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Old 06-09-2016, 11:48 AM   #21
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Referring back to my comments on the why don't/can't people save for retirement thread we have some families around here where the 3rd generation is raising a family the same house. I have no reason to think there won't a 4th and probably a 5th generation after them. Moving away for more money and better retirement doesn't happen
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:43 PM   #22
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The house we lived in when I was a child was two bedroom, one bath, eat in kitchen, and living room. I am guessing it was about 800 square feet. It has since been torn down so no Zillow estimates available. My last couple of years in high school we lived in a two bedroom apartment. My parents built a huge house house when I was senior in high school ...completed after I graduated. That was the house they lived in until my father and then years later my mother passed away. It was a five bedroom, three bathroom house with a formal dining room, separate family room and two car garage! It was the only house they ever owned. I was the youngest, so by the time it was completed my sister and I were basically out of the house.

I have followed a more typical path. DH and I lived in apartments until we bought our first house...1200 square feet and then our second house about 1800 square feet. I have no desire for a different house and plan to stay here. We may need to do some remodeling in the future to enable us to age in place.


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Old 06-09-2016, 01:13 PM   #23
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Every house I've lived in has been fairly modest. Here's a rundown....

First house (childhood): 2br/1ba co-op townhouse, maybe 850 square feet.
Second house (grandparents', after Mom and Dad divorced): 3br/1ba cape cod, roughly 1500 square feet. Semi-finished basement added another ~750, and had a rough-in for a second bathroom.
Third house (after moving out from Grandparents'): 2br/1ba rancher, roughly 1200 square feet. It had a large kitchen, living room, and dining room, bedrooms were average: 12x12 and 13x9
Fourth house (only stayed in the third house a year; Mom hated it down there because it was so far from everything): 3br/1ba two-story home, roughly 1500 square feet, across the street from Grandmom and Granddad. It was originally a little country store with an apartment over top, so its layout was a bit odd, yet we made it work.
Fifth house (moving out on my own): 3br/2ba condo, 1254 square feet. Master bedroom was huge for its price class: 11x18 feet. But the other bedrooms were around 9x11.

I'm currently back in the fourth house on that list, having sold the condo, and moving back in across from Grandmom to help her out in her old age. She passed away about a year ago. In about 4-5 years I'm planning on moving, but I've been casually looking lately, going to open houses and such on the weekends.

One thing I've noticed, interestingly, is that I can find houses that are easily twice the square footage of my current house, yet somehow they don't feel "big" enough, or "right" enough. But then I can find a house that's only has a few hundred extra square feet, yet it feels like it could work. Often, it's just a matter of how the house is laid out. I just hope that when the time does come to move, I won't get too picky!
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Old 06-09-2016, 02:50 PM   #24
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The house I grew up in was built in 1941 and I think Dad paid $5k for it, and his down payment was that he didn't take the refrigerator that was supposed to come with it. Zoning required that all new homes had to have one so he got a "scratch 'n dent" one with the dent on the side that was against a wall anyway. It was one bath, two bedroom Cape Cod that Dad semi-finished off the attic to serve as a third bedroom for my two sisters. It has since been extensively renovated. Mom sold it ~1990 for $83k and it is now listed for $480k. Looking at the photos I barely recognize the exterior and almost none of the interior. When I lived there it probably was about 900 sf but the guy who bought it from Mom was a builder and he put in four dormers, a 2nd bath and master bedroom upstairs, and finished it off very nicely.

Second home was with the ex-wife. We paid $78k, sold for $91k four years later in 1984, Zillow now shows it valued at $364k. I never paid much attention to the measured sf, just if it "felt right".

Third house I bought on my own, paid $94k in late 1985, sold in July 2002 for $225k. It was probably about 1,000 sf. Zillow doesn't show it now for some reason but last I heard they were in the $380k range after zooming to $450k two years after we sold during the housing bubble. So much for my market timing skills. Shortly after marrying DW I had her name also on the house title because people in my line of work at the time get sued a lot and that provided some degree of insulation.

