Some people wind up staying in their starter homes forever. But many people who initially buy a smaller home end up moving to a larger one at some point in time — such as when they have children or simply decide they’re tired of being cramped. If you’re gearing up to buy a forever home, there’s a good chance it’ll be significantly larger than your starter home. And in that case, your mortgage costs will probably go up, since a larger home generally has a higher purchase price. But here are some added expenses to account for as well.
A larger space costs more money to heat and cool. Be prepared for your utility bills to increase once you move to a bigger home. That said, if your forever home is more modern than your starter home, your utilities may not go up all that much, especially if you get a more energy-efficient heating and cooling system. Plus, individual appliances, like your fridge and washing machine, may be more updated as well.
The more property you have, the more it might cost to maintain it. Imagine you pay a lawn service to trim your grass. If you buy a forever home on a larger plot of land, you might pay extra for your lawn care. Similarly, having more interior space could mean having more fixtures and features to tend to, so prepare to fork over additional money for upkeep.
If you buy a new home with more rooms than your old one, you probably won’t want those rooms to sit empty for long. Think about the cost of furnishing a larger space and how you’ll manage it. Many stores will let you finance your furniture by paying it off over time, but you’ll need to be careful not to rack up too much interest in the process. Either way, furniture is yet another expense you’ll need to grapple with.
When your home is on the smaller side, it’s easy to argue other people are better off hosting holiday gatherings, parties, or other social events. After all, who wants to squeeze around the table in your tiny dining room? But if you upsize, you may have to step up and do more hosting. The result? Higher food costs and other expenses. Be sure to factor those into your budget as part of your forever home plans.
Outgrowing a starter home is natural, and it may happen a couple of years after you close on that first home or longer. Once you decide you’re ready to buy your forever home, make sure to plan for all of the costs involved. The last thing you want to do is take on too many expenses and struggle to keep up with them after the fact.