When given the option and the funds, many current and prospective homeowners would opt for a sprawling mansion rather than a colonial property any day.
However, there's no guarantee they would need that much space. While you may not be choosing between an abode suitable for Donald Trump and another tailored to the average home buyer, you do have to think about the maximum amount of space you need.
Having room to expand is great, but you don't want to find yourself with empty rooms and an unnecessarily high mortgage bill a few years down the road.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to decide how much square footage you require:
Where do I see myself in five, 10 or 20 years?
When buying a home, one of your main concerns should be long-term goals. Although you're purchasing the property now, you'll have to live in it for years to come.
Do you plan to have children? Whether you're already a parent or just considering parenthood, you need to account for additional space. This includes determining how many children you want, which will inform how many bedrooms you should seek in a home. Plus, more kids could mean you'll want a separate play area.
Do you plan to move? If you don't expect to stay in a house for a long time, you may want to trade up to a bigger property down the road rather than splurging now.
Can I afford a bigger home?
Square footage is a sizeable part of a home's price. Additional space comes with higher costs, and this includes more than what you'll pay for your mortgage, homeowners insurance and property taxes.
Energy costs can be one area where you spend more money for a larger home. Bigger properties can take longer to heat in the winter, which means your furnace would have to work harder to keep the house warm. This translates to a higher energy bill.
Furthermore, maintenance expenses can be more extensive. If you ordered a home inspection and it revealed you need a roof replacement, for instance, the contractor's bill will be bigger compared to the same fix for a smaller home.
Do I want to be bothered with a large home?
Maintenance in a more expansive property also comes with a large time commitment. Are you prepared to clean a large house? Rather than take an hour or two on Saturday to sweep up and dust, you may have to spend five or six hours to clean all the additional space.
You can hire a housekeeper, but again, you're incurring extra costs.
Do I have enough stuff to fill the space?
If your list of furniture includes only a couch and bookshelf, you probably don't need a large house. Of course, people tend to grow into their houses - whether by accumulating more belongings or having more children. However, either solution may not be feasible if you're living in a house with a wealth of space. How long will it be before you have enough children and furniture to fill 10 extra rooms?
Does my lifestyle require more space?
Do you like to entertain and throw massive dinner parties and other gatherings? If so, more square footage is the way to go. You don't want your guests cramped together as they mingle.
Do you like to travel or have other reasons to spend a lot of time out of the house? If you're not home often, it may not be worthwhile to shell out extra funds for a big property.