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A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 01:39 PM   #1
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A House, not a Home

In my recent addiction to HGTV I have been watching a show called "House Hunters" where people go out with their realtor shopping for a new house. I also am watching a show called "Sell this House" where people get their house ready to sell so they can buy a new house.

I get the feeling that people build and buy houses not for themselves but for the next owner, for the resale value. For example, a single person or a couple says they need three bedrooms, two baths, living room, family room and a dining room. Why? So it is easier to sell to the next guy who won't need the space either? No wonder we are ending up with a bunch of McMansions made of "ticky tacky that all look the same." No one seems to want unique because it might not sell well.

Why in the world would a couple want both a living room and a family room? A living room seems to end up being a show room of unused furniture. Why a formal dining room? For Christmas and Easter dinner?

I also don't understand why people see so much value in mere space, rather than quality. "Boy this master suite is big and airy" , not "this bedroom is so cosy". For goodness sakes, when did mom and dad's bedroom become an apartment? People seem to prefer the biggest box they can buy, not the nicest.

So, do you live in a house or a home?



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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 02:03 PM   #2
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Re: A House, not a Home

Martha,

We watched a lot of shows on HGTV when we were preparing to sell the house where we raised our kids and lived happily for 25 years (4 bdrm, 2.5 bath, two story) The shows were helpful in understanding how to "stage" the house. We did a bit of painting and touched up the kitchen cabinets. Mostly we got rid of excess furniture that was not going with us into our new, smaller home and cleaned out a lot of clutter. The house sold quickly for more than our asking price and several agents told us that the house showed better than anything else on the local market at that time.

Our new single level house is much smaller (1800 sq ft.) and suits our retirement lifestyle very well. It is in a "55 or better" community that has all the amenties we were looking for. Many of the houses in this community are MUCH larger with full basements and lofts. We can't understand why a retired couple would want something so big. We are using the money we didn't spend on such a large house to splurge on decorating the house.

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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 02:56 PM   #3
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Re: A House, not a Home

>>We have 3600 sq. ft. on two levels.

Wow, 3600 sf and only 2 bedrooms? you must have a few "great" rooms...our house is about the same size, but has 5 bedrooms, and I still feel like we don't use half the space in the house...
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 03:13 PM   #4
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Re: A House, not a Home

This topic is so timely. I put my house on the market Tuesday and hope it will sell quickly (I'm in Sacramento where the real estate market is still pretty hot for sellers, but I guess we'll see).

My home is small compared to many others in my neighborhood--less than 1700 well-designed square feet. It's very nice and it's not just me saying that. Hardwood floors, French doors, new windows, clean, uncluttered, light and bright at a competitive price. But my concern is that people will ignore its special touches in favor of buying a big, waste-of-space house.
Even single people and childless couples have gravitated toward McMansion-style houses. A lot of people talk about "less is more" but not that many are willing to live it.


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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 03:17 PM   #5
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Re: A House, not a Home

Our house is about 1000 sq ft, 2 BD 1 BA. And it is worth more than I can believe in Pasadena, California. It is paid off and we do not expect to expand or sell it unless we relocate in the next few years. We had two boys, one still at home with a full drum set, ah, family life. We have stuff tucked in every corner. Most of the time my wife is satisfied with the set up. Occasionally she experesses an honest desire for something larger.
But here is the key, she does not get on very well with her mom. So I remind her that if we had another bedroom she would want to come and stay with us VS my wife's brother who has a big house. End of discussion, Worked for 12years now. Don't know what will happen if the younger son (16 yr old) goes away to college. But we have a couple years before that.
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()Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 04:07 PM   #6
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()Re: A House, not a Home

Quote:
Our house is about 1000 sq ft, 2 BD 1 BA. And it is worth more than I can believe in Pasadena, California. It is paid off and we do not expect to expand or sell it unless *we relocate in the next few years. We had two boys, one still at home with a full drum set, ah, family life. We have stuff tucked in every corner. Most of the time my wife is satisfied with the set up. Occasionally she experesses an honest desire for something larger.
But here is the key, she does not get on very well with her mom. So I remind her that if we had another bedroom she would want to come and stay with us VS my wife's brother who has a big house. End of discussion, Worked for 12years now. Don't know what will happen if the younger son (16 yr old) goes away to college. But we have a couple years before that.
Can only hope, for your sake that a perfect storm doesn't develop. Wife"s brother sells home and leaves area, and your younger son leaves household.
Even though I got a chuckle out of your post, there is some wisdom there. (Must work real hard to get along with my adult children
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 04:23 PM   #7
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Re: A House, not a Home

