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Old 10-09-2016, 09:06 AM   #21
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You had a bedroom? And a bathroom? Luxury!
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Old 10-09-2016, 09:08 AM   #22
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A large home never appealed to us. Too much cost & effort to maintain & tied up too many assets.
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Old 10-09-2016, 09:34 AM   #23
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It gets me how a McMansion in some parts of the country will be just a regular size house in other parts of the country. And prices vary by 3x, 4x or even 5x per square feet. I remain appalled about home prices in L.A., S.F., Vancouver and Toronto--demand based prices vs. cost based home prices.

My sister sold her 30 year old house last week in Memphis, and it was about 7500 square feet. Took 2 weeks to sell, and a surgeon bought it. While she got good money for the house, the price was 25% less than it should have been. She had 3 things against her: (1) Nice house in a poor city. (2) Private schools cost $20K per kid per year. (3) Property taxes are enormous. Those 3 things limit the potential buyers.

It's often not just the McMansions to pay for. You've got to pay for the total lifestyle which includes private schools, elaborate vacations, 3 luxury automobiles, etc. That's tough to uphold when in retirement and trying to stick to the 4% rule.
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:36 AM   #24
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Depends on location, location, location...

$500k would get you 4000-ish sf around these parts.
LOL - this is a $500k listing about 2 miles from where I live. 60 year tract home with less than wonderful maintenance. But the location is central, even if the neighborhood is less than optimal.
https://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Diego/...7/home/4929642
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:43 AM   #25
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I enjoy my McMansion of 5000 square foot. Sitting in my family room of 22 foot ceiling feels like sitting out door, with expansive view out of the wall of windows. Better yet, I bought it new. Life is good!
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:51 AM   #26
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I have to smirk at 1,500 - 2,000 being called a "starter" home.

In the UK (where i am from) the average home is 818 sq.ft.

Different perspectives,
I was thinking the same thing. 1500-2000 sqft seems to me like the house you upgrade to after having 2-3 kids. The home i'm about to close on is 1056 sqft or 1206 sqft if you count the finished room in the basement. More than enough space. I may even get a roommate to save some money.

I have seen a few mcmansions being built on the outskirts of town where there's vacant land so the homes can be built on an acre or two or more. Very few of them cross the $500K mark.
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Old 10-09-2016, 12:14 PM   #27
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A large home never appealed to us. Too much cost & effort to maintain & tied up too many assets.
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The older I get, the less I want to be encumbered by things, stuff. My big simplification project last year increased my level of contentment and life satisfaction enormously. A side effect of early retirement has been finding externals not only fail to add to life satisfaction, but in fact detract from it. I can't imagine being enslaved to the burden of upkeep associated with owning big box real estate.
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Old 10-09-2016, 12:26 PM   #28
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+2. Unfortunately, we still have minor age kids under roof, so downsizing will have to wait. But I've been eyeing 2 br condos in walkable neighborhoods... some with ocean views. I see us downsizing to 1000sf once the kids are launched.
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Old 10-09-2016, 12:48 PM   #29
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LOL - this is a $500k listing about 2 miles from where I live. 60 year tract home with less than wonderful maintenance. But the location is central, even if the neighborhood is less than optimal.
This is what you get for ~500k around here... new construction. You can get more for the same price if you want an older house or are willing to be further out in the suburbs.

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Old 10-09-2016, 02:50 PM   #30
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$438K will get you a below market priced Habitat for Humanity condo in SF, if you qualify and win the lottery of qualified applicants. On the plus side, parking is included.
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Old 10-09-2016, 03:33 PM   #31
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I've been following this thread with a little interest. In this area you do have your neighborhoods of McMansions but what is more interesting is what has also been mentioned, the large McMansion dropped into a neighborhood of smaller homes. I've noticed several of these while biking over the last few weeks. At first I found it very puzzling, but I think that I figured out the "why" for at least a few of these homes. Many of these homes have "tradesman vehicles" (pickups and panel vans) parked in the driveways. I think that many of these working folks have put a lot of sweat equity into their homes by doing much of the labor on large scale expansions and have also acted as their own general contractors for the projects. So they are able to build a McMansion for a fraction of the cost of buying one. Whether or not they are able to recoup their cost when selling is another matter.
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Old 10-09-2016, 03:48 PM   #32
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A bit of Dr. Phil wisdom that for some reason stuck with me is "Never buy a house with more bathrooms than you want to clean".

We have three and that is one too many, but we both agreed to have one downstairs in addition to the two on the main floor. When your knees start to hurt it becomes more than just a nice luxury.
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Old 10-09-2016, 03:51 PM   #33
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I've been following this thread with a little interest. In this area you do have your neighborhoods of McMansions but what is more interesting is what has also been mentioned, the large McMansion dropped into a neighborhood of smaller homes. I've noticed several of these while biking over the last few weeks. At first I found it very puzzling, but I think that I figured out the "why" for at least a few of these homes. Many of these homes have "tradesman vehicles" (pickups and panel vans) parked in the driveways. I think that many of these working folks have put a lot of sweat equity into their homes by doing much of the labor on large scale expansions and have also acted as their own general contractors for the projects. So they are able to build a McMansion for a fraction of the cost of buying one. Whether or not they are able to recoup their cost when selling is another matter.
I've seen this in my neighborhood also. Neighbors in the same development took a house with my floor plan (2000sf) and it's now 5500sf. It was a down to the studs - retained one wall, the garage, and the fireplace. I toured it after it was done - gorgeous - but a HUGE house for a family of 4. They spent over $500k on the remodel/upgrade... that's hard to recoup. I asked the wife about why they didn't move... she likes the neighborhood, the schools, it's close to her husbands job... And her dad was the contractor on the job - so they got some discounts.

