a bouquet for your table.
So before you sign
your life away the purchase contract, remember that size really does matter, and that doesn’t just apply to thank goodness Jon isn’t behind the keyboard on this one costs. Consider what matters most to you. Think about how much time it takes you to do all your chores, your house maintenance. And take into account your daily routine, commitments, children’s activities, etc. When we’re talking about our long list of “mores”, time is the one thing you don’t get more of.