I remember when my wife and I first purchased our very first home. After years of renting in a tiny duplex we finally had a place to call our own. I was so proud – I told everyone and showed them pictures of our house. That was when a coworker looked at the picture and said, “That’s a nice starter home!” Thanks for the backhanded compliment guy! We spent years saving up enough money to put 20% down and we should consider this a stepping stone to another house? Which got me thinking. Is our house we have right now not good enough? Should we be working to get an even bigger place in the future?
Nope. I love our home.
Our house isn’t big. It’s about 1200 square feet with three bedrooms and one bathroom and a decent sized yard in a suburb of Los Angeles County. It’s not that big, but for the three of us it’s more than enough. Currently our third bedroom is our guest bedroom that also doubles as a changing room and closet. Does that sound like a small house to you?
Bigger House = More Expenses
I don’t need much to be happy. I just need my two girls. To me, a bigger house just means more expenses. I just see more furniture, more clothes, higher mortgage, more expensive bills, and more space to decorate and fill with crap. I enjoy the coziness of our current place. One end of the house is not too far from the other end. Although my wife will still text me from the other room to get her water 😉
Avoiding Lifestyle Inflation
My wife and I live a modest lifestyle. When most people move up in the world, they adjust their lifestyle to compensate for the added money, whether that be a bigger house or nicer cars. While that’s great for some people, that’s not what my wife and I have in mind for our future. We would want any extra money we make as we progress in life to go towards other goals such as vacations, early retirement, college savings, or investing in our future. A smaller mortgage allows us that flexibility.
I’d Rather Upgrade than Move
The biggest negative about our house is that there’s only one bathroom. I know it’s not ideal, but my wife and I make it work – I’m pretty sure my wife begs to differ :). If the bathroom does become a bigger issue in the future, I would rather spend $50,000 to add a bathroom than sell our home to upgrade to a new place and spend an extra couple hundred thousand dollars. I also don’t like the idea of restarting another mortgage.
I Want a Paid Off House
It’s a crazy thought, but I don’t want to live with a mortgage all my life. Can you imagine what you can do with your money if you have no house payment? I don’t want to just imagine it. I want to live it. And not just when i’m 70.
I just want to be clear – there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a big house. There’s nothing wrong with renting either. Home ownership isn’t for everybody. I’m not completely opposed to the thought of moving. One day we might change our minds and want to move to a bigger place. Our family might grow, we might get relocated for a job opportunity, we might eventually use our current home as a rental, or the neighborhood may get worse. Who knows, maybe in a few years we’ll have moved on. Until then, I’m perfectly happy enjoying my family in our “Starter Home”.