One big reason why many homeowners prefer to buy homes in the suburbs, as opposed to cities, is to gain access to outdoor space. Having a nice-size backyard may be especially appealing if you have young children. But what if you find a home you like with a smaller backyard? Should you pass in favor of more outdoor space, or consider putting in an offer?
The drawbacks of having a smaller backyard
The downside of a small backyard is obvious -- less space means less room to roam around, entertain your kids, host outdoor gatherings, and install features, like swimming pools or playsets, that can not only add value to your home but make life more enjoyable as well. Having a small backyard could also make selling your home a challenge, particularly if you're in a suburban area where most of the surrounding properties have more acreage. Prospective buyers may shy away from your home if they feel they're getting shortchanged on a backyard.
The advantages of a smaller backyard
On the other hand, there are plenty of ways you can benefit from a smaller backyard. For one thing, less space means less outdoor maintenance. If you don't like the idea of spending hours every weekend mowing the lawn, then a smaller yard may be a better choice for you.
Furthermore, many homeowners need to treat their outdoor areas to avoid weeds and pest infestations. The less space you have, the less that particular maintenance item will cost you.
Additionally, the size of your yard is a factor in determining your home's assessed value, which ties directly to the amount of annual property tax you're charged. If you don't really care about outdoor space, a smaller backyard could result in a lower property tax bill.
Finally, a smaller backyard could make it possible for you to snag more square footage inside your home. If you're looking to buy in an area where lot sizes on the whole aren't huge, you may find that the smaller the yard, the larger the home, and vice versa. And if you're buying property in an area of the country where you're unlikely to use your yard for six months out of the year, you may prefer more indoor space to added outdoor space.
Should you buy a home with a smaller backyard?
If you're the type who tends to spend a lot of time outdoors, and you enjoy having space to spread out or host gatherings, then a small backyard may be a poor choice for you. And if you have children or a dog, extra outdoor space could come in quite handy. But if you're not keen on outdoor maintenance and mostly plan to use your yard for al fresco dining purposes, a smaller lot may not matter in the end, and it could save you time and money. Ultimately, the less complicated your outdoor maintenance is, the less stressed you'll be as a homeowner.