Don’t let your McMansion turn into a financial McPrison

A real estate firm argues buyers shouldn’t buy a home that could turn into a McPrison:

McMANSION OR McPRISON?
WHICH ONE WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE?

The sprawling McMansion that someone said you can afford may quickly turn into a McPrison when all of your money is locked up in it. There are lots of home affordability guidelines out there. Start with this one:

  • Don’t spend more than 300% of your gross household income.
  • Another is to pay no more than 150 to 200 times the monthly rent of a comparable property.
  • All of that said, don’t buy a home unless you plan to spend at least seven years in that area.

Some conservative guidelines for buying a home, particularly from those whose livelihoods depend on moving houses. Yet, the contrast between a McMansion and a McPrison is interesting. According to this advice, the main negative of a McMansion is that it can cost too much. The McMansion can appear to be a good thing that ends up trapping the homeowner. This has been a common argument after the economic crisis: too many people and lenders overextended themselves in purchasing and enabling McMansions. Part of the definition of McMansion from Investopedia reinforces this idea:

Many McMansion homeowners live beyond their means as mortgages on these monstrous properties may be 100% mortgages, interest-only mortgages and/or amortized over 40 or more years. The cost of utilities and maintenance in a larger home are also more significant, as is the cost of commuting from the distant suburban settings in which these homes are often located.

Two quick responses:

1. Of course, non-McMansions can be pricey as well depending on their size, location, and design.

2. Ultimately, this ignores the numerous other critiques leveled against McMansions (i.e., you could be trapped by a lack of community in McMansion neighborhoods) and focuses on the financial implications. If the homebuyer wanted a McMansion and could financially make it happen, there is nothing on this page to suggest the realtors would disapprove.

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