Fourth house, where we are now is ~1,700 sf and valued at about what we paid for it.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:37 PM   #25
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I have very fond memories of the house I lived in when I was young. Built in 1925, 1200 sq ft, and my folks bought it around 1948 for $10,000.
Last sold in 2008 for $350,000 and Zillow estimates it at $397,000 today.

I vividly remember frequently waking up in a freezing house and following my father outside to the coal bin to bring in a bucket of coal to get the stove going and put a bit of heat into the house.

I also vividly remember stomping around in the back yard and falling through the rotten boards (a few inches below the ground) into the cesspool. For those who don't know what a cesspool is, it's a primitive version of a septic system.

And yet, little by little that house has been upgraded and improved, and is now worth nearly 4,000% of what my parents paid for it. Cumulative inflation since then is only about 900%. Seems like real estate must be a pretty good investment!
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Old 06-09-2016, 05:59 PM   #26
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I was an Army brat, living overseas about half the time, so I can't recount the sizes of the various homes we lived in.

Biggest home I ever lived in was my parents last, 2700+ sqft. They bought it for $23K around 1960 (and rented it while we were overseas and other states), another house on their street same layout/builder just sold for $549K.

After apartment living, our first house was was 1099 sqft. Second home was 2449 sqft. Current home is 2274 sqft. Next and final home will be 1300-1800 sqft if I get my way...
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:09 PM   #27
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I have very fond memories of the house I lived in when I was young. Built in 1925, 1200 sq ft, and my folks bought it around 1948 for $10,000.
Last sold in 2008 for $350,000 and Zillow estimates it at $397,000 today.

I vividly remember frequently waking up in a freezing house and following my father outside to the coal bin to bring in a bucket of coal to get the stove going and put a bit of heat into the house.

I also vividly remember stomping around in the back yard and falling through the rotten boards (a few inches below the ground) into the cesspool. For those who don't know what a cesspool is, it's a primitive version of a septic system.

And yet, little by little that house has been upgraded and improved, and is now worth nearly 4,000% of what my parents paid for it. Cumulative inflation since then is only about 900%. Seems like real estate must be a pretty good investment!
We had one of those cesspools!

As far as a good investment - parent's first house has appreciated at an annual rate of 3.3% since they first bought it in 1964. And someone has added a porch and a garage and finished the basement during that time. Their last house is listed for less than they bought it in 2000. I guess location is everything.
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Never really had a *house* growing up.
Old 06-09-2016, 06:40 PM   #28
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Never really had a *house* growing up.

We lived in apartments (tenement building, old three story flats, a housing project, etc) when I was growing up. Dad was an uneducated coal miner who relocated to Connecticut from eastern Pennsylvania when the coal mines were shut in (around 1947). I was four years old at the time. As the family grew to Dad, Mom, my two younger sisters and I, we just got a larger apartment when the need arose. Dad was uneducated, but a good family man and he worked two jobs at times. Mom started working at a small factory in Waterbury, Connecticut when us kids were in grade school .

My Dad bought his first house years after my sisters and I were out on our own and that was about 1975. The house was an old, three story wood frame house very typical of what was constructed in the ealry 1900's in Connecticut factory towns. I believe he paid $17K for it and spent a lot of time fixing it up so he and Mom could rent out two of the three floors for more income. He died in 1982 and we moved Mom to North Carolina to live with my youngest sister.

We sold the house for about $29K after his death and used the funds for Mom's relocation and to put a small room addition on Sis's NC house for Mom.

We don't have a lot of childhood memories that are related to home ownership experiences. I would guess the closest we felt to home ownership and having a circle of good friends in families was when we lived in the housing projects where we had our own unit and other families had similar. I was in my early teen years and made a lot of good friends during those years.
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:41 PM   #29
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I grew up in a family of 5 in a 2 bedroom house of about 600 square feet sharing a bedroom with my brother and sister. When I was about 7, my parents built a bedroom in the basement that I shared with my younger brother until I was about 15. They then built an addition with a family room and 2 bedrooms and the kids finally each had their own rooms. The house expanded from 600 square feet to about 1200.

