To Buy a New House or Not To???

Updated on March 16, 2008
B.O. asks from Belgrade, MT
15 answers

I am a mom of 5 living in a small 4 bedroom house. We are considering upgrading to a larger house but it would completely blow our budget for what we need. We are outgrowing our current house very fast, would you suffer a little on the finances for a larger more comfortable home that worked for your family? Or would you stay in a small house and continue eating dinner in shifts because your whole family can't fit around the table at once?

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So What Happened?

Hey everyone, I appreciated all of your advise. It is so nice to know that others are in the same situation that I am in and understand. As far as remodeling the dining area, we looked into that and it would cost a fortune. Other than the dining area and the fact that I don't have my own bathroom in a house full of 5 boys, the house workd for us. The market in MT is slow but it is a buyers market and we are going to sell, put some of our equity into paying off debt, use the money that we are paying toward debt now and put that toward a mortgage. We will have a small down payment but feel it is worth not having credit card debt in the end. I am nercous about trying to sell our house because of the slow market but realtors assure me that our house in the price range of houses that people are looking for. As far as my kids sharing rooms, that's fine and works for our family. Anyway, thanks so much!!!

More Answers



answers from Lincoln on

I dont know how the housing market is in your town but from what I have seen on the news, its a buyers market and will be for a couple of years to come. You might find some great deals on bigger houses coming up. People are having the most choices in years as far as houses. If you wait it out and perhaps save more you might luck out in a big way!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Benton Harbor on

Its usually a good idea to buy a house if you are renting...but even I would be hesitant to jump into the housing market today if we were not already in it. Our intention was to upgrade before our last baby was born...well, he is over a year now and we haven't moved! lol It is frustrating to live in a house that is too small...but SO many people do it and end up instilling a strong sense of family in their kids without even knowing it. Often, forcing your kids to be close and look out for each other can teach them lifelong lessons and benefit their families down the road. I agree with the post that said to take that housepayment money and put it in an account each month first. That way, you are not bound by a mortgage (in case you have to miss) and you can really see if it is plausible. Worst case? You'll save up a good chunk of money for a downpayment!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Saginaw on

I dont suggest ever puttign yourself in a financial hardship. There are so many people losing their homes because they got in over their heads. Why not look in to putting an addition on? We will be starting renovations in the spring becasue we are in the same boat as you. We did TRY to sell our home last summer to no avail. We looked into equity loans and decided that putting on an addition is a much smarter idea. I woudl look around before you make your final decision. And be aware that if you put ypur house up for sale you cant get a loan if you decide later to go that way until after your house has been off the market for 6 months. We really screwed ourselves there!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Casper on

I would stay in a small house, it's a scary thing to put your family in a financial cruntch. I think the stress of money would out way the stress of having a small house. Use this time to save up, or put away money like you had a large house payment, but pay yourself instead:)I think getting a new house would solve one problem, but you'd gain another one, a money one.
Good luck with your decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I would rather be in a small house, which we are, then have nothing left over for a little fun time. Little note we are a family of nine living in a small 4 bedroom house, and sometimes have to eat in shifts also, not ideal but better then going without. We have considered moving but with the economy the way it is we have decided to wait a while and see what happens, although we believe my husband has job security, it would be ashame to find out that maybe he really didn't.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

This is one of those questions only you can really answer. But here are some things to consider...
Are you absolutely miserable in your current home or is it simply just annoying that it's not as big as you'd like?

How much of a sacrifice are you truly willing to make? Does it entail going out less and not being able to be fairly "carefree" in your spending or will it be so tight you can barely make ends meet because of our house payment?

How much do you have for a down payment and/or what can you get out of your current home (I think overall, the housing market is in a slump but it doesn't necessarily mean it is where you live)? If homes are selling slowly in your area, you may want to consider trying to save as much as possible for a bigger down payment and maybe home prices will continue to drop (but that means your current house value may drop, too).

Is it simply the fact that you can't eat dinner together? I think your kids are so young, that they probably don't mind sharing rooms.

Can you really afford a house that's big enough to grow into or would you just be buying something as an "interim" home?

We moved a year ago into a house that is bigger than our old house. The rooms may be bigger, but the kids are still always in the family room and kitchen. It really hasn't changed much other than just having more room for our things. But the house we bought is the house we plan on staying in and we had a sizeable downpayment from the equity in our other home.

