As we continue our marathon of homebuilding, we’ve been motivating ourselves by remembering the initial reasons why we wanted to be (tiny) homeowners. Those reasons include financial freedom from renting; life simplification by only having what we need; and artistic expression of customizing our living space.
When I was watching “House Hunters” the other day, I noticed there are some recurring qualities that homebuyers prioritize; however, those prioritizes do not seem to result in the best financial decisions or net gain in happiness (i.e., happiness gained from the purchase minus the pains/disadvantages of the purchase). Below are some key reasons that motivated people’s purchase decisions on “House Hunters” – and why you shouldn’t make the same mistakes.
“It has a big yard”
Big yard = big maintenance. Unless you have young kids and rambunctious dogs, think twice about whether you’ll get your money’s worth out of a large backyard and a sea of lawn. The outdoors is pretty to look at, but your actual enjoyment of it is constrained by many factors including the weather, actually being at home, and the usability of the land.
“It’s better for entertaining”
You don’t need a hot tub, deck, or game room to host great parties. Sure, it’s nice to have groups over for get-togethers, but ask yourself how often this happens. Getting a bigger and better home won’t earn you popularity. Most homes – even tiny ones – can accommodate at least a few guests for dinner.
“It’s walkable to restaurants, shops, attractions, etc.”
This one baffles me. Unless you eat out all the time or need to go shopping and barhopping on a weekly basis, it’s not necessary to be within walking distance of downtown (especially in places where the weather is bad half the year). It’s a better financial move to live proximal to your work or places you visit frequently (like the grocery store). To me, it doesn’t make sense to pay a premium to live somewhere that’s going to tempt you into spending more money.
“It has more storage”
Instead of paying for storage, why not make space (and earn money!) getting rid of stuff you don’t need? Think about when you lived in your first apartment: you got along fine. Yes, having some storage space is good, but do you really need a basement, attic, garage, closets, and extra rooms?
“It doesn’t need updates”
So what if the appliances or cabinets are a bit dated? If you can live with it or fix it yourself, you’ll likely save thousands. Renovations don’t have to be complicated: there are loads of resources for how to make your house look better on the cheap and easy. You just have to put in a little time, and who knows, you might have fun with a fixer-upper!