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Old 12-08-2014, 08:16 AM   #21
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We went from 3000 to 1020. It was liberating!
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DW and I have lived (during our working lives) in everything from 875sf to 4,800sf, and we've upsized and downsized several times. We've found that "location" and what's just outside our front door is really more important than square footage.

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I have about 2000 square feet of livable space. About 1000 of it is used only when I am in it to clean it. Company visiting issues aside, I certainly could downsize. If GF and a I ever move out of state in retirement a 1100 square foot patio home would be perfect.
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Yep. Same for us in almost every dwelling >1,000sf, we've had unused space. Of course, we have no children (if you don't count our fur child) so, that makes small spaces a bit easier for us. In fact, looking back on our dozen+ residences, we've almost always had unused space; kinda makes me feel wasteful now that I think about it.

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We downsized from 2,500 sqft to 1,100 sqft. Is it possible? Yes, absolutely. Is it desirable? Maybe. We downsized by need. We moved to a much more expensive area and we could not afford a 2,500 sqft dwelling. We found that spending a lot less time on cleaning and maintenance increased our quality of life by a great deal more than anticipated. I can't imagine moving back to a 2,500 sqft house now - unless it comes fully staffed. Still, the extra room was nice...
We are in the process of doing exactly the same thing - moving to a more expensive area, where we will downsize because space is expensive and we've found we don't need much more than 1,000sf. Also, as described above, location and what's outside our front door is very important to us.
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:26 AM   #22
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If you would be happy with the 1000 sq ft, move, if not, don't. I grew up in a family of 4 in a 580 sq ft home....never knew it was small. Today, DW, DS, puppy and I would kill each other in a 1000 sq ft home......just the way it is. Good luck, be happy.
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:29 AM   #23
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One thing I would add is whether it has good age in place potential. Things like a bedroom and bath on the main floor and fewer steps could help keep someone in their home longer.

I moved 2 years ago to a slightly smaller home that is zero clearance(no steps) and it has really helped my pain level. I didn't realize how much those steps were adding to pain.

As for family coming. My sister, 2 nieces and on fiancée stayed here(two bedrooms) for a week and it worked. My other house would have been a little nicer-more spread out and more privacy for all, but hey isn't family about being close? We, as always spent most of our time out and about anyway and we sure got lots closer the fincee, lol.

My former in laws used to rent hotel rooms when we all came. We rotated which family stayed there and which stayed at the house. Since the one closest to them allowed us all use of the pool it was a good way for the g kids to burn off steam particularly in the winter. I think doing that for a few days here and there was a lot less than the costs of a bigger house.
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:30 AM   #24
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I am looking out into FIRE and the possibility of downsizing, but I am also concerned about TCO (total cost of ownership) - a smaller abode may not mean actual lower cost in the long run which may mean higher property taxes, maybe it is older and will need an infusion of money for a remodel, or higher yearly 'maintenance'/repairs, maybe it has a yard that will need a gardener, what about water bills, we have our solar system paid off on our current home, maybe the new one will mean a big energy bill again every month.


It really is dependent on the specific areas and properties in question.
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Old 12-08-2014, 01:13 PM   #25
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We would like to go from 4000 to 3000 sq feet. Unfortunately, in our area, the smaller the dwelling, the cheaper and less desirable is the development, until you finally get down to shared-wall environments which are generally quite undesirable.

Developers around here do not yet perceive any profit in building smaller, but higher-end houses. They will build the largest house possible on a very small lot. A few expensive condos have gone up lately, but the thought of sharing walls - let alone hallways - is quite unappealing to us.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:49 PM   #26
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Our house is around 2,000 SF. Tax records have it around 2200, but my math has is closer to 18-1900. It has 3 bedrooms...one we use, one guest room that's used a couple times a year and another that is my DW's "walk in closet" (more of a dressing room for her). We don't use the dining room and the basement (finished portion) has a few pieces of exercise equipment that is used and a nice lounge/sitting area that we don't use at all. I would guess that we use about 1,000 SF of the house. We have figured when we build our "retirement house" it'll be in the neighborhood of 1,000-1,200 square feet...but it will be ONE level and on some acreage (natural, not a lawn!)...no real need for more house than that!
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:22 PM   #27
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I never understood why people move just down the street/block. If you are going to sell a home, and buy another, why not pick a warmer state, or a state will lower taxes, or a state that has something legal that you can't legally do now.
'

I understand, but we like it where we are. We go for walks on the beach almost every day.

One reason it came up is that new houses keep going up near us. What used to be woods is now three houses. A neighbor just bought the house next door, and he wants to add a studio/storage thing that, in essence, moves his house closer to us.

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'A smaller house with less expenses makes sense to me, if it makes sense to you... But you will likely never recoup the selling and moving costs.
I agree. I could pay to have someone clean the house every week, and it would probably be cheaper. If we heated with propane instead of firewood, we would save a lot, but still.
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:00 AM   #28
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Went from 3600 plus to an 8X8X16 container to a 1300 sq.foot rental condo.

More liberating than we ever thought. Got rid of the cobwebs. No room to accumulate junk, much less expensive to operate, etc.

