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Old 08-03-2012, 06:06 PM   #21
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Currently downsizing as we are transitioning to retirement. Pre-retirement home - 3500+ . Moving to 1850+ 3/2 home. This first downsize is temporary - maybe two years... We will then move into our final retirement home - designing it now - 2 Master BR's with Bths, One Full Office Suite with 1/2 bth.

Our final retirement home is going to be designed to last a life time and be as economically designed as I can accomplish. It will be maximized with insulation, minimal and easy to access plumbing, metal or some other long lasting roof (50 yr), minimal windows in non material areas with key windows where there will be a view, complete handicap access incorporated, etc. etc. etc. It will cost no more than a normal home to build, but should need little if no maintenance during the rest of our lifetime...
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:09 PM   #22
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1800 Sq feet. I have not moved after retirement yet. I would be happy with less space if I had a larger shop space and more land.
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:58 PM   #23
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Home #1: 2500 sq ft "Split level" with 4 beds, 3 baths, 1+ acre and barn.

Home #2. 1100 sq ft Condo, 2 beds, 2 baths.

Although we're not yet retired, this is our retirement home. Downsizing was a huge pain, but our smaller place is easier to clean, newer, nicer, and less cluttered. Clutter has a way of accumulating in unused space. Utilities are less. Plenty of room to be alone for introvert days,

One note on Sq footage. Layout matters. Our current 1100 sq ft feels spacious, but not every floorplan did.

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Old 08-03-2012, 09:14 PM   #24
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No change pre and post because we bought a new place pre retirement and stayed there for 2 years and I thought it was a great place to retire in. 1,400 sq ft (I love the kitchen) with a huge clubhouse comprising many facilities like gym, swimming pool, concierge services, spa, etc. Located in the city with lots of public transport. We don't entertain at home and try not to have stay in guests. Only had a home party once and I used the barbeque facilities in the clubhouse. I spend a lot of time at home and at the clubhouse. It's like living in a resort but with privacy.
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:45 AM   #25
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House #1: 1250 sq feet. Yard to maintain, snow to shovel. Unfinished basement.
Condo #2: 1122 sq feet. Minimal maintenance. Size feels just right.
Not yet retired. Moved in 2011. Plan is to stay in #2.
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Old 08-04-2012, 03:21 AM   #26
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DH retired, I'm semi-retired. In talking about houses, note that we live in an area where house do not have basements.

Pre-retirement - 4500 SF house, 2 story, 5 bedrooms, plus guest house, on about 2.5 acres

Retirement - 3000 SF house, on 1 acre, 1 story, 4 bedrooms

Bear in mind that when we bought the pre-retirement house we had 6 people living in the house. Now we are down to 4 as we still have two adolescents at home.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:32 AM   #27
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I hesitate to respond as we are clearly outliers. We went the oher way and bought two more houses (Alberta, and Arizona) adding to the lake house and condo we had at retirement. Went from about 5,000 sq ft to 14,000 sq ft. Crazy I know. Total house expenses are about 25% of our total spend. Real estate value is a little under 20% of net worth.
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Home #1 - 2700 sq.ft., 5 BR, 3 bath, 2-story, diving pool, suburban lot.

Home #2 - 1700 sq.ft., 3 BR, 2 bath, chalet style with 25-ft high beam, lots of glass, front and rear decks, panoramic view, better built than #1 and cost just a little bit more, big hillside lot, detached garage.

Home #3 - 200 sq.ft. motor home, 7.4L, 9 MPG towing a "dinghy", DIY suspension improvement for cross-wind driving (need bragging here!)

I love all three and will keep them all.
Yes, you are an outlier, both of you...you're FI and own three houses!

Completely counter to the old advice on how to become and remain wealthy: "Dont acquire a third house, a second wife or, a first boat."


