Home-Buying: The Minimalist Process
When purchasing a home, it’s best to get the most for your money. For this reason, people migrate from coast to coast looking to get more bang for their buck. But how often do people stop and think whether or not their three-person family needs 5 bedrooms, 4 ½ baths, an acre of land (front and back) with a picket fence to match? Your money may stretch long enough for your dream home, but does it need it to?
As I live this minimalistic lifestyle, I’m constantly questioning the ins and outs of my purchases. That wasn’t always the case for me when making one of the largest purchases in a person's lifetime, a home. Initially during the home-buying process, I never considered a condo. I thought, what’s the point of getting a condo if I could get a house for the same price. The more space, the better, right? Like most things, more is not always better. It’s about what fits the needs and desires of your situation. I didn’t take into consideration the unforeseen costs such as landscaping, time spent cleaning, furnishing, and repairs.
Cost is a major factor for anyone buying a home. Even with financial stability, a financial cushion is equally essential. There are multiple ways to build that cushion during the home buying process:
- Live with family.
- Set aside your ideal mortgage amount each month to know you can actually afford it.
- Cut down on frivolous shopping.
- Eat out less and, do more cooking.
- Make gifts instead of purchasing new ones.
- Keep an eye out for great furniture finds at local consignment shops or sales apps like LetGo.
- Determine your essentials (house phone, cable, internet, yard, patio). Knowing your needs will easily eliminate homes that don’t fit your lifestyle.
- Simply tell friends and family you’re in the market, this helps them understand why you're pinching your wallet. Emotional support goes a long way.
When making purchases, it’s not always second nature to think of the costs attached to the product. Once we purchase something we think we are done with it, but usually that’s not the case. There’s time to maintain it and more often than not, more money involved to keep it up. Having a strong financial foundation will ease any unexpected outcomes of home ownership.
As I travel this minimalist journey, I find myself asking more questions about the things I own and the purchases I make.
What value is this adding to my life?
Is this making my life easier?
Does this make me feel happier?
This introspective process is what I believe minimalism is all about: understanding the role something plays on your life and nurturing those roles with clarity and attention. Each and everything in our lives effects how we live, feel and what we create.
So why not use the same process when buying a home? Whether you’re new or not on this minimalist journey, the process of more awareness to the things we bring into our lives doesn’t change. The home buying process for a minimalist can be the same as buying anything else: careful consideration around what’s most valuable to you.
As I look for homes now, condos are more aligned with what I need and value. Trash concierge, no lawn work, and a handyman on-call is worth less square footage.
Just because we can buy something doesn’t mean we’ll be better off for it. There’s greater value in taking the time to understand it’s value.
Melissa Harris, professional organizer, mother, freedom seeker and owner of The Feel Free Club, a minimalist organizing company based in Atlanta, Ga. Melissa’s soul mission is to live more, with less to do, less to think about and less to manage. You can catch her dishing out organizing tips on Feel Free TV or sharing honest motherhood moments on her blog or IG. Either way, she’s inspiring you to crush the