So maybe the kids are gone, you are nearing retirement, and it’s time to once again take stock of your life. A big part of this life reassessment is your home.
The amount of home space, floor plans and features one desires changes as the size and needs of our families change over the years. If the kids are gone and you’re close to hanging up the 9-5 job, you may be thinking about how much home you really need.
Deciphering Wants from Needs
A good way to determine what to buy—or build—is to really think about the rooms you use and the activities you enjoy at home on a regular basis.
Are the kids and grandkids visiting and sleeping over very often, or just a few times a year? Do you have a lot of dinner parties and formal affairs, or does the majority of your entertaining take place during the holidays or special occasions? If there if just one or two of you now, do you still need three bathrooms? Could you make do with a combo guestroom/office space?
A great way to approach the answers to these questions is to make a list of every room you have in your current house and its purpose, then compare it with a list of just what you need and see how they stack up.
Price is about more than just Money
In addition to determining what you need in a house, be sure to consider what it will cost you—both literally and figuratively.
Let’s look at costs first. The obvious factor here is that the price tag of a big home is generally a lot higher than one for a small home. Add to that the cost of insurance, maintenance, heating and cooling, electricity, water, and so forth, which raise the costs of owning the home even higher.
There are emotional, mental and physical benefits to owning a smaller home as well. For one, there is less to clean (I don’t know anyone who would argue that this isn’t a big benefit in itself!). The amount of maintenance required for a small home is less too, which also saves you money plus time and energy.
If the impact of our environmental footprint is important to you, consider the fact that less resources are required to both build and maintain a smaller home. And while we’re talking about the environment – what about the yard? If you’re downsizing from a sizeable lot with a huge lawn, lots of open green space, and oodles of trees, maybe just a small patch of grass in the front and/or back augmented by other accoutrement like a patio, rock garden, container landscaping, etc. would suffice.
And let’s face it – the more room we have, the more we fill our living spaces with stuff. These unused or unwanted things take up a lot of real estate—both in the house and in the amount of energy we place in holding on to them.
Remember, buying or building a house is one thing. But it’s best to focus on creating a home that really fits your needs.
In addition to her role as Co-Owner and Operator of HBC Construction, Chris is also Vice President of theHome Builders Association of Greater Kansas City