All of us have our own dream house in mind, but the house haunting almost always creates a gap between expectations and reality. Location and size are the two major considerations, and the fact is that they usually don’t go hand in hand.
The situation in which you find a house you absolutely love in the neighbourhood you’re not quite satisfied with, is quite common. Or it could be vice versa. Either way, this means you’ll have to prioritise between the two.
There’s no straight answer to which of these aspects is more important. As much it is about your personal taste it’s also about your actual needs and capabilities, so there are some questions you’ll need to ask yourself before reaching the final decision.
HOW SOCIABLE ARE YOU?
Of course, we’re all social to some extent, but the real question is, how do you prefer to spend your free time? If you’re a person who likes hanging in cinemas, clubs, bars, or malls, then location probably plays a bigger part in your decision. If it’s all about crazy nights out and there’s no large family in need of privacy, a centrally located studio apartment could be ideal.
On the other hand, if you’re more of a loner who prefers spending time indoors, then location probably doesn’t matter that much. And if you have a lot of indoor hobbies, then prioritising size will certainly keep you grounded and enable you to fully express yourself.
Not all social animals are all about outside entertainment – maybe you prefer entertaining family and friends at home. Then size is certainly more important, but you should also consider the fact that people are usually reluctant to go to home parties that are too far away from the city.
There’s also a question of community – your neighbours are people you’ll need to interact with, so it’s important to pick them carefully. Again, it’s mostly the question of quietly established traditions versus a lot of public activities. This consideration is especially important if you have kids cause they’ll be the ones growing up in this environment.
ARE YOU READY TO COMMUTE?
If you have kids, then the primary concern is getting the best education for them. So finding the best school district pretty much gives an advantage to location. You could opt for driving your kids to school every day, but what if the house is far away from your workplace, too? That could certainly be too much to commute, both in terms of cost and stress that could easily pile up. And you shouldn’t be thinking only about the distance to your current job. Jobs come and go, and today they usually last only a few years. That’s why you should also consider the proximity to general employment centres so you wouldn’t be forced to move in search of a potential replacement job.
HOW BIG IS YOUR FAMILY?
If you have a large family, prioritising size over location is simply practical. You know the needs and preferences of your family members and you know that you can’t all be squashed together inside a tiny house. You already know how much stuff you own and how much room you need for it. If you’re planning to start a large family in the future, don’t wait for that future – you need to opt for size in advance so you’ll be able to accommodate all without moving.
The thing with families is that they can also grow without planning. Maybe you have a lot of stuff and you can easily get rid of half of it, but if you purchase a bigger house you could keep it for the future. New furniture can be very expensive, and you won’t have to sell or give away things that hold some emotional value.
IS YOUR FINANCIAL CALCULATION CORRECT?
Every home buying process starts with finances, but many people fail to look very far into the future. Before you conclude that size is more important for you, be aware that large houses cost more than people initially think. The cost doesn’t end with the purchase and you need to have enough money to maintain it monthly afterward. Maintenance is not just cleaning the house in terms of kitchen, bathroom, and toilet. It also extends to the space around the house including garage, garden, drainages, etc. Among all that there will be things you’ll need to replace and fix occasionally and, if your house is really big, you’ll probably need the help of professional services in some cases. Realising that you can’t afford all this month after month after the purchase will put you in a nasty situation.
As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all verdict. We all have personal preferences and tastes, but what comes first are the needs and capabilities. So taking the time to answer these questions is crucial before reaching the final decision.