I got this question the other day, “You’ve always talked about valuing a small home. Why did you decide to get a large home?” I thought I would answer it in a blog post, because it was a great question that some might be wondering too. And answer the question “how many square feet is your new home.”
I do value small homes. I value ALL homes.
What I value most is loving the home you have no matter what it is. We are drawn to older homes that need love, a home we can make better than before. When I started this blog we happened to live in a small 1950’s home. So I shared all about that home and how to make the most out of it. Now we are remodeling a bigger 1970’s home and I am going to share about that home. Both have stories to share!
To be honest, when we moved to Connecticut if we could have comfortably afforded a larger older home in the location we wanted or found a home we liked that just happened to be bigger, we would have bought that home. We weren’t concerned about the square footage at all, and we weren’t looking to downsize. We were looking to find a home we could comfortably afford in a location where we wanted to live, and home that we could make better than before. That home happened to be our 1100 square foot cape.
In a smaller home it is a challenge to make things fit, so I would often share that we were a family of 5 living in 1100 square feet. In a larger home, it isn’t a big whoop to say all you can fit in that space, because it is much easier to do! We didn’t even have a garage in our Connecticut cape. Because I know you are curious, I will share the square footage of our new home, even though I was going to keep it private. We didn’t buy this Utah home because of the square footage, we bought it because it was in the neighborhood we wanted to live. I share that because I think that should be priority over square feet. When we bought our Utah house it was about 4k square feet, 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, it had a partially finished basement. Not sure the exact square feet with our addition, but it is now 6 bedrooms and has 6 bathrooms.
One of the most important things for us in our home buying journey is being able to comfortably afford it. When we bought our Connecticut home we did take out a home loan, we were approved for three times the loan that we took out. Often the bank approves you for a home loan that they think you can afford. But they don’t take into account that you want to be able to furnish the home, put your kids in activities, pay tithing, make donations, travel etc. No. Often people enter into a home loan that make them “house poor” and not able to do those things they want to improve the home or contribute to their family life.
We bought our first house in our first year of marriage. We were both big savers and smart with money. We could comfortably afford our first home, even though we could have taken a loan for a home double the price. I was working full-time and Kevin worked part-time crazy early hours while he was going to school for his masters. When he graduated we didn’t have any school loans. We were able to pay cash to finish the basement, finish the landscaping and add a lot of character. When we sold it, we made almost double what we bought that home for.
With our Connecticut home we had money saved up that we could invest right from the start to make major remodel changes, instantly adding value to that home. And we continued to invest into that home every month while paying off our loan. After living in that home for 6 years and putting in a lot of work, we were able to sell it for more than double what we bought it for.
Hard work, paying the Lord first, saving and not living beyond your means do pay off. Even though this home in Utah is the biggest out of all the homes we have owned, that isn’t what makes me happy. What makes me happy is that we aren’t stressed about the price of the home and we can enjoy this house with our family and friends. You can have that no matter the square footage of your home.
If you are looking to gather inspiration for someone living in the exact same square footage as you, let me remind you that the size of their home shouldn’t stop you from getting ideas from the paint color they used, how they decorated their Christmas tree, how they make a fluffy bed, hung a gallery wall, made a meal, and most importantly made something better than before. So if you have a large home you can still be inspired by someone with a small home and vice versa.
If you are looking for Small Home Ideas- how to get the most out of your space. Check out my Small Space Living Series HERE.