5 reasons you should buy a small house (© Fabrice Lerouge/Photononstop/Getty Images)

© Fabrice Lerouge/ Photononstop/Getty Images

If you're shopping for a home, you may have walked through a few McMansions. Because of the shaky real-estate market, many of these opulent homes are being sold at rock-bottom prices. But even though large homes have become more affordable, should you consider buying one? Do you really want to live in a home that's 2,500 square feet or larger?

If you take a quick look back, you'll see that smaller homes historically were the norm for most of us. In 1950, the average home size was 983 square feet. But in 2004, at the height of the building boom, the average home size was 2,340 square feet. That's an enormous difference over the span of just a few decades. (Bing: Is home-size trend shifting?)

The days of the McMansion are slowly fading away. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average size of new homes has been dropping in recent years. If you peruse the "recently sold" listings in your own neighborhood, you might be surprised to see that most sales are of smaller homes.

Should you consider buying a small home yourself? Living in a small home has many benefits.

1. Small homes cost less. Think about what it costs to heat and cool a 3,000-square foot behemoth. Many homebuyers forget about this important cost when they look at bargain-priced mansions. Home-improvement projects such as repainting the exterior, replacing the roof or changing the flooring cost more because of the size of these homes. You will also spend more money to furnish and decorate all of the extra rooms.

Small homes, on the other hand, reduce expenses because of their size. A small home has smaller rooms to heat and cool, less square footage on the outside to paint and a smaller roof. Monthly utility bills cost less and you'll spend less on home maintenance. You also save money on property taxes, since you have less square footage.

2. Small homes save time. It takes a significant amount of time to clean a big house and maintain the yard, unless you hire a cleaning crew and a landscaping company to come in every week.

Living in a small home means you spend less time, week after week, on housecleaning and maintenance. When you live in a small house, you can use the extra time to read, play with your kids, cook healthful dinners or enjoy your hobbies.

3. Smaller homes make it easier to live simply. When you have a smaller home, you have less space to store belongings. Many prospective homebuyers balk at the reduction in space instead of envisioning a simpler life.

Living in a smaller home forces you to make choices about what you keep and what you donate, sell or give away. Members of the Small House Society and the Small House Movement espouse these values, living in affordable and ecologically responsible small homes.

4. Smaller homes mean quality splurges. It costs a small fortune to upgrade countertops or replace cabinets and appliances in a restaurant-sized kitchen. You have to buy so much more that you may have to make sacrifices in terms of quality. Living in a small house means you can splurge on quality upgrades because you have less to buy.

Read:  The 400-square-foot dream home

5. Small homes may be easier to sell. Energy costs continue to rise. That means energy-efficient homes, especially small energy-efficient homes, will be in high demand in the future. The empty mansions sitting on the market seem to indicate that the value of oversized homes depreciates over time. When you need to move, your small home will be much easier to sell than a mega-house with six bedrooms.

There's no doubt that small homes are seeing a resurgence as people realize how cozy, comfortable and inexpensive they can be. Smaller homes just feel good, and living in one makes it easier to be close with your family. Plus, the cost savings of smaller homes can really add up over the long term.