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What’s Your Best Option for More Space?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020   /   by Troy Schlicker

What’s Your Best Option for More Space?

The pandemic and shelter in place order have changed all of our lives. Most significantly in the amount of time we spend at home. With many of us working and attending school at home as well as living there our priorities have changed when it comes to choosing a home.

The Harris Poll conducted a recent survey which showed that 75% of Americans who have started working remotely would like to continue to do so – and if those people didn’t have a commute as frequently a significant 66% would consider moving. The list of reasons that topped most desires to move were to have a dedicated office space (31%) a larger home (30%), and more rooms overall (29%).

Now that school has gone virtual for many families the need has only intensified for additional space. We are seeing buyers increasing deciding on homes further away from downtown areas as they look for more room and less congestion. In fact, nearly 40% of urban residents are considering leaving the city due to Coronavirus.

Not everyone is ready to give up their currently home and lifestyle completely and many are choosing to purchase a second home as a co-primary residence or for frequent getaways. Homeowners are feeling less restricted on where they spend their time and without the need for a commute five-days a week many desire to have a more frequent change of scenery after being stuck in such confined quarters for the last few months.

Have you been feeling suffocated in your current space? If so, you’ve probably considered what options there are for you. But which one is best? Would a bigger place or a getaway destination be right for you? Let’s explore the options to help determine which one might be right for you.

Why Buy a Larger Home?

Buying a larger home or moving up to a nicer is a great choice if you and your family need more space, want features your current home doesn’t have – like a dedicated home office, a different floor plan, or more entertainment and relaxing areas, or you want to move to a different location that better reflects your lifestyle.

The majority of move-up buyers decide to sell their current home to have additional funds available for the purchase of their new home. If you have a lack outdoor space or functional space for all the new activities you’re having to do in your home, buying a new/larger home could greatly improve your everyday life. Fortunately, mortgage rates are at historic lows which means that larger home has never been more affordable. You may be able to move-up without a staggering increase in your monthly payments.

Another major benefit of deciding to buy a larger home is that by deciding to spend your housing budget in one place you can afford for that place to be nicer. If however, you’ve been anxious to jet out of town for that vacation, a second home might be the right decision for you.

Why Buy a Second Home?

Once reserved only for the ultra-wealthy, a vacation or second home has become more mainstream. Sales of homes in resort or bedroom communities have been on the rise as urban residents look for places to escape the quarantine and crowds. With air travel on hold for the foreseeable future for most families, many are taking the travel budget and using it on a vacation home they can take advantage of many times during the year.

If you are preparing for retirement a second home might also be a great option. Purchasing your dream retirement home now will allow you to lock in these historically low interest rates. You will also start to pay down your mortgage and have the benefit of enjoying the perks of the home and area as a way to get away. The mortgage qualification process will generally be smoother and allow you to qualify easier while you’re still employed.

Another advantage with choosing a vacation home is the potential to offset some of your costs in the home by using services like Airbnb and VRBO to rent it out when you’re not using it. In some cases, you might even turn a profit. You will want to make sure to consult with a real estate professional or renal management company to make sure the property you purchase is in an area that allows these short-term rentals and for a realistic idea on what you can reasonably expect in rental income potential.

Which option is best for you?

When reading this you may think “I’d really like a larger home AND a vacation home!” But if you’re dealing with a limited budget (aren’t we all?), you will probably have to make a choice between the two. Here are three tactics to help you decide on the best course of action.

1. Determine Your Time and Financial Budget

Even if you meet the mortgage qualification to purchase a home it’s important to understand if you have the time, financial resources and energy to maintain it. This is a critical question to ask yourself regardless of the type of home you choose.

Most people realize that a vacation home will be double mortgage payments, utilities, taxes and insurance. It’s important not to forget the extra time and expense in maintaining multiple properties. Two lawns to mow. Two houses to clean. Two sets of appliances and home systems that can breakdown. A second home isn’t always a vacation. Being prepared to maintain the labor and costs need to carry two home is a commitment you need to be realistic about.

Of course, some larger homes require more work than a vacation home. If your move-up home is a fixer-upper, you’re likely to invest more time, energy and finances that if you purchase a small condo near a beach. It’s important to have an honest discussion about how much time and money you want to spend on your new property. Would a larger home or a vacation home first better given your lifestyle?

2. Rank Your Priorities

If you still are uncertain which option would be best for you, make a wish list of the features and characteristics that are important to you in a new home. Then rank those items from most to least important. This will aid you in figuring out your “must-have” features and which ones you might need to sacrifice. A few samples that may spark you are
  • Dedicated Home Office
  • Extra Bedroom
  • Pool
  • Exercise Room
  • Media Room
  • Closer to Family and Friends
  • Larger Yard and Outdoor Space
  • Best Potential Investment
  • A Shorter Distance to the Lake or Mountains
3. Explore Your Options

After you have figured out your priorities, it’s time to begin your home search. If you’re still undecided on a larger home or vacation home there’s help.

Contacting us will allow you to discuss your options and get expert advise to assess the pros and cons of both options for your unique situation.

It’s also possible to be set up on a property search for both larger homes and vacation homes in your area to you can see what’s available within your budget and get a better idea on which direction would suit you best. Often times viewing specific homes that fit your criteria and budget can make the decision obvious.


Whether you’re ready to make a move or need help weighing the options we are here to help you determine your current home value and show you local properties that fit within your budget. If your heart is set on a vacation home in another market, we can refer you to a quality agent in your dream locale.