Is Buying a Home With an Extra Bedroom Worth it? The Truth May Surprise You

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When buying or renting a new home, it’s easy to look beyond your most immediate needs.

You may only need one or two bedrooms now, but what if your family expands? What if you host guests from out of town? What if you decide you’ll want an office, a game room or a crafting room some time in the future?

It’s always smart to think ahead, but getting a spare room based on “what ifs” can be costly in the long run, especially if that extra room doesn’t see much use.

Zillow’s recent Cost of Moving Up analysis found that homeowners nationwide spend an extra $192 each month to upgrade from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom home and an extra $447 a month to go from a two-bedroom to a three-bedroom home. And families going from three bedrooms to four spend $614 more a month.

“While deciding whether to move is a personal choice, understanding how certain characteristics like size, location, or number of beds and baths, can impact a home’s price can be hugely important when determining if a particular home is the right fit for you and your family,” Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist, said in a press release.

Of course, costs vary between cities, but Zillow has this handy chart that breaks down the additional cost of a home with extra bedrooms (and bathrooms) in 34 metro areas.

Here are a few examples:

Chicago:

Additional cost going from one bedroom to two bedrooms: $15

Additional cost going from two bedrooms to three bedrooms: $144

Dallas:

Additional cost going from one bedroom to two bedrooms: $44

Additional cost going from two bedrooms to three bedrooms: $365

Washington, D.C.:

Additional cost going from one bedroom to two bedrooms: $101

Additional cost going from two bedrooms to three bedrooms: $429

Miami:

Additional cost going from one bedroom to two bedrooms: $269

Additional cost going from two bedrooms to three bedrooms: $599

Boston:

Additional cost going from one bedroom to two bedrooms: $368

Additional cost going from two bedrooms to three bedrooms: $512

Los Angeles:

Additional cost going from one bedroom to two bedrooms: $826

Additional cost going from two bedrooms to three bedrooms: $1,033

If your metro area isn’t included in Zillow’s chart, you can still use this interactive tool to see you how much movin’ on up will cost you each month.

But Does it Make Sense to Go for That Extra Bedroom?

An article on Apartment Therapy recommends doing a cost-benefit analysis if you’re considering a home with a spare room to accommodate visitors.

For instance, homeowners in Denver would have to have overnight guests for at least 23 nights a year for a second bedroom to make sense financially, using Zillow’s analysis. Anything less and it’d be cheaper to just put guests up in a hotel.

But those who do have a rarely used spare room don’t have to lose out. Renting out an empty room through sites like Airbnb or Homestay could make up for the expense of having the additional space — and even net a profit.

Learn how one woman made $5,000 in one year renting spare rooms through Homestay.

If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.

Taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events in your area.
  • Be a good host, and make sure your place is stocked with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
  • Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.

Here’s the link to sign up as an Airbnb host.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

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Of course, having additional rooms in your home is a personal choice, but weighing all the financial advantages and disadvantages can be helpful to your wallet. After all, your home is a big investment.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. During her last move, she considered renting a one-bedroom to save money but determined that having two bedrooms would best serve her family.

Do you think this article might help you put more money in your pocket?

Honest Abe

Disclosure:

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.