March 2018

Ready for more living space?

When you first moved into your home, chances are you wondered how you would ever fill up your new rooms. Now do you walk around wondering where all that glorious space went? Does it ever feel like your house is somehow … shrinking?

Situations like having kids, managing a home-based business or needing to care for elderly parents are just a few examples of life changes that can impact your housing needs.

But it's important to remember that, depending on where you live, the cost of a bigger home can dramatically increase your monthly mortgage payment. In fact, in most metro areas, upgrading to a home with an extra bedroom or bathroom can bump up your mortgage payment by as much as $447 each month.1 In coastal markets, that increase is even higher.

So before you make the leap to a home with an extra bedroom or bathroom (or more) — and the accompanying extra costs — here are three important things you may want to ask yourself.

 

3 Questions Before You Upsize

#1: What's your plan for the extra space?
Make a list of how a larger house would fit into your lifestyle plans to help you figure out whether you need a bigger home or should just make simple adjustments to the one you have.

#2: Have you considered the impact on your utility bills?
A larger house takes more energy to heat in the winter and cool down in the summer, so make sure you factor higher utility costs into your budget planning.

#3: How much time do you have for maintenance?
More space usually translates to a greater time investment as well — time spent cleaning, repairing and otherwise maintaining a larger property.

 

Once you've answered these questions, start thinking about how to revise your budget to achieve your goal of buying a larger home. To help you begin:

  • Watch our Better Money Habits® video to learn how to determine a comfortable price range. On average, it's a good rule of thumb to keep your mortgage payment at 28% of your gross monthly income.2
  • Use a mortgage payment calculator to help you estimate how much money you can afford to spend each month on your mortgage.
  • Search for homes that fit your budget on the Bank of America Real Estate Center®.

 

Feel free to contact me for more information about homeownership costs, types of mortgages available and how to figure out what you can comfortably afford.

Sources:

1"Moving From a Home With 2 Bedrooms to 3 Costs an Extra $450 a Month," Zillow.com
2"Buying a home comfortably and affordably," BetterMoneyHabits.com

More from this month's issue