It’s not as small as a tiny home but gives you all the benefits of one.
When you think of a small space, you might think of the 500-square-foot tiny homes that have become a trendy option for those looking to really downsize. But there are benefits to living in a smaller home without having to live in a shoebox. Consider the 1,000-square-foot home. It’s smaller than the average house, but not so small that you need to subscribe to a movement to live there.
We spoke with homeowners who live the smaller life, along with a few design and real estate experts to uncover the benefits of trading in for a smaller space.
8 Benefits of living in a small house
- Choosing a small home can result in big savings
Making the jump to smaller digs could save you a lot of cash. “My wife and I downsized from a 2,000-square-foot townhouse with a garage to a small 950-square-foot apartment,” says Gerald Aguilar of Jupiter, FL, who wanted to save money to help launch his business. He estimates that the move saves him about $400 a month, thanks to cheaper rent and “minuscule” utilities.
- Utility costs for a smaller home will be lower
“The cost of insurance, taxes, heating, cooling, electricity, etc. will always be less in a home [that’s] 1,000 square feet or less,” says Than Merrill, former host of A&E’s Flip This House and CEO of FortuneBuilders. While other factors affect insurance and taxes, utilities are the guaranteed place to save. Merrill says that, on average, the electric bill for a 1,000-square-foot home is approximately $200 per month less than the electric bill for a 3,000-square-foot home. And if you’re going the condo route, you can save big on maintenance fees. “Since most association fees are calculated on square footage, the fewer square feet in a condo, the lower the monthly expense will be for the owner,” says Philadelphia, PA, real estate agent Holly Mack-Ward.
- Hot neighborhoods can be more affordable
“In a lot of cities, there’s a wealth of homes available in high-demand locations that are under 1,000 square feet,” says Mack-Ward.“Typically, to get into those ‘hot’ neighborhoods without getting into really high price points, you’re mainly going to be looking at condos or, in historical cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and DC, small row homes.” But for what a small home lacks in space, there is easy access to amenities if you’re centrally located. “When you have a gym two blocks away, you don’t need space for a treadmill; or a massive pantry when you can stop at the corner market every day on your way home from work,” says Mack-Ward.
- Maintaining a smaller home is just easier
“Anyone residing in a home over 3,000 square feet can attest to the fact that there always seems to be something going wrong. Whether it’s a leak in the guest room or a broken pipe in the upstairs bathroom, the fact is, larger homes require more upkeep,” Merrill says. Although few people can truly say they enjoy weekend home maintenance, a smaller house potentially means fewer things will go wrong in the first place. Merrill also mentions that even the big-ticket items like replacing a roof, redoing floors, and exterior paint jobs will take a smaller bite out of your paycheck.
- Cleaning and de-cluttering takes half the time
Not only are there fewer rooms to tackle, but also the home’s smaller size helps you cut down on clutter. “It really helps one declutter and just keep the real necessary things in life,” Gerald Aguilar says. “We also enjoy that there is not much to clean and [it] takes half the time to clean the new space!”
- Remodeling and redecorating costs less
“It is a plus to be able to splurge on a few pieces you love versus buying to accommodate a large house,” says Alex Caratechea, lead designer for Decor Aid. “With a large home, you tend to purchase a lot of off-the-shelf furniture just to fill up the space. With a small home, you have built-in limits [on] buying too much. If you remodel, costs are lower as well.” Just think of all the gorgeous wallpapers, granite countertops, and other luxe home upgrades you can indulge in.
- Hosting large groups and parties is still possible
Writer Jill Weaver frequently hosts parties in her 928-square-foot home near New Haven, CT. While the size of her home can limit the guest list, the home’s deck can accommodate larger get-togethers. “It runs the length of the house, and when I have people over, we bring out all the chairs, plus additional folding chairs,” she says. “I was never one for formal, large gatherings, so this casual style suits me just fine.”
- Downsizing can make the whole home feel cozier
There are times when bigger is better — but also when bigger just seems overwhelming. Caratechea recalls one client, a family that decided to move to a smaller place in their neighborhood (New York City’s Upper East Side). “They lived in a large apartment on Park Avenue and decided to downsize to save money and also to create a more homey feel,” he says. “The old apartment was so large and cavernous, and the large rooms felt impersonal and empty.” After the makeover, the new space “felt more intimate and more lived-in versus staged.”
Do you live in a small(er) house? Would you do it again? Share in the comments below!