Some thirty years ago, the average home and household size allowed for 675 sq. ft. per person. Today, that number has crept up to just over 900 sq. ft person. There a lot of ink spilled nowadays between the competing philosophies of suburban McMansions and minimalist tiny-house living. What’s talked about less, even though it matters more for our everyday happiness, is how these preferences and tastes can evolve throughout a person’s lifetime.


Sizing a Home During Every Stage of Your Life

By understanding how your personal preferences may change as you get older, you’re more likely to be happy in your current place and be ready when you recognize it’s time to move.


  • If the dream of homeownership hits you at an early age, while you’re still trying to get established in your career, then you might be willing to look at smaller dwellings just because any place you can call home is a place you’re going to love. Plus, you can always upgrade later.


  • When you start and grow a family, a bigger-sized home becomes more of a priority, if not an absolute necessity to keep your sanity. Chances are, your only limits are how much you can affordable in a location known for having good schools.


  • As you age as your kids launch their own lives, it’s often time to downsize. You probably aren’t as willing to tolerate DIY home repairs, cheap linoleum floors, and other oddities that you didn’t mind as a young, first-time homeowner.


Make Real Estate a Personal and a Financial Investment

Liquidity and mobility is an issue with homeownership, especially when you take into account realtor commissions and the lost equity that comes with selling a home. This isn’t an option for everyone, but if you’re looking further down the river at your retirement portfolio, you might be interested in real estate investment. It may sound crazy now, but rather than sell your home as part of downsizing or upgrading, you might turn the home into a rental property.


And crazy as it sounds now, one day you might even find yourself looking to move back into this former home. Sprawling ranch homes can be great for families with school-age children in which the parents want some distance between the master bedroom and the kids’ rooms. They can also be great for seniors and elderly folk looking to stay in their own homes as long as possible. In the interim, you might spend a decade or two as a globe-trotting empty-nester with a luxury condo as your home base.