Not the choice I'd make... but then again, we added a detached granny flat and didn't fully get the equity upgrade for what we spent... but our choice was based on having a place for the in-laws to live where we could assist.

Another friend recently took a 1500sf rancher and remodeled it to a 3500 sf 2 story. Again - they loved the neighborhood and neighbors and didn't want to move. Their money, their choice. (Not quite a McMansion - but another down to the studs except 1 wall and the garage.).
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Old 10-09-2016, 03:51 PM   #34
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I like having a house with no stairs to climb.
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Old 10-09-2016, 05:00 PM   #35
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I've seen this in my neighborhood also. Neighbors in the same development took a house with my floor plan (2000sf) and it's now 5500sf. It was a down to the studs - retained one wall, the garage, and the fireplace. I toured it after it was done - gorgeous - but a HUGE house for a family of 4. They spent over $500k on the remodel/upgrade... that's hard to recoup. I asked the wife about why they didn't move... she likes the neighborhood, the schools, it's close to her husbands job... And her dad was the contractor on the job - so they got some discounts.

Not the choice I'd make... but then again, we added a detached granny flat and didn't fully get the equity upgrade for what we spent... but our choice was based on having a place for the in-laws to live where we could assist.

Another friend recently took a 1500sf rancher and remodeled it to a 3500 sf 2 story. Again - they loved the neighborhood and neighbors and didn't want to move. Their money, their choice. (Not quite a McMansion - but another down to the studs except 1 wall and the garage.).
There's one neighborhood that I ride through regularly where the houses were built in the late 60's. The basic floorplan looks to be 1200 square feet with an unfinished basement. You go down the streets and can say, "that one was expanded in the 70's, that one in the 80's that one in the 90's and this other one in the 2000's. Each decade has it's unique style and there is no doubt that the desire for square footage has grown. The earlier additions are typically one room expansions off of the garage, kitchen or living room. The ones from the 80's and 90's basically popped the roof off and added a partial or complete second story. The more recent ones are just what you describe - complete teardown to the studs and leave one wall for permitting. So, if the base house ca. 1970 was 1200 sq. ft. the 80's expansions took them to 1500 ish, the 90's expansions see them approaching 2000 and the more recent teardowns 3500 and up, sometimes way up.
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Old 10-09-2016, 05:06 PM   #36
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I've seen this in my neighborhood also. Neighbors in the same development took a house with my floor plan (2000sf) and it's now 5500sf. It was a down to the studs - retained one wall, the garage, and the fireplace. . . . . . . . .

Another friend recently took a 1500sf rancher and remodeled it to a 3500 sf 2 story. Again - they loved the neighborhood and neighbors and didn't want to move. Their money, their choice. (Not quite a McMansion - but another down to the studs except 1 wall and the garage.).
The minimum home in our neighborhood is 2600 per floor. A buy behind me took a 2600 square foot house and made it his entryway into the new house he built on the back. I bet that he added 8000 square feet. Not smart when all the houses in his section of the neighborhood are minimal structures.

I'm sitting here in my Man Cave, and it alone is 1,200 square feet with a 10.5' ceiling. It's more a ballroom than a simple den. With 5 bedrooms and 5 full baths, we close off some rooms.

None of this would be possible if we didn't live in a low cost of living place and if the state realized high property taxes would solve their fiscal needs. My other house is 3350 square feet on 4 acres, and property taxes are $650 per year.
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Old 10-09-2016, 08:39 PM   #37
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We have friends who are trying to sell what I would consider to be a McMansion (~6,000 sqft). It is a very nice house on 3 levels, with terrific views, and it is located in a wealthy neighborhood. It is in move-in ready condition. It has been on the market for 30 months with no offer and the price is now so low that my wife and I have talked about purchasing it for ourselves. But then we remember that we would be rattling around in such a large house. Our 2,500 sqft house, in a more middle class neighborhood down the road, is already too big as it is.
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Old 10-09-2016, 09:12 PM   #38
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There's a nice development down the street from me where most of the homes are in the $400-500K range. About 3 years ago some family started building their McMansion. Could tell it was going to be over the top when I drove by while it was being built. They had a 3 car garage attached to the house and another 4 car garage semi-detached to the house by a covered walkway. Just the garage space is probably bigger than 90% of the homes in the development. They weren't in it for much more than a year when they listed it for sale for $2.5M. Two years going and it's now down to $2.3, I'm not sure a $1M cut would be enough to find a buyer. I doubt there are more than a handful of homes in the entire county that are worth over $1M, not much of a market here for really high end homes.
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Old 10-09-2016, 09:51 PM   #39
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This is what you get for ~500k around here... new construction. You can get more for the same price if you want an older house or are willing to be further out in the suburbs.

On my street, $500k might get you one of the 19th century homes between 1500 and 2000 square feet, although $550k or $600k is more likely. If you are like the last few buyers, you'll spend another $200k to gut and rebuild the inside (you can't change the outside because we are in an historic district).
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Old 10-10-2016, 06:40 AM   #40
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On my street, $500k might get you one of the 19th century homes between 1500 and 2000 square feet, although $550k or $600k is more likely. If you are like the last few buyers, you'll spend another $200k to gut and rebuild the inside (you can't change the outside because we are in an historic district).
It's all about location, location, location. When I was getting out of the military I looked at jobs all over the country and I still just laugh at most of the jobs in places like California that pay 5% more while COL in the area is double the national average (mostly due to housing costs). Instead, I took a job in Atlanta where I can do the newer (2000) suburban house at more reasonable prices (2200 sq ft for $167k when I bought it a couple years ago).
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