I bought my first house when I was 21, a 3-bedroom 1000 square foot bungalow.

Got married and moved to an 1800 4-level split level.

Got divorced and bought another 3-bedroom 1000 square foot bungalow where I've been since 1997. There is also about 800 square feet of usable finished space in the basement. It's on 1.7 acres with no one behind me. I have no intention of moving until I am unable to care for it.

2 years ago, I ended up visiting the house I grew up in...the brother of a friend bought it. Unfortunately, we only stopped in for a minute and I didn't get to look around beyond the kitchen which had been redone, so there were no memories triggered.
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:13 PM   #30
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The house we live in is (as I discovered on Zillow just now) worth less than half of the house we spent the most years of my growing up. My parents bought that house in around 1980 for about what DH and I paid for our first house in 1994.

My parents sold that house in 1990, well before the present valuation. Nowadays, it is the most expensive zip code in our state. Weird to think.
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:30 PM   #31
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First house(child) 700 sq ft garage apt style - tore down many years ago
Second house(child) 1100 sq ft ranch style - worth roughly $60k today

As an adult, I'm currently living in my 3rd home. Very happy with it as it is located on the golf course of which I am a member. Plan to stay here until the coroner declares me deceased.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:38 PM   #32
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Ok... adding more details to my previous response.

House I lived in from age 4 till 18 (then bought, myself, 13 years ago). Dad paid 29k... no down payment. It was 18 months old and a forclosure. Previous owners paid for lots of upgrades with a 2nd loan... then almost immediately filed for divorce... both walked away. It was a buyers market and bank wanted someone to assume the loan - wrote off the down payment and the 2nd loan.

My first purchase was a 2br 1 bath 1200 sf. Bought for 75k. Sold 3 years later for 80k.

2nd house purchased -Relocated states. Bought a twin home (semi-detached) that was 1600sf 3-4 br (one was converted attic) and 1ba. Bought for 113k. Sold for 134k 9 years later.

3rd house purchased - bought house I grew up in from Dad for 600k. (Yeah -he made out like a bandit!!!) 2000sf 4br 2ba in good neighborhood in expensive city. It's appreciated a lot since we bought.... We added a 700sf detached 1br house on the property for the in-laws. Now we rent it for income. Zillow says it's worth more than $1M now. Since I don't plan to move, and it's paid off... I don't really care about that. In fact it seems silly that it's worth that much. It's still a 50 year old tract home... just happens to be on "expensive dirt" and is adjacent to one of the pricier neighborhoods in the country (we're La Jolla adjacent.)
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Old 06-10-2016, 12:45 AM   #33
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My first few years were spent in a small, very old house that my debt-averse parents had purchased for cash. I guess it was about 800 sq ft. When I was four, they purchased a larger not quite so old home (~1200 sq ft) in a more desirable neighbourhood, again for cash. They kept their first house for a decade as an income property. I left home in my early 20s, but my parents lived in the second house for the remainder of their lives. When I inherited the house 43 years later, I sold it at a price that worked out as an IRR of 8%. The timing was fortunate, as the housing market crashed a year later.

After fleeing the nest I was a very mobile renter for about a decade. Eventually I settled in a LCOL city and a year later purchased a modest 1240 sq foot older home with a large down payment that I had been stashing away. I paid off the small mortgage within 18 months. I sold that home 20 years later for 3 times its purchase price. (It's currently on the market with a significantly higher asking price, but has recently had a lot of money invested in it). My current home is an 1150 sq ft modern condo in a moderately high COL area. I find my living expenses to be significantly reduced compared with my former older home. Having never wanted to be "house poor" l have not experienced significant inflation in my living space during my lifetime. I wouldn't know what to do with a McMansion if I had one!
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:23 AM   #34
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The house I grew up in was built by my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather in 1911, it was about 1200 sq, ft. Then lived in assorted apartments and old houses in Minneapolis. When my Father died in 1975 I moved into the house my parents bought in 1967 for $8500. Lived there until 1996 when I purchased my current home which is 865 sq. ft.
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:30 AM   #35
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We recently had a 90+ year old woman who was a pillar of the community pass away - while a simple farm girl, she was also at one-time a state legislator (as are two of her daughters) - what I thought was really cool is that she lived in the same farm house her entire life and died in the room she was born in.
For a number of reasons, no one in my family has SOLD a house in over 130 years! You die and the next generation moves in.

