Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

How Much House Is Too Much House?

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My wife and I both have good jobs and we’ve saved up enough for a decent down payment on a house. We’ve been doing a lot of on-line shopping in our city, so we’ll have a good idea of what’s out there when we start working with a realtor.

Where the arguments start is when my wife sees a house with room to grow into, but that we could just about afford the payments on right now. I’d prefer us to get something smaller that we could easily afford when we start a family and have other expenses we don’t have now. I could use some good arguments to help me make her realize I’m not just being cheap in wanting to start smaller. --- DON’T WANT TO OVERBUY

DEAR DON’T WANT TO OVERBUY: You’ve already raised a strong point in looking forward to a time when a growing family will change your budget considerably. But it sounds like your wife is also keeping expansion in mind by wanting something larger than you need right now.

I’ve never been an advocate of putting everything you have into “the dream house” when you’re just starting out. Maintaining some reserves allows you to furnish and maintain a home, plus provides a little peace of mind against unforeseen expenses.

I think you two should keep doing your homework and explore older, perhaps up-and-coming neighborhoods with houses that may not have all the newest bells and whistles, but that are in convenient locations, near good schools, with enough room for you to get a start on a family when the time comes.

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