This is for yakers amusement. Our house is about 1100
SF with 100 feet of water frontage. Beautiful area!
If someone walked in and offered me 100K today, they
could have it. Location. location, location!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JG
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 04:51 PM   #8
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Re: A House, not a Home

My house is 1760 sq. feet, 3 bedroom 2.5 bath, standard cookie cutter house, about 5 years old. We plan on staying here forever due to location (just a few miles from the beach, perfect san diego weather). Somehow it now appraises for 550-600k. I have so many friends who have sold their houses to buy northeast of us in Riverside county (Temecula is the name of the town). They did it so they could get one of those 3000 sq foot McMansions that have ten feet between them and the next house. Now they have a 2 hour commute......strange priorities....
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 04:57 PM   #9
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Re: A House, not a Home

Quote:
This is for yakers amusement. *Our house is about 1100
SF with 100 feet of water frontage. *Beautiful area!
If someone walked in and offered me 100K today, they
could have it. *Location. location, location!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JG
John, Is this water frontage a river, creek, or lake? If flowing water, how often do you flood?

Mikey
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 05:12 PM   #10
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Re: A House, not a Home

I don't know if I'd call it a trend yet, but there is a definite movement towards smaller higher-quality spaces. There are several books out now about how to design these kind of spaces. For example, see:
http://www.notsobighouse.com/

Personally, I can adapt to any size house as long as it has a big back yard, and the ocean is within walking distance.
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 05:13 PM   #11
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Re: A House, not a Home

Quote:
*We plan on staying here forever due to location (just a few miles from the beach, perfect san diego weather).
Laurence, I am curious about living 2 miles from the beach. When I lived in SoCal, I lived 2 blocks from the beach, and went there every afternoon. But when I first moved to LA, I lived in Hollywood, so had to drive to the beach. Well the traffic and parking was so awful that I almost never went, even though I love the beach. The SoCal population has almost doubled since then; it must be way worse now.

I am casually thinking of getting an RV pad out near Hemet (reason- warm winter, and cheap!) It looks like I could go north to I10 if I wanted to go to Venice or Zuma beach, or head over the mountain toward San Clemente if I preferred Huntington Beach.

I probably would only do it once a week, and sleep in my van. Is this do-able weekdays, or is it pure traffic jam all the way? Incidentally, my thought is never leave the beach, if you are once there. I did, and I regret it. It gets more expensive every year. (I don't count Washington Beach as beach, since you die if you go in the water.)
Thanks, Mikey
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 05:19 PM   #12
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Re: A House, not a Home

Mikey, have you spent much time in Hemet? That entire inland basin is smogville.

It's been a while since I checked out the SoCal real estate market, but the area between Dana Point and Oceanside used to have affordable coastal property.
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 05:21 PM   #13
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Re: A House, not a Home

Quote:
*For example, a single person or a couple says they need *three bedrooms, two baths, *living room, family room and a dining room. *Why?
I often yell at the TV when a single person looks at the master bedroom and says "I don't think my furniture will fit" Get rid of the damn furniture!! And then they whine about the size of the kitchen and the bathrooms. We are getting ready to build again (last one, or so we say) and it will be 1350 sq ft and we have 2 teenagers. But, they will be leaving at some point and then we want nothing extra to clean, polish, repaint or dust. We want a cozy, welcoming HOME.

Judy
Hi, I'm JUdy, and I can't turn off HGTV.
Candice Olson is a goddess!
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 05:23 PM   #14
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Re: A House, not a Home

Well, I admit that despite my proximity, it's still a driving distance ( I can see the ocean from my neighborhood on a clear day). We get to the beach about twice a month in the summer, once a month otherwise, but we are trying to get there more often! My boss lives in Hemit, he drives an hour to his carpool, and rides in the carpool van for an hour to work, which is east of my house and about 30 minutes from the beach. If you went off traffic hours (weekends or at noon on the weekdays) you could get to the closest beach in about 1.5 hours (oceanside, carlsbad-I suggest the latter, Carlsbad village is wonderful), otherwise, forget it, you'll spend more time in the car than at the beach. As far as driving up to Venice beach, I wouldn't do it under any circumstances. I grew up in L.A., have friends/family still there so I have to go back from time to time. As soon as you hit the "Welcome to Los Angeles County, population 10 gazillion" sign on the freeway, you stop moving, and you're stuck in gnarled traffic for hours dodging bullets as they zip over your head, driving on rims because your tires have been stolen, etc. etc. .....I guess it shows I really don't like L.A. :P
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 05:26 PM   #15
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Re: A House, not a Home

Quote:
Hi, I'm JUdy, and I can't turn off HGTV.
All together now-HI JUDY!
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 05:36 PM   #16
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Re: A House, not a Home

What the hell is HGTV? (We don't have cable).