Note: Apologies to the female readers; I'm sure the saying refers to the cost of divorce versus gender.
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:32 AM   #28
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We have had about every size house preretirement, all seemed right at the time, never wished to downsize or upsize because of situations. In retirement we have had condos (1400 sq ft types) and houses (2000 sq ft types). Hoping this is was our last move we currently have 2000 sq ft house on 1/4 acre that feels just right. Environmental area between us and the golf course as wouldn't want golfers driving right past the house. Location and view are main reasons we bought here. Didn't plan it when we bought but now have everything done in the way of maintenance. Guessing at about $2500/yr for house cleaning, lawn maintenance, tree and shrub trimming and misc house repairs. $2500 in taxes. House is 22 years old with tile roof and hope I never have to replace it with est cost of $30k. That's what most of them go for around here. If health or a death forces one of us to move, it will be same area but probably a condo or villa. Just bought a new golf cart to get around town when we can no longer drive.
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:01 AM   #29
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Pre-retirement was an early '60's 3 bedroom 2 bath house I bought alone in 1985. I think it was ~1,000 sf. It did have a driveway but no garage. No dishwasher, and installing one would have required major renovation. Even DW had to acknowledge that a dishwasher wasn't worth $6k.

Post-retirement is new construction 1,700 sf rambler 3-bath with two-car garage (wow, what luxury!) and half the basement finished, the other half shop/storage. And a dishwasher!
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:17 AM   #30
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Pre retirement - 4 bed, attached 2 car garage, finished basement, 0.6 acre lot, 3.5 bath, 2900 square feet.

Post retirement - moved back into the "starter home" we purchased in the 70s then kept as a rental. It was built in the 40s, sits on 2 acres and has 1,200 square feet not including the detached man cave garage DH built.

The two places are about 8 miles apart and within 25 miles of Washington, DC.
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:29 AM   #31
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Pre-retirement - 2400 sq ft two-story on 1/2 acre.
Post-retirement - still in the same house. I thought we would have downsized by now but Dh is having trouble getting rid of stuff. I'm all for moving to the 'cabin in the woods' since we've agreed on the area we want to move to but lots of 'the stuff' has got to go! Goal is one-story on 3-10 acres...will remodel existing or build new. Doesn't realy matter to me.
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:01 AM   #32
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Yes, you are an outlier, both of you...you're FI and own three houses!
Danmar is a true outlier. As for me, I just made it sound more exciting.

Both of my homes #1 and #2 are just average for the area that they are in. Added together, their costs may be less than a nice average home in California or up in the Puget Sound. I used to think of moving up to the NW, but it would take consolidating 2 into one. I decided for the moment to stay and enjoy the variety that the two together provide as they complement each other.

As for home #3, many posters have a nicer MH than mine. Mine is an small entry-level class C, which I bought used for less than what people pay for a new car. Yes, it is really a home for me when I was trekking on the road. Home sweet home! I was just as happy to be on the road in it, as I was when sipping Cognac watching snowfall in home #2. I have not made goulash in my MH, but am willing to bet it tastes the same as when I make it in my other homes.

I have always tried to be happy with what I have, and been getting more so. Instead of saying the glass is half-full, how about pouring the content into a smaller glass and say it is full to the brim? Some bloggers live full-time in a small MH the same as mine, and who's to say their lives are less happy than mine.

About Danmar, he has 4 real homes, and his AZ home is in Paradise Valley, an exclusive town. A 14,000 sq.ft. home there is a multi-million dollar home, and could easily exceed my total net worth.
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:19 AM   #33
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We'll be about the same as ocdokie: 2700 sf now, will go to 912 sf. But won't need: exercise room, as the condo has one for residents. We now have at least one room that is never used at all. There will be not one single step involved at the retirement condo. It doesn't matter now, but it will in 30 years. Yes, our guests will sleep on an air mattress in the computer/2nd bedroom. No doubt we will feel a bit of a pinch.
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:39 AM   #34
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Pre-retirement. 1,500 sq ft home with 900 sq guest house. 3 acres. Full bath and half bath in each building.
Post-retirement 920 sq ft one bath condo.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:39 AM   #35
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Not offended. I always figured the "second wife" part referred to polygamy, which has got to be a real pain in the wallet (see Mark Twain's description of Brigham Young's plural-wife troubles in "Roughing It.")

