Skip to main content

House in Calgary.

RAW photography

From Wealthing Like Rabbits – An Original Introduction to Personal Finance by Robert R. Brown. Copyright © Robert R. Brown, 2014. Reprinted with permission of Redford Enterprises. www.wealthinglikerabbits.com

When you buy a house, you're going to be facing a lot of expenses, most of which you haven't faced before, above and beyond your new mortgage payments. Heating, electricity, insurance, and property taxes are just some of the additional bills that come with owning a house. All other factors being equal, the bigger the house, the bigger those expenses will be.

Regardless of how your house is heated, it would seem reasonable to assume that it would cost twice as much to heat (or air condition) a 3,200 square foot home than it would one that is 1,600 square feet. But, as reasonable as this seems, it's incorrect; it actually costs more than twice as much. Yes, the larger home has double the space to keep warm or cool, but it also has more doors and windows that will allow drafts in during winter and cool air out during the summer.

Story continues below advertisement

On top of that, the larger home will have more exterior wall surface exposed to the outside during the winter months, which will make the house harder to heat. Circumstances vary, but it can cost up to three times as much or more to heat and cool a home that is only twice as big.

You can help keep these costs down by installing good quality doors and windows, but just wait until you see the price for installing good quality doors and windows. As noted above, a larger home would have more doors and windows to replace and these are often larger and more complex than those found in more modest homes. This will drive their price and the cost of installing them up even more.

Big houses hold more "stuff" than smaller ones. As self-evident as this would seem, people are often surprised by how much money they find themselves spending to fill up that extra space. Your property taxes are determined by multiplying your municipal tax rate (which varies from area to area) by your home's appraised value, which is largely determined by the size of your house and its lot.

A bigger house means a bigger property tax bill. Do you even need to contact your insurance company to know that a bigger, more expensive house will cost you more to insure?

We're going to talk more about home renovations later, but for now, suffice it to say that since hardwood flooring is sold by the square metre it is going to cost you more to install new flooring in a big room than in a cozy one. Ditto for any other renovations.

Not only that, but if you do decide to upgrade your smaller house you will inevitably find it's easier to afford the (less expensive) renovation with all the extra money you will have in your pocket from saving on things like heating, electricity, property taxes, and insurance.

Have I mentioned that I like small houses?

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter