“The mansion should not be graced by its master, the master should grace the mansion.”
–Marcus Tullius Cicero
“I think maybe ten years from now, I’m hopefully going to be, in like, Tahiti or something. Kicking back like in my huge mansion, if everything goes right, it’s all up to me.”
When my wife and I were looking to make our first house purchase, we consistently heard one refrain: “Buy more house than you need.” The advice-givers provided us with many reasons, including “when you have kids, you’ll be glad you had the room” (umm…we aren’t having kids), and “real estate always goes up.”
Here’s what happens when you think that real estate only goes up.
We found a very large house which, fortunately, was being sold by a builder going into bankruptcy, so we got it at a fire sale price. As a couple with no children, we did not need five bedrooms. There were rooms which we didn’t see for months. Colonies of moles could have sprouted up there and we would have never known.
In hindsight, we were lucky. We got out at the top of the market and moved into a two bedroom condo, slashing the living space in half. At that point, our outcome was a result of about 25% smart planning and 75% luck, and I might be overestimating the smart planning, at least on my part.
While, I don’t espouse the 100 square foot lifestyle, there is something to be said for buying less house than you think that you need.