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View Poll Results: How many square feet of living space do you want in your ER house?
1500' or more 36 27.91%
2000' or more 29 22.48%
2500' or more 21 16.28%
3000' or more 4 3.10%
4000' or more 2 1.55%
less than 1500' 37 28.68%
Voters: 129. You may not vote on this poll

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Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-14-2006, 08:30 PM   #1
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Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

This is a spin-off from an earlier thread. How much space do you need in your home to feel comfortable on a long term basis? Yes, I know family size varies but that's OK here, fire away...
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-14-2006, 08:40 PM   #2
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

DW and I are moving to Fla. next month. We bought a house there 4 years ago and it's just shy of 2600sq. ft.. Hopefully this will be our only ER home, we shall see.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-14-2006, 08:54 PM   #3
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

We have 1,000 sq ft for the last 20 years, don't expect to have more or less when we retire. DW retired this spring, I have another year or two to go. This California where our 2BD 1 BA small place is >$500K.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-14-2006, 08:55 PM   #4
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

Now in 1000sf.

Would prefer half that.

Super insulated.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-14-2006, 11:26 PM   #5
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

We need only a minumum for daily living, 1500 sf or less. But we do require an additional space for my shop and DW's hobbies. A full basement or heated/cooled outbuilding would do.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 01:07 AM   #6
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

I consider out-structure space and acreage as important as house space.

A barn or large shed reduces my required house space significantly.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 02:55 AM   #7
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgeeeee
I consider out-structure space and acreage as important as house space.

A barn or large shed reduces my required house space significantly.
And thus the ongoing SF cost of your "space".

JG
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 03:02 AM   #8
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

For a couple, I like about 1000SF. Seems like plenty to me, if they
get along. If not, no amount of space is too much.

As a bachelor, my last apartment still seems the perfect size,
about 600SF, plus a one car garage. BTW, I agree with sgeeeee
that the "out-structure space" is pretty important, too.

JG
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 03:39 AM   #9
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

Looks like you should modify your poll with an "...or less" option.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 06:35 AM   #10
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

We currently have just over 3000 square feet house, plus garage and 2 barns with more to come. With 4 kids that amount of space is just right. I suspect that as the children grow older and start leaving home it will be too big and I can envision building a smaller house on my farm to live in some day and letting the most prolific of my kids move into the "main" house with the 5BD. The plan at this point is to build 4 more houses on this property, one for each of the kids when they settle down enough to need a permanent dwelling.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 07:18 AM   #11
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMcDonald
The plan at this point is to build 4 more houses on this property, one for each of the kids when they settle down enough to need a permanent dwelling.
I'd guess the odds of all 4 of your children wanting to live in the OldMcDonald Family Compound as adults are near zero. "How You Gonna' Keep 'Em Down On The Farm After They've Seen Paree?"

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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 08:27 AM   #12
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

We're living in an approx. 950 sq ft. apartment. Our last condo was 1045. So 1000 would work well. We'll be looking for a single story, to be more energy efficient and also no stairs.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 08:40 AM   #13
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

The other thing needed is where you are living...

When I was in London and New York, 750 feet was 'big'.. even though if I was married I would want a bit more...

Where I am now, 2000 seems 'big', but I use most of it at times... probably could be lowered to 1500 without much difficulty excpet that the neighborhood would not be that good..
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 08:44 AM   #14
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

Jane (and others) -- how do you like apartment living? Seems like it would be good for retirees, but it's been a long time since I had any direct experience.

Any problems with parking, noise, other peoples' dogs, etc? Capricious landlords?
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 08:52 AM   #15
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

Oops, in designing the poll I greatly underestimated how many people would be happy with less than 1500 sq feet of living space...I edited the poll to include such an option.

I'm guilty of assuming that my own preferences would cover the range of replies. It's interesting in that this illustrates how such things are largely a function of what we are accustomed to rather than what we actually "need". To me, 1500' feels a bit cramped however I admit that this sensation is more a matter of conditioning than anything else. It's also a concession needed to prevent divorce

I agree that things such as yard size, basements, garage size, and shed space do increase the sensation of living space but I was trying to stick with house size as is typically quoted on a real estate listing.

Rock
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 09:20 AM   #16
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

We have lived in an apartment of less than 1500 square feet for the last nine years. I would like one more room, but it still could be within a 1500 square foot size and be fine.

For the last year or so we have been casually looking around at buying a house and selling the building we live in. A few weeks ago we looked at a rural place on a small lake. House is maybe 1800 square feet. Plus there is an outside sauna (a rural Minnesota necessity). Seems luxuriously large to me. We liked the place a lot. Plus a lot more for the money than the houses we have looked at in the city.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 10:04 AM   #17
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

I am currently in 3600 + sq ft home. I look forward to getting my young adults settled elswhere but am encouraging sound investment and expectations they can live with. When I can downsize it will still be fairly large (2500 at a min) so I can enjoy things, space and an enormous kitchen area. Entertaining of friends and family will be one of my main recreations as I age. I traveled non-stop for several years in employment and could care less about a plane trip. Some road trips will be nice but I want a nice comfy home base to enjoy day to day life in.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 10:10 AM   #18
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

We have 2000 sq.ft. Large MBR, large LR/sun room. Normal DR, 2BR, one used as an office/den, other a guest room. If it was designed to better use the LR, we could do with less space. Could probably eliminate the DR with a redesigned kitchen.

So with conventional design, it is about right. Better design would make 1500 sq.ft. even nicer for two people. Guest room was for MIL but now she does not travel well.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 11:04 AM   #19
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

We have 3200 sq ft, not counting a generous double garage and storage area, but live in less than half of that. The first floor is accessible and has all we need. We knew it was more than we needed when we built it but it is view property and the land was expensive. In a couple years we plan to add another bedroom and maybe a bath then put it on the market to move into smaller digs closer to the kids. It is a perfect home for a retired couple with lots of visiting relatives . No need to fight Seattle traffic to go downtown, just catch the ferry - kick back with wifi or a book and a latte.
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA
Old 10-15-2006, 11:49 AM   #20
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Re: Optimum house size for early retirees in the USA

2500 sq ft finished, great when we had 2 kids at home but too much now except when we have annual visits of my wife's parents and sibs. Also have 750 sq ft of nice but unfinished basement, garages for 3 cars (use 2 for cars and one for tools and lawn equipment), ~1500 sq ft of attic space, half acre lot including easements. (Built 1980. Very pleasant views but no water view. Assessment is 210k, probably could get 250k or more.)

We think about downsizing but haven't found anything we like as much in a similar price range.
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