Anyway, there's lots of things to consider and I'm sure I just touched on a very small amount of them. Good luck in whatever you decide.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I'd like to think there are more options than those two you listed, I would never put my self straped to a house, Maybe if there are some creative ways you could remodel your dining area, (I watch lots of TLC and HGTV and see ideas how to utilize small spaces),
Maybe you could make a budgeting plan and save for a larger house, put away the money you would use toward a larger payment if you can afford it and when you have enough money for a down payment to offset the difference, then move. but if you cant afford it, then you dont have to worry about loosing your home.
There are so many mony saving stratigies, maybe you can look into some and find ways to save extra money for a larger home.
Who knows, if you start saving now, when your twins are in school, you could get a part time job and earn extra money to go towards a bigger payment and already have a nice down payment.
GL on what ever you decide.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

If you are able to wait it out, I personally wouldn't try to upgrade right now. Especially if it will tax your budget. I was a stay at home mother until about two years ago when we decided to upgrade our home for a larger home. We made the mistake of buying before our 1st home was sold and it never has sold. We now have renters in our first home and it doesn't cover all the expenses. Which is why I no longer am able to stay at home. Granted, my children are all finally in school full time but the aggravation of not being available when I am needed is a burden to both my kids and my husband.
But... if you are renting and don't own, you may be able to find an investor out there dealing in foreclosures. So many houses are sitting empty because people cannot afford them or they have lost their jobs that banks are willing to take quite a loss on them to unload the many that they have. We actually picked up our second home this way but by the time we got it we had to sink almost all of the equity back into it to get it livable. I love my home but will never buy another house until I have sold the one I am living in!
My advice, crunch your numbers to see where you can cut corners, look at the houses in your price range and don't be afraid to haggle with them. It is indeed a buyers market! But don't tighten the belt so much you cannot enjoy life or the wonderful children you are blessed with!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Great Falls on

There are some great first time buyer programs available in Montana. If this is a first buy, check them out. Talk to a realtorand they can help you with that, also talk to a loan officer of your choice and see what they suggest. There are lots of options out there. Don't bite off more than what you are comfortable with. Make sure you can afford it, that is the first thing. Getting prequalified lets youknow what you can afford and it does not commit you to anything. ( yes, I work for a realtor)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on


I would go shopping for a new dinning room set, much sooner than a new house. If you would like you family to have a meal together, I'm sure there are some options to use the space you have more efficiently.
I wouldn't over extend your family financially. You never know what unexpected expenses will need to be met. With (5) beautiful children your bound you have quite a few. And in my opinion, it would be better to have a nest egg for a rainy day than to pinch every penny and worry about not being about to make a car repair, or get new clothes as the children grow and need specific things for school.
New table and chairs would be cheaper than a couple of months worth of huge mortgage payments. Maybe you could even use a different room of the house for dinning, depending on how important this issue is for you, which if you are considering a new house, seems significant to me.
Kind Regards,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

You may want to look at some financial information by Dave Ramsey. He suggests that it is more comfortable to live in a home far below your income in order to save $ for a better home in the future while also getting out of any debt you may have. You will be much more comfortable knowing that you have a budget and money in the bank than having more square feet that belong to the bank! We are using his advice and are so grateful for the financial help, we hope to eventually completely pay off our mortgage and use it too build wealth for our family.

Best wishes and good luck with everything. (Our family of six lived with my parents and 5 high school- adult siblings in a 6 Bedroom 3 bath home until we could find a house we could afford. It was definitely worth the wait!)


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rapid City on

Hey B.,

Go for it; I would do it. I am a firm believer of the family should sit together during dinner...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Duluth on

I'm in your boat with 4 boys and a home that is too small and it doesn't provide the family life I want my kids to grow up in. My house is in the right price and size range to sell, is yours? It may be you could get a great price for your house-talk to a realtor and check to see what is selling.
I won't add on to my house because I can get a bigger better house for less than an addition. With 4 little ones I'm not the type to be comfortable with months of disruption and costs spiraling out of control by shady builders.
I'm looking for a home that may need some work that can be put off a bit. I sell on ebay (even my old work suits!) and rummage sales to help the family budget and we don't go out to eat or do expensive activities, buy from Goodwill, have 2 cars from 1998 that we keep up well.
We just split a 1/2 cow with friends (1/8th) and it cost us only $2 per pound! I trade clothes with friends and check my medical expenses very carefully. We are now looking at our insurance again as well.
With 1 1/2 yr old twins + the rest you likely have no time to make $, as I found that working cost us in the end between childcare and work related expenses.
Upside to consider: Buyers market and lower mortgage rates.
If I were you:once the kids are out of diapers you might be able to do some work from home type $ contribution. I wouldn't sell the time with my kids for anything. Do your best to save now, the housing market will only continue to drop for the next 5-10 years.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lansing on

Hi Billie Jo!

I do not have as large of family as you, but we have been in your shoes. 5 years ago we built a house, and it was a stretch for our budget, but we are a family that has fun being together doing things that are cheap around town, so for us it was a good decision.

So, ask your self--would you mind cutting back on other things for a new house? Have a family conference and see how everyone feels. It is a buyers market, so you may make out well, although you might have to take less on the home your in now.

GL on your decision, and let us know what you do!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

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