My brother (age 60) still sleeps in the same bedroom as when we were kids; we grew up in our great-grandfather's house. DW and I now live in my grandfather's house.

In our area (north of Boston) it is not unusual at all. Over half of our neighbors are living in their parent's or grandparent's houses, and yes, you have to live here for 25 years before you're no longer considered a 'newcomer' or "the people who live in the Smith's house"
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Old 06-10-2016, 03:06 PM   #36
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Folks homesteaded in Alaska after WW2. Built their own place and stayed long enough for my younger sister and I to be born. After that a few years in a trailer and a rental house (and a new brother for me) they decided they wanted to raise beef cattle and us in the country. This led to moves every few years as they increased the size of the land they were buying. The houses were of little consequence. A normal part of moving was the celebratory burning of the outhouse on the new place and spraying the new old house with a coat of Barn Red paint. Wood heat was the norm. You could say the homes were a tad rough. Floors weren't checked for level with a marble placed in the middle of the room - it was more a matter of how much taller the short kid was than the tall one when they changed room sides. Single story with attic bedrooms with stem walls a couple feet high.

After all the moving around I became an adult stick-in-the-mud. Was in one house about 22 years, then bought the place next door, remodeled and have been living in it for 16 years. Bought a winter place in La Quinta Ca in 2010 - the houses have been in the 1500'-1700' range, way bigger than the homes I grew up in.
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Old 06-10-2016, 03:11 PM   #37
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My first few years were spent in a small, very old* house that my debt-averse parents had purchased for cash. I guess it was about 800 sq ft.
* I found it on a map dated 1750.
Second home was built in 1900.
First home I owned was built in 1925.
Current home was built in 2009.
So the homes that I own keep getting newer!
One of the nicest places I rented was in a lovely Art Deco building in Pittsburgh, c. 1932.
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Old 06-10-2016, 03:20 PM   #38
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Home 1 - Childhood - 1,000 sqft (2 adults + 4 children)
Home 1 - Childhood - 1,852 sqft (2 adults + 5 children)
Home 2 - First Home - Rental - 1,361 sqft (2 adults)
Home 3 - First Owned - 1,410 sqft (2 adults + 2 children)
Home 4 - Second Owned - 2,898 sqft (2 adults + 2 children)

In the 60's I am not quite sure how 7 of us lived in less than 1,000 sq ft.
Come to think of it, I am not quite sure how 2 of use will do with 3,000 sq ft.
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:43 PM   #39
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The house I grew up in was 1200 square feet with one bathroom for six people until later when my parents added another bathroom . It was a basic middle class house that I loved . Great memories growing up in that house .
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Old 06-10-2016, 11:46 PM   #40
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Since birth:
1980 - Single wide trailer (Yeeeeee haw!)
1981 - moved to an apartment in the city (2 BR? 750 SF?)
1983 - 1200 SF single family house (about a mile from where I live today)
1984 - 1500 SF
1988 - 1800 SF
1998 - dorm room
1999 - 1200 SF rental condo
2001 - 1200 SF condo (our first home)
2003 - 1800 SF house (current home)

Along these lines, our kids were remarking how awesome and huge our 1800 SF house is. I guess our house is bigger than most of their friends' houses (some of whom live in 500-800 SF condos/apartments or single wides), so they just assumed our house is above average. It's all relative. They think we are living very well, whereas our house is only about 75% of the median house value in this city.

My take on housing is certainly informed by where I've lived. Anything over 2,000-2500 SF starts to seem like a huge house to me. Like, oh, here's a second bonus room. What do you do with all these bonus rooms? Walk in closets bigger than my bedroom growing up. I look at our 1800 sf and reflect on how we don't really use more than about 2/3 the space for the five of us.
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