Small Home: By limiting your house size to what you need, you can reap some very nice benefits.One of the key characteristics of simplified living is knowing what is enough. Enough possessions, enough money, enough everything. Today I'm going to go over some of the benefits of keeping your house size at the 'enough' level.
I've only been a home owner for about three years or so but I've already come to appreciate the benefits of having a small house. The benefits range from the financial to the personal and they all ring true with me. Here are the ones that I've noticed so far:
- Less Expensive to Purchase: In most cases, a smaller house is going to be cheaper to buy than a larger one in a similar location. Unless the smaller house has some pretty luxurious features, I'd say this is likely true in all cases.
- Lower Property Taxes: Property taxes can be calculated in a number of ways depending on your municipality. Two of the most common methods are based on your home's value and/or your home's square footage. Both of these methods will result in lower taxes for smaller homes.
- Cheaper to Heat/Cool: Smaller homes are cheaper to heat and cheaper to keep cool. There are two main reasons for this: smaller volume of air to heat/cool and lower surface areas which results in less heat transfer through the roof and exterior walls. All this results in lower heating and cooling costs while you live in your home.
- Less Expensive to Maintain: Smaller homes have less structure and as such are cheaper to maintain. If you replace a roof on a small home it'll be less costly than replacing a roof on a big home. Paint, insulation, siding, flooring, plumbing, electrical, foundation and everything else will be cheaper to maintain because of the smaller sizes involved.
- Easier to Clean: Less square footage means less sweeping, cleaning and dusting. This saves you time and hassle.
- Less Space for Clutter: If you find yourself tempted to buy a bunch of stuff that falls in the "fun-to-have-but-not-needed" category, the lack of storage space in your small home can make the decision to hold off a lot easier. Frugality can become a bit of a necessity after a while.
- Cheaper to Furnish: If you've got six bedrooms and four baths, you're going to have a lot more furniture to keep your home looking lived in. Fewer rooms means less furniture and fewer decorations leading to fewer expenses.
- Smaller Environmental Footprint: Firstly, there is the straight geometry of a 30' by 30' home taking up less space than a 100' by 100' one. Then you have all the other environmental benefits such as less materials used in the construction and lower energy consumption. Huge homes aren't going to be sustainable in the long run.
One Great Example
I've been a big fan of Walter Jeffries' blog over at Sugar Mountain Farm. He's just recently moved his family of five into a 252 square foot home that they built by hand over the past few years. Walter has done an amazing job of documenting and sharing the whole experience and I'd highly recommend you take a look if you have a chance.
His family is going to be taking advantage of all the above listed benefits in addition to having the immense satisfaction of having built their home together by hand. Amazing!
One Reason Why Bigger Might Be Better
If you've got a large immediate or extended family, there are likely at least one or two occasions each year when the extra space is nice for hosting visitors. If you feel this infrequent convenience offsets the benefits of small home living listed above, then you may want to consider a larger home. For me, we can all cozy up for a few days each year and enjoy the small home on our own the rest of the time.
So there's my take on it. Have I missed any other benefits or overlooked any major downsides of small home living?
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