Many pros, cons to upsizing to a new home


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Roger and Tina Williamson look over the plans for their Plantation Point home in Rockledge with Realtor Diana Roca. Roca was instrumental in helping the Williamsons upsize to a larger home

Ernest Arico

There’s been a lot of talk about downsizing — moving into a smaller home as you grow older. However, if you’re just starting to see your family grow, the opposite — upsizing — is much more relevant.

As your assets, family and lifestyle needs increase, you might find you’ve outgrown your home and need more space for your day-to-day living.

Upsizing isn’t as simple as it sounds though — from increasing your mortgage to maintaining a larger property, there are many factors to be taken into consideration before you upgrade.

Moving into a new, larger home has some undeniable benefits. Having more space allows you to give your children the space to grow both physically and socially. It can also impact your own social lifestyle as adults.

A larger home can give you working space for personal projects or developing your own business before you have the startup capital to acquire a commercial space.

Upsizing also can have tangible financial benefits in the future. In a positive property market like Brevard County, your home’s value might appreciate over time, leading to considerable revenue when you go to sell. The windfall from this sale can help to free you from your mortgage later in life and, if the right condition are met, allow you to contribute to your superannuation.

According to the website — realtor.com — there are six things to keep in mind before leaping into a larger home:

1. Think critically about your goals. Before you hit the house hunting trail, take a moment to pin down what you really, actually need. For example, how are you actually going to live in this bigger house? Why do you want a bigger kitchen? Listing your goals will help you prioritize. Is the idea to accommodate your traditional nuclear family, or do you need to make rooms for seniors and young adults coming back from college? Is open concept right for you and your family? It sounds great to watch the kids when they’re little, but you’ll get a lot of noise as they get older, real estate experts say. In other words, have a plan and find a home that works into it.

2. Determine whether bigger is truly better. Before beginning your search, consider not just the home’s square footage, but also the layout. What people want and need isn’t necessarily what builders are producing. You might think you’re getting more space, but if that space isn’t useable or feels tight, does it really help you in the long run?

3. Buy only the space you’ll use. Before you move forward with your upsizing plan, you should make sure the rooms or features in the larger house will actually be used.

4. Crunch the numbers. Are you prepared for the real financial burden of upsizing? Remember, it’s not just the sticker price on the house; it’s the long-term costs associated with it. When you go up (in square footage), you get higher property taxes, higher utilities and more maintenance. And acquiring more rooms means shelling out for more furniture, too. Make sure you can afford to move up without becoming “house poor.” You can prevent this sad fate by using online affordability calculators to figure out how far you can stretch your dollar. Or talk with your lender to get the big picture on the costs of your move.

5. Consider the resale value. Upsizing now can mean a tidy profit later if you choose your home and location wisely. Sure, you might think that once you’ve found the right size home, you’ll stay forever. But you might find yourself downsizing a few years from now. As with any home purchase, look at your potential new place through the eyes of future buyers. Keep the latest buying trends in mind as you scope out listings, and your new home could pay off down the road.

6. More space might mean buying in a different neighborhood. After you’ve predicted the future, don’t forget what you learned from the past: It’s all about the neighborhood. Perhaps your starter home is in the perfect up-and-coming community — close to work, retail stores and restaurants. But having more room to spread out often means spreading farther away from the place you want to live. So make the choice. Are you willing to move to a different neighborhood — one that might be far from where you live now?

Diana Roca, a real estate agent in Brevard County since 2011, and who works out of the Coldwell Banker Residential office in Cape Canaveral, said her top priority is finding out the client’s needs, criteria and lifestyle.

“I make it a point to have the client describe a lifestyle they want,” said Roca, who also is certified with the military as a relocation associate and as a senior real estate specialist. “Is their lifestyle cooking, entertaining, gardening? Knowing what the client’s needs are makes it a lot easier in finding the home they’re looking for.”

Roca said once she receives that information from the client, she starts sending them pictures of properties and homes that may fit their needs. “I ask them to give me feedback on what they like and don’t like” she said. “I don’t want to waste people’s time.”

Roca said one of the new issues facing real estate agents today is dealing with the “sandwich generation” of homebuyers.

According to the website seniorliving.org, as the elderly population grows and a new crop of young adults are financially struggling to attain a solid financial foothold in trying economic times, individuals “sandwiched” between aging parents and adult children are referred to as “the sandwich generation.” They are often put in the position to care for both their children and parents simultaneously, and this support is often both emotional and financial.

This rising demographic already accounts for about 47 percent of adults in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have a parent 65 or older and are also raising a youngster or supporting a grown child. In fact, one in seven of these adults are financially assisting both their parents and one or more children.

“You really have to know what the client wants in that situation,” Roca said. “You have to be honest with the client. You have to tell them, listen, you’re not going to find something in that price range. It’s a learning curve for them. They’re not going to believe you until you show them.”

Tina and Roger Williamson of Rockledge can relate to the “sandwich generation” issue.

In April 2017, the Williamsons were living in a 1,358 square-foot home in Port St. John. The problem was — so were eight other people — her daughter, boyfriend and child; her son, wife and child; her elderly father and her ill sister from West Virginia. There also were five vehicles.

“We really needed to upsize very quickly,” Tina Williamson said. “We knew exactly what we wanted.”

Today, the Williamsons live in a 2,900 square-foot home in the Plantation Point subdivision in Rockledge. The house has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a two-car garage, swimming pool, a large patio, breezeway and mother-in-law suite.

Although her father passed away in late 2017 and her sister returned to West Virginia, the Williamsons don’t mind the bigger house now because when family members come to visit, they have plenty of room to accommodate everyone.

“We got ourselves back to normal,” she said. “We were used to that lifestyle.

Tina Williamson also credited Roca for finding the right home. “She knew about our situation,” she said. “We had long conversations and she (Roca) was determined to find what we liked, that fit us and that we were comfortable with. It was more personal for her.”

What should you do? Tina Williamson summed it up best: “You’ve got to love the property you’re moving into,” she said. “When you walk in (the house), it should fit you

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