You’ve heard the arguments before. A couple is looking for a new house and they want to make sure their new home can accommodate EVERYTHING. Everything means a formal dining room, a home office, a playroom, and an extra bedroom (and maybe even bathroom) for their occasional out-of-town guests. If this sounds ridiculous to you, thank God! Because, it kinda is. Or, at least it is when you’re on the path to Financial Independence. When Mr. MMM and I set out to buy our dream home in early 2015, we, too, bought into the notion that we needed all this EXTRA SPACE. In fact, I refused to even search Realtor.com for anything less than 3,000 SF. Yes, 3,000 SF was the MINIMUM I was willing to settle for. Thankfully, fate stepped in and gave me a swift kick in the you know what.
The Appropriate Size
Fate comes in many forms. In this case, it came in the form of mold. There was a mold issue with the house we had contracted to buy. A mold issue that was not easily remedied. After countless sleepless nights, Mr. MMM and I decided to pull the plug and re-group. Read all about this fiasco here.
Re-grouping meant we got our heads out of our butts, realized we weren’t in our 20s anymore, and decided to take action to get our financial lives on the right track. And we started with the largest expense we had. Our home. Instead of continuing to search for a 3,000 SF home that would’ve completely derailed our financial future, we decided to love the home we had. We used cash to complete some upgrades and to finish an additional 800 SF of living space in our basement. Ultimately, we were able to take our 1,300 SF home and turn it into a 2,100 SF home with cash we already had. And wow, is it ever gorgeous – at least to us.
Wait, back up a minute. In between the 3,000 SF home search and our home renovation – we were still considering moving. However, we had adjusted our expectations based on our goals. One of the biggest factors we decided we weren’t going to do was to buy more house than we needed. We were determined to not fall into the trap of buying a bigger house just so we could host a holiday dinner or the occasional out-of-town guest. Do people actually do that?
In the end, we realized the home we were living in was the home we were searching for. So, we decided to keep love it, not list it. #HGTVfanatic
Let’s look at some of the areas we considered during our journey.
Accommodations For Occasional Guests
You have got to be kidding me. Yes, Mr. MMM and I are well aware of how convenient it is to have some extra space in the way of an additional bedroom or two to host occasional out-of-town guests. But I can tell you with 100% certainty that we will never (let me repeat, never) buy more house than we need to meet the lodging needs of occasional visitors to our abode.
Instead of buying a bigger house, maintaining a bigger house, furnishing a bigger house, and paying more taxes over the entire course of ownership, we would rather pay for our occasional guests to stay at a local bed and breakfast or hotel. Or if they’re adventurous, we’re not opposed to pulling out a spare mattress from our storage room and dressing it up with some fresh bedding on the floor in our family room. We have pulled this trick more than once with more than one guest, and let me tell you, it works wonderfully. Everyone is happy and we’re not paying for a bigger house than we need.
With that out of the way, let’s check out some other rooms that Mr. MMM and I decided aren’t necessities for our family…and might not be for yours, either.
Home Office? Eh.
Here’s one everyone thinks they need these days. But how many people actually NEED a home office? I am a full-time blogger now (on the side of my full-time W-2 job, of course) and I still get by without a home office. I craft my witty and intellectually-stimulating posts right at my kitchen table – just like I’m doing right now!
On the flip side, Mr. MMM does actually NEED a home office, because he works entirely from home. We finished our basement to include a space just for his daily happenings. He uses it relentlessly and often closes the door so he can work in peace. What can I say, sometimes Mini and I get to be a little much when we’re blabbing away about our days and he’s still entertaining business calls and emails.
That being said, unless you’re working from home on a daily basis, a home office is likely just not necessary. Don’t pay for the added expense. Contrary to popular belief, you can pay bills and shop on Amazon without a dedicated office. Don’t believe the hype 😉
Playroom? No Thanks!
This is an interesting one. I am always floored by how many parents think a playroom is absolutely non-negotiable. Growing up, I remember what playrooms used to be called… Bedrooms! There is no way any child needs an additional room for all their stuff. Mini has never had a dedicated playroom. She has always played with her toys in whatever room we were in. I’m fairly certain children just want to be around their parents and sibs – at least that’s how it works in our neck of the woods.
Formal Dining Room? No Thanks!
This is another one that we have forgone. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be absolutely wonderful to have a beautiful dining room with all the trimmings. But, I do know that for the few times of year we would use such a room, it isn’t worth the added cost. We do just fine using our kitchen table and long pub table in our family room when we host holidays for up to 20 people. Yep, we comfortably host upwards of 20 people without a formal dining room. And, we do it well!
Formal Living Room? No Thanks!
This was an easy one for us. We just don’t seem to be sophisticated enough to appreciate such a space. Instead, we prefer great rooms over formal living rooms.
And I’m pretty sure we’re not alone in our thought process here, since the majority of families use their formal living rooms for a home office or playroom! Oh, snap.
So, what did we miss? Have you ever purchased a home that was too big for your needs? Or, did you purchase only the space you needed? Or, do you completely disagree with us? Regardless of where you pitch camp, we’d love to hear your thoughts!