7 Added Costs That Come With a Bigger House


Like most things in America, the size of our homes is expanding. According to data collected by Zillow, the median size of a detached single-family home has grown 24 percent since the late 1990s (from 2,100 square feet to about 2,600 square feet).

The trend isn't surprising. After all, bigger, better, more is part of our national identity — along with reality TV, free refills, and sweatpants that look like jeans. However, if you're thinking about buying a bigger home, proceed with caution. The added expenses go far beyond a steeper mortgage. Here are the extra costs that come with a bigger house.

1. Property taxes

There's usually a correlation between home size and home value. And since more valuable homes are assessed higher property taxes, expect to pay more. While tax rates vary by jurisdiction, most homeowners pay about 1.2 to 2 percent of the property's assessed value in taxes each year.

2. Homeowners insurance

Again, assuming that larger homes are worth more, expect your insurance premium to grow with the size of your space. Though there are many variables and deductions, plan on paying about $4 in premiums for every $1,000 in appraised value. For example, a home that's worth $200,000 could be insured for approximately $800 annually. (See also: 7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home)

3. Utilities

Don't forget about those frigid winters and sweltering summers. With more space to heat and cool, your utility costs are likely to rise. Before you buy, have your real estate agent ask the current owners what they typically pay for electricity and gas during peak months. This will give you an idea of how much you can expect to see those costs jump. (See also: 34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill)

4. Maintenance and lawn care

Larger houses are usually situated on larger lots, and that equates to higher landscaping and lawn care bills (or more time and more tools if you do it yourself). Additionally, maintaining a larger home can be more expensive — think more rooms to clean, more windows to wash, and more exterior surface to scrape and paint. Be ready to commit a significant portion of your days or your dollars to keeping the new place looking sharp.

5. Repairs

What grows with the size of your home? Your repair budget. More bathrooms mean more toilets to back up and more dripping faucets to fix. Have a foundation problem, electrical issue, or a roof to replace? Get ready to upsize your spending. (See also: 10 Simple Household Repairs Every Frugal Person Should Master)

6. Furnishings

Unless your style is "empty chic," more house means more square footage to furnish and decorate. Artwork, window treatments, rugs, sofas, and beds (oh my!) — they can all add up to a few thousand dollars in no time.

7. Expectations

A curious thing happens when people move into larger homes: It's expected that they'll entertain more, host holiday parties, and serve as the hub for every family gathering. All that merriment costs money. Whether those ballooning expectations are internal or external, plan on adding a few extra bucks to the "entertainment" column of your budget.

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