The saying is quite accurate if it's referring to spouses, houses, cars, etc. that are taken on for strictly "vanity" reasons. Suspect there are many forum members who own multiple properties for practical reasons.

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Completely counter to the old advice on how to become and remain wealthy: "Dont acquire a third house, a second wife or, a first boat."

Note: Apologies to the female readers; I'm sure the saying refers to the cost of divorce versus gender.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:56 AM   #36
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Our pre and post retirement home is the same small 7-room house. Three bedrooms up (one now transitioned into another purpose). If we bought another house we might consider the stairs an issue, but as it is now we feel going up and down is welcome inadvertent exercise.

We can still accommodate guests, mostly family, but rarely need to otherwise--plenty of nice motels not too far from us.
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:56 PM   #37
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For those who are retired (early or otherwise) AND who moved in connection with retirement, how large was your pre-retirement home? How large is your current retirement home? If you downsized, upsized or otherwise made a significant change in the size/type of home, what thoughts do you have on your decision? To what degree did you take guests (friends for the weekend, family, grandkids, etc.) into consideration when sizing your retirement home?
Why I'm asking: considering a move and am trying to rethink what we really need; other experiences always helpful.
I view home sizes more in terms of "neighbor standoff distance" than square feet. And perhaps some married couples think in terms of "spousal territory".

I think you'd want to pick a good location and a great neighborhood first, followed by the actual property/structure on it. All other things being equal, I'd rather maintain a smaller home. Instead than spending thousands of extra dollars (and annual property taxes) for space that's only used once or twice a year, you could put your guests up at a luxury hotel... or have the grandkids sleep in your guest BR while their parents have to "rough it" at the local hotel. Or suggest that you'll visit them instead?

Our daughter graduates in 2014 and gets a military household goods move to her first duty station. She's going to clean us out of house & home, including both her bedroom and the guest bedroom. Then we'll gradually refurnish the empty spaces with sleeper sofas ("ClickClack") or futons from Craigslist, and turn the rooms into multipurpose spaces. Of course this plan assumes that her first duty station isn't Yokosuka or Gaeta...
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:48 AM   #38
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Back on the OP question about how much space we really need, I think I have become very flexible. Our main home of 2700 sq.ft. was chosen so that we have room to raise a family when we bought it 24 years ago. Then, our 2nd home of 1700 sq.ft. was mainly for the 2 of us, and it proves to be plenty, particularly when its decks are almost 1000 sq.ft. We may be OK with even less space, but since we are not relocating, I will just keep these homes as there would be no savings after all the costs of selling and moving. When we were in my daughter's 1100 sq.ft. town home with 2BR and 1.5 bath, we looked around and thought that we could live there too. All I would miss is a place to keep my motor home.

I think I can live in a very small space. Remember that I have been happy living for more than 1 month inside a 200 sq.ft. motor home, and with my wife too. Perhaps I would change my mind if I lived in it even longer, like an entire summer. This is an experiment I have been wanting to do.
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:52 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Huston55 View Post
Yes, you are an outlier, both of you...you're FI and own three houses!

Completely counter to the old advice on how to become and remain wealthy: "Dont acquire a third house, a second wife or, a first boat."


Note: Apologies to the female readers; I'm sure the saying refers to the cost of divorce versus gender.
i think the traditional wisdom is valid. We splurged on real estate after reaching FI and paid cash for everything. Time will tell if having 4 places was wise. We have noticed that our travel expenses have decreased a lot and helped to absorb some of the cost of the place in Arizona. Some might say we have an ownership fetish.
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:01 AM   #40
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@NW Bound. I liked your post. You are right about the glass half full. Incidently 14,000 sq ft is our total square footage. The PV home is only a portion of that and is an average house for PV. There are some unbelievable homes there though. Not uncommon to have 10-20,000 square feet perched on the mountain side with spectacular view. i have seen 21 car garages but 4-5 are the norm. The concentrated wealth there is quite remarkable.
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