For Mikey.........big river. Flooded in 2002, 1999, 1996.
Used to be less frequent. Anyway, never got any water
in the house but the yard gets pretty messy.

JG
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 05:55 PM   #17
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Re: A House, not a Home

Here's a cool site for small, well-built homes

[ftp]http://www.rosschapin.com/index.html[/ftp]

Judy

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We have a home.
Old 04-07-2005, 06:26 PM   #18
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We have a home.

Speaking from visiting open houses two or three times a month, and whose spouse records HGTV daily:

First off, HGTV: IMO "House Hunters" is one of their most pathetic shows, almost as bad as "Extreme Home Makeover". (Think David Spade-- "Oh, I need a new home, waaah I can't figure out how to do it, ooh luckily I have a realtor! Oh, I'm going to complain until I see a home that's 'just right'!") The one episode they did in Hawaii was looking at homes in the $1.5M & up category but passing them off as "everyday normal" places.

So JohnGalt, you don't need HGTV and if you don't know it then you'll never miss it.

Although I agree that Candace Olson is a goddess who can come to our house to change our lightbulbs anytime.

Second, today's home designs. My gosh, Mainlanders live in gigantic places. Lots here are measured in square feet-- 4500 sq ft is typical-- and single-story homes are less than 2000 sq ft. Who cleans those Mainland McWarehouses?

Traveler, your home will sell to the first person who loves a well-laid-out compact design. The only problem is that you're going to have to tolerate a crowd of several hundred "House Hunter" whiners before you get to the right buyer. The real problem isn't the buyers, it's the realtors-- especially the one that's "working for you". If you're using a realtor, they want reduced prices for quick sales instead of trying to earn another 6% of a 10%-higher full-price offer. That may take 6-8 weeks, so stick to your guns and don't budge on the price.

We used to live in an 1800 sq ft 4BR 2 BA home that was "just right" for maintenance, cleaning, & space. Then we discovered the best home we'll ever live in and we're still working on turning it into a nice house. It's 2400 sq ft (a lanai was enclosed to make a family room) 4BR 2.5BA. Luckily it's only 16 years old and most of the floors are tile, because the rest of the home & lot (1/3 acre) needs a lot of maintenance. Every project we tackle is designed to reduce either our utility bills, our maintenance, our yardwork, or our cleaning. I don't want to be tackling most of my current chores when I'm in my 80s.

Ironically it's not about the house, it's about the location. The neighborhood has one of the state's best school districts. Our street is packed with kids, most of whom seem to be in our familyroom or fridge when they're not at school. We have great views of the Ko'olau and the Waianae, the Pearl Harbor channel entrance from the back lanai, and a peek of Diamond Head out the 2nd story master bedroom. We live on a cul-de-sac, tne adjacent lot is a city water-maintenance building, the home across the street is vacant (the owner works in Japan), and we back on a steep gulch.

We joke that by the time our daughter is ready to move out, spouse's parents will be ready to move in. They can trade their own spaces...
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 07:36 PM   #19
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Re: A House, not a Home

Ours is 4500 sf on 1.5 acres, for two people. When we bought the place, we were expecting a passel of kids, but they never happened. Yes, we have formal living and dining rooms, the living room is used as an afternoon tea room as it has western exposure, and the dining room is used at least once a month for dinner parties, plus it has a nice bar so it gets used more than you think.

Four bedrooms, some doing dual duty as office space and hobby corners, but they come in real handy when my wife's family visits (we once had 20 relatives in the house for New Years 2000 and we had to get out the sleeping bags).

I kept resale in mind when choosing the place, but that won't be for at least 10-20 years from now. Then I hope to be some place warmer in a somewhat smaller home (ease of maintenance plus cash out).
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 09:03 PM   #20
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Re: A House, not a Home

Quote:
Mikey, have you spent much time in Hemet? * That entire inland basin is smogville.
It's been a while since I checked out the SoCal real estate market, but the area between Dana Point and Oceanside used to have affordable coastal property.
Thanks for your info, Wabmester. I haven't been there in many years. I rememvber San Bernadino and Riverside as being very smoggy, but farther south it seemed nice at that time.

I hate smog, even more than traffic. It gives me asthma.

For Laurence- God help your boss, What an ordeal!

No Hemet for Mikey.

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