Business & Finance Renting & Real Estate

Buy the House That Fits - Even If You Can Afford More

With prices in some parts of the country slashed to 40% of their 2007 values, large and luxurious homes are now available to consumers who previously could afford only moderately sized homes.
But should you buy a huge home just because you can? I say no.
Instead buy the home that fits your family and your lifestyle.
Otherwise the house can become a financial burden and a drain on the time you'd like to be spending with friends and family.
The cost of maintaining a home goes up proportionately with the square footage and the number of luxury features.
After all, unless you seal off part of the house, you'll have to pay to heat or cool all the rooms - not just the ones you actually use.
And every one of those electronic gadgets is a toy that can break - calling for expensive repairs.
Maintenance is another factor.
Homes do need to be repainted.
Carpets need to be shampooed.
Windows need to be washed.
The more square footage, the higher the cost, if you must hire someone to do these tasks.
And if you don't hire someone - there go your week-ends and evenings.
Along with more square footage, luxury homes also generally come with beautifully landscaped, generously sized yards.
Those yards have lawns that need to be mowed and edges that must be trimmed.
Not to mention weeds that must be pulled.
Then, if the dream home comes with a pool or hot tub, someone will have to buy the chemicals and do the required cleaning.
And that's just the occasional work.
Someone also has to run a vacuum cleaner, a mop, and a dust cloth with regularity or the dream home will soon look like a "dream dump.
" You'll either be in for a lot of work or you'll need to be very wealthy so you can hire someone to do all this work.
Taxes are something else to consider.
If the county where you live has adjusted property tax values down to match market values, today's taxes might not be too bad.
But low prices won't last forever.
One of these days they'll start to climb, and the taxes will climb with them.
What would it do to your monthly budget if the taxes were suddenly an additional $100 or more per month? So buy the house that fits both your family and your lifestyle.
Then take the money you won't have to spend on payments and put it away as a cushion against the troubled economy.
When you have enough set aside to give yourself peace of mind, then decide if you should invest in something that gives a financial return - or on a trip that will make memories with your family.
That's also a good return on investment.

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