I would say go for it.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:11 AM   #29
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Easier to maintain, too. Less to paint or pressure wash on the outside. Fewer gutters to clean. When things need replacing like the siding, windows, or the roof, it's a smaller quantity. Same inside the house. Less bathrooms mean less plumbing leaks and if you ever renovate, less to do.
Our house is 1461 square feet with a 1 car attached garage. We added on an oversized 2 car garage for DH. We bought the house in 1986 and we are in the process of doing an almost complete remodel. They started 10/6/14 and we are hoping that they will be done within a few more weeks. We had a kitchen remodel, 2 bathrooms remodeled, new lights, new hardwood flooring throughout most of the house, new stair treads (hardwood), laundry area brought up from the garage to the first floor, walls skimmed and painted, new windows, soffit and fascia and seamless gutters, new siding and electrical system to 200 amp. I am probably missing some things. We have spent more than we paid for the house so far. I would not want a bigger house to remodel. We have been living in our remodeled (about five years ago) family room, which is downstairs. I estimate that it is approximately 125-150 square feet, including the bathroom. We have our bed, microwave, coffee pots, small table, dressers, desktop computer, big screen TV, shelving unit with some food, towels, wash cloths,etc and a couple of night stands. I used to be fascinated with tiny houses, but would no longer want to live in one. We could downsize from 1461, but not too much. DH and I enjoy our own space sometimes. I am so glad that I am working part-time 3 days per week and only have to put up with them 2 days a week. I do not enjoy having people in my house that I don't really know and can't wait until it is back to being my sanctuary.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:36 AM   #30
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'

One reason it came up is that new houses keep going up near us. What used to be woods is now three houses. A neighbor just bought the house next door, and he wants to add a studio/storage thing that, in essence, moves his house closer to us.
Any chance you have zoning laws that can help you with this dilemma? Very often there are minimum setbacks that can be a God send in a situation like yours...
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:55 PM   #31
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I've always said I'd rather have a small house on a big lot than a big house on a small lot. Is the 1K house location better or does it have an advantage in some other way that could sway you? You're in Calif, right? Will there be property tax ramifications? We recently added a second bath to our 1100 sq ft house bringing the sq footage to a whopping 1150. Until the neighborhood changes for the worse, we're staying put. It's a great base camp. You'll know in your gut if you have the right base camp. The beach walks sound nice, btw!
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:44 PM   #32
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We would like to go from 4000 to 3000 sq feet. Unfortunately, in our area, the smaller the dwelling, the cheaper and less desirable is the development, until you finally get down to shared-wall environments which are generally quite undesirable.

Developers around here do not yet perceive any profit in building smaller, but higher-end houses. They will build the largest house possible on a very small lot. A few expensive condos have gone up lately, but the thought of sharing walls - let alone hallways - is quite unappealing to us.
This is so different from how I see it. I like to run into people in the hall or on the stairs. And the fear of shared walls goes back to terrible low rent places on the east coast. I rarely hear anyone in my building. At least nothing like hearing people outside the building, especially in summer with windows open. In any case I don't feel a need to avoid people. To the contrary I seek them out.

Ha
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:09 AM   #33
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Things are naturally way different in a vibrant city as opposed to suburbs and semi-rural areas. We lived happily enough in a large, elegant flat in Great Britain, where we could walk to the grocery store and doctor's surgery, and the public parks were amazing - worth a daily visit. (Thankfully, my employer subsidized our housing - we couldn't have afforded the rent and utilities on our own!)

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This is so different from how I see it. I like to run into people in the hall or on the stairs. And the fear of shared walls goes back to terrible low rent places on the east coast. I rarely hear anyone in my building. At least nothing like hearing people outside the building, especially in summer with windows open. In any case I don't feel a need to avoid people. To the contrary I seek them out.

Ha
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:25 AM   #34
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This is so different from how I see it. I like to run into people in the hall or on the stairs. And the fear of shared walls goes back to terrible low rent places on the east coast. I rarely hear anyone in my building. At least nothing like hearing people outside the building, especially in summer with windows open. In any case I don't feel a need to avoid people. To the contrary I seek them out.

Ha
I seem to remember that I hated being ambushed in the common areas, when I was on my way home from work, or on my way to work, or ...

That's the main argument against condominiums, AFAIC. Still, each to his own.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:46 AM   #35
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I'm looking forward to less stuff, a smaller place, less home maintenance and more free time. It is a lot of work getting rid of years of clutter and getting the house fixed up to sell. I don't want to have to do this again on the size house we have now, especially when I am older.
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:00 AM   #36
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We downsized from 2000 sq ft to 2300 sq ft. No: That's not a typo. The 2000 sq ft home also offered about 1300 sq ft of basement storage; the 2300 sq ft home doesn't have a basement. We spent a lot of time, energy and money discarding volumes of old possessions, and we're still finding it difficult to find a place for everything. Like everything people adapt to, changing the amount of space you have is difficult.

(Despite my spouse's overtures toward getting a storage unit, I'm intent on sticking to the plan to truly downsize. We'll take another shot at it this weekend.)
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