This all might sound like an over dramatic infomercial. But the feeling is real: You’ve outgrown your home, and you need a game plan for what’s next.
While buying a bigger house is where you might jump to first, there are also alternatives to consider that might be the better move for you.
These are some of your options when the going gets tight in your home.
“Buy” more space in your current place.
Before leaping headfirst into a big move, ask yourself, “Is it really necessary?” Sometimes, space issues can be solved with a little organization and a lot of creativity.
If you’re stumped, here are a few clever ideas to try:
Hooked on hooks
Installing hooks around your home is a simple and inexpensive way to make use of previously unusable space in your home. Place them behind closet doors for brooms and mops, in your entryway as a coat rack, or even in your kitchen as a fun way to hang your mugs.
Focus on furniture
Make sure your furniture is scaled to the size of your rooms before throwing in the towel on your home. Often, dysfunction in your home is caused by furniture that is too big or is misshaped for your space.
Rethink the design
A space that feels too small can color how well you think it functions. Reexamine your interior design choices for each room. Choose elements that utilize vertical space and draw your eye upwards (think vertical stripes and long drapes).
Also, consider the cantaloupe rule. Any accessory or design element smaller than a cantaloupe will make the room feel crowded. Design responsibly!
Renovate your current home to fit your changing lifestyle.
How would you design your home if you were building it new? Once you’ve pictured it, there are two options that could make it a reality: Reimagining the space you already have, or expanding your home’s square footage with an addition.
As you and your family grow, your needs and lifestyles will likely change. You may be able to alleviate growing pains with an interior remodel. For example, if your kids have fully dominated the living room with toys, finishing your basement could add some extra space for a playroom (and some extra relief for mommy and daddy).
But if you’ve conclusively determined you need a bigger home, adding on more space to your current floorplan might be the better choice.
As you’re planning and completing this project, your own personal needs are paramount. However, there are a few other things to consider. First, make sure your planned addition is legal. Depending on where you live, there may be local regulations and zoning laws to follow when constructing an addition.
Also, don’t neglect what impact your project might have on resale down the road. Maximizing your payback will take some astute choices on your part, like doing your research and paying attention to popular amenities in your neighborhood.
Regardless of which route you take, refinancing your mortgage may be a savvy way to finance the project. You may be able to take the equity built up in your home and turn it into much needed cash. But be prepared before you pull the trigger on a refi.
Move on up by buying a bigger home.
When you’re feeling tight on space, the obvious answer is to buy a larger home – and it’s an appropriate one! But as you’re looking for a new place to settle down, you’ll need to forecast your needs as a growing family with an evolving lifestyle.
So when it’s time to move, ask yourself these questions first:
What do you need in the short and long term?
The current shortcomings over your current home might stick out the most. Look for a place that solves these problems, but also consider what your life will look like five years, ten years, or longer down the line. Buying a home to grow into may be a smarter financial decision and will potentially save you some effort in the future if your lifestyle changes.
If you have kids, how will this affect them?
As much as moving is meant to alleviate problems, it can also create some strain and questions – especially for your kids. School districts, timing, and location are all things to consider. Keep your children in mind and make sure to answer their questions proactively about the whole process.
Are you prepared to buy and sell at the same time?
It’s a new challenge you might not have faced before. No sweat: With a little preparation and insight, buying and selling simultaneously shouldn’t hold you back from buying a bigger home.
All in all, feeling the pinch for space in your current home might feel like an inconvenient nag now. But it’s a positive sign that you and your family are growing for the better, especially if you’re moving from your starter home to somewhere new.
And these new circumstances might require new solutions. That’s why it’s important to brush up on your mortgage choices before upgrading to a bigger place. Check out your different home loan options so you’re prepared for the next big step.