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Is it better to buy a bigger home in an area that you don’t really like, or is it better to buy a smaller home in a neighborhood that you really, really love?

That’s the eternal question that many buyers face when looking for a home to buy in today’s real estate market. Unfortunately, way too many people purchasing a home make the tragic mistake of believing that size really matters, especially when it comes to the house they’re going to live in.

Their friends, their parents, even total strangers will say to them, “Buy as much house as you can afford because you’ll always grow into it.” The thing is, they’re not the ones paying the bills every month— you are!

Here are three reasons why purchasing a bigger home in an area that isn’t so great can turn out to be a big mistake:

Reason #1: You’ll go from loving your new home to hating it in the blink of an eye, and dread coming home from work every night.

A real estate agent was working with a newly married couple, first-time home buyers. They found a bigger home in a new subdivision that they fell in love with. The only downside was that the house backed to a major, busy road. They figured it was no problem because they didn’t really spend that much time outside, and besides that, how bad could the traffic noise really be?

Six months later they called the real estate agent about listing their almost-new home for sale!

Reason #2: A bigger home can break your budget for furniture and decor.

Think about it. All of that extra space will just be begging to have something put in it. Chairs, sofas, lamps, area rugs, wall coverings, pictures on the wall — all for rooms that you’re not going to use in the foreseeable future, or maybe not at all.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly decorating all of that extra space can add up.

Reason #3: Utility bills will cost more than you think!

When people look at a bigger home than they really need, they figure that they’ll eventually grow into it as everyone told them they would. Maybe yes, maybe no.

But until that happens you’ve still got to heat and cool the house, and cover the electric, gas and water bills as well. Not to mention the additional routine tasks like house cleaning, fixing things that break, and maintaining the outside of the house and the yard.

People always figure they can just close off the rooms they’re not using and shut off the air ducts to save on the utility bill. And that works, up to a point. But then they end up with overheated rooms in the summer, with hot air just gasping to escape into the rest of the air conditioned house, and frigid rooms in the winter.

Add up Reasons #1, #2 and #3 and before you know it there’s no extra cash left at the end of the month to do the things you used to enjoy doing . . . all because you bought that bigger house.

Let’s face it: who has money to burn?  Especially with home prices steadily climbing higher and higher, it makes a lot more financial and emotional sense to buy a smaller home that isn’t going to break the bank, in a neighborhood that you absolutely will love to live in.

Like they always say, real estate is all about location, location, location!