How to Know When You Need a Bigger Home
When you have a growing family, it can feel like there are always a million demands on the household budget. It's a reality that can make it challenging for families to consider spending still more money in order to move into a bigger home—one that might be spacious enough to adequately accommodate your brood and its variety of needs.
Eventually, however, there comes a time when you can no longer ignore the obvious: More room might actually be better for everyone's well-being. If your family has been putting off thinking about the issue of sizing up, here are some indications that it may be time to make the leap into a larger home.
Someone in the family has completely shifted to working from home
Countless Americans began working at home practically overnight amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And since then, many companies have announced that they intend to allow employees to continue working remotely for the indefinite future.
In fact, according to a report from the Pew Research Center, "the abrupt closure of offices and workplaces this past spring ushered in a new era of remote work for millions of employed Americans and may portend a significant shift in the way a large segment of the workforce operates in the future."
If this sweeping change includes someone in your family, there may be a sudden space crunch at home, not to mention a demand for a quiet space where work can get done (at least somewhat) uninterrupted.
"About a third of American employees shifted to working from home because of the pandemic, and some have to settle with a makeshift home office space that mixes with their personal space," Joshua Blackburn, a real estate expert and founder of Evolving Home, tells Parents. "Mixing your personal workspace with your home space is not healthy and can be a deterrent in having complete focus."
Blackburn hits the nail on the head. That just-mentioned Pew Research Center report also found that parents who are teleworking are having a harder time getting their work done without interruptions, noting that "half of the parents with children younger than 18 who are working at home all or most of the time say it's been difficult for them to be able to get their work done without interruptions since the coronavirus outbreak started."
If this sounds all too familiar, it's maybe a sign you need a house big enough to accommodate the new work-at-home norms of the COVID-19 era.
All the rooms are becoming multi-purpose or utility rooms
Similar to having a family member (or two) now working remotely, if members of your family of all ages are generally spending more time at home these days, and the home is being used for a variety of new activities—from homeschooling to Girl Scout meetings, to entertaining friends at home more frequently than before—you may want to think about looking for a larger space.
"If every room in your home has multiple purposes, for example, your bedroom is also being used as your study and a socializing room, you probably need to move to a home with a few more rooms," Volodymyr Barabakh, co-founder and project director of the design and build company Fortress Home, tells Parents.
Having different rooms for different activities helps you separate activities psychologically, says Barabakh.
You can never find a moment of quiet
Yes, many of these issues are intertwined in one way or another. But this challenge isn't exclusively tied to needing a quiet, dedicated workspace. It can also be linked to simply needing a place in your home where you can find some respite from the noise of general family activity or children.
"If you can always hear noises from other people in your home, then you may want to consider moving somewhere bigger. Although soundproofing rooms is an option, generally the best way to achieve quiet in your home is by having more space," says Barabakh.
It's beginning to cost the same as a bigger house
There's only so much room to store a family's belongings in an overcrowded home. Often, the solution many of us turn to in such a predicament is renting a storage unit—and then renting an even larger storage unit as the years go by. And then, before you know it, between the cost of the storage unit and your housing costs, your family could probably just pay for a bigger home.
"When you have so many items that you need to rent additional space, it may be time to move into a bigger house," Jeff Shipwash, owner of Shipwash Properties, tells Parents.
- Related: How to Tell Kids You're Moving
"Most climate-controlled storage facilities are well over $100 per month," continues Shipwash, who regularly works with many families that are upgrading to bigger homes—and who recently purchased a more spacious home for his own growing family. "If your current mortgage and storage payments meet or exceed the cost of a larger home's mortgage, you should consider a bigger home."
Your hobbies no longer fit your space
Though this may be somewhat further down the priority list when considering the family budget, it may be time for a somewhat larger home if the family hobbies can no longer be accommodated in your current space. Is there a carpenter in the family who needs more room, perhaps? Or an arts and crafts enthusiast? Whatever the hobby may be, a cramped home may be limiting the pursuit of such passions.
"Having a larger home, preferably with a basement, allows you to focus on hobbies such as home brewing, carpentry, and even gaming," Cristina Ortega, owner of Los Angeles, California-based Mrs. Property Solutions, tells Parents. "Another factor to think about is when you need more storage space. Smaller homes don't have a lot of room to store things."
Your family is growing
Children sharing rooms is hardly unusual for families. In fact, some kids actually enjoy splitting a room with a sibling. But that's not always the case. And if the family will be growing again in the near future, perhaps it's time to invest in the extra space.
"Adding more people to the house could make it more cramped," Anthony Martin, CEO, and founder of Choice Mutual tells Parents. "You might run the numbers on major fixes and remodeling to help determine if you'll save more money by buying a bigger house or remodeling."
Bear in mind, however, that remodeling your current home may be a bit of a financial risk if you run into problems that cost you thousands more than predicted. "For this reason, it could be more prudent to buy a bigger home that will fit your family's space needs without risking a financial loss in an extensive renovation project," says Martin.
Your kids don't have enough outside space to play and enjoy the outdoors
Last, but hardly least, having a yard for a growing family to enjoy is a big priority for many families, and understandably so. And with remote work becoming commonplace, families suddenly have the geographic freedom to pursue such priorities when a home doesn't fit the bill.
"If your kids want to play outside, but you're sharing a small yard with your neighbors, you might decide to relocate and get a bigger home," says Martin. "You can't build more yard space, so opting for a bigger home with a wide-open yard and privacy from nearby neighbors might be the right solution for you."