A few years ago, the Realtor® website weighed in with some ideas addressing a question that St. Cloud house hunters face all the time: what house size should they be aiming for?

I have one approach, but the Realtor.com team took another tack—posing five questions buyers should ask themselves. Here they are:

  • How long do you intend to live in the new house—and what will your family size be during that period?

  • Ask yourself, “do you really want to clean a large house?”

  • How expensive will it be to furnish?

  • Will maintenance costs strain your budget?

  • How important are your personal preferences? For instance, your desire for “coziness” may trump your wish for extra rooms to accommodate guests.

The five questions are all relevant—but there is a more concrete approach to dealing with your ideal St. Cloud house size:

Step 1: Measure your current living quarters. Get out the tape measure, list each room and measure it, wall to wall. Don’t bother with the hallways. Now, next to each room, mark a “+” for rooms that you’ve found to be unnecessarily large, “-” for those that have proved to be uncomfortably small, and “=” for those that have proved to be about right.

Step 2:  If you have experienced the need for an additional room or rooms, note them at the bottom of your list. If you currently have superfluous rooms, “X” beside them.

Step 3: You have probably already figured out what Part 3 is going to be—use all that information to make a mental checklist for your ideal St. Cloud house size. Note that I haven’t recommended adding them all up to get a single “square footage” number to match with the listings’ single figure. What will be more meaningful are the individual room sizes and the number of bedrooms and baths. Listings’ single “sq ft” number often includes less essential spaces. That number is more useful as a ballpark to compare listing-to-listing.

Even if it turns out that your room calculations point you toward unaffordably large properties, knowing what your own experience suggests will provide reference points that can’t help but make your house hunting efforts more productive.

There’s also another way guaranteed to yield productive house hunting: call me!


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