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Old 06-14-2007, 12:07 AM   #21
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When we moved to our current neighborhood six years ago, one thing on our criteria list was "family friendly neighborhood". So we found a great new housing development where the homes were just starting to go up -- 2 story homes with 4-5 bedrooms and 2400-3200 sq ft. It felt like a place we could call 'home', where lots of families with kids like ourselves would enjoy living. So we made an offer and soon had a house.

Our next five neighbors were all retirees. What? ? ? It turns out that they could afford these larger, nicer homes. The families we met were living in smaller homes in very tightly-packed neighborhoods -- very few could afford these larger homes with more bedrooms and more space. So it turns out that we now live in a nice, VERY QUIET neighborhood with lots of retirees and a couple of nice families.

FYI, our plan is to downsize in a couple years from now when our youngest is off on his own. Our neighbors will undoubtedly be mystified by this decision

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Old 06-14-2007, 01:51 AM   #22
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For some reason, I think most American's equate success with a large house. Obviously if one has a large family, they need room. But that is not what I am talking about. American's seems to want to get more house than they often need. We did. I know many other's that could afford to do so and did the same thing.

We have come to our senses. Now I am just trying to decide our exit plan. Should we sell before or after retirement. I am considering doing it after we retire. Simply because DW and I will have more spare time.

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Old 06-14-2007, 07:11 AM   #23
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It amazes me how people want to upsize in their late 70's or even early 80's. I saw my grandparents do it, and my own parents bought a McMansion at around 80. So, you had two really old people rattling around a big house they couldn't take care of themselves, and why? Because they could afford it now, I guess.
Me? I think it's insane.
But the ones that get me the most are those that buy the huge house for the visits from the kids and grandkids for their ONCE A YEAR visit. So, you have this huge McMansion for 11-1/2 months of the year for a time when you will have 10 or so people visiting. Again, has nobody ever heard of hotels? Is it just me that doesn't get this logic?
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Old 06-14-2007, 09:58 AM   #24
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We downsized from a 5000sqft acreage estate to a 2000sqft penthouse. The penthouse is an old design, like a 3BR rancher in the sky. If it had contemporary design, we think 1600sqft would be perfect.

But I agree that we are going against the herd. We had friends who sold their home, considered a penthouse like ours, and ended up in a even larger home for the two of them. Why? Because they can.

What they don't consider is the time that owning a large property takes. I guess they consider it a hobby. They also think it is a better investment. I consider housing to be a cost. My investments pay me.
For the fun of it...Keith
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:39 AM   #25
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kcowan, you are a man after my own heart! I totally agree with your thinking...but it may just be the two of us on this issue.
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:46 AM   #26
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i don't know what the actual data says, but we want the smallest house we can fit everyone in - right now we have 1700 sq feet - 2 adults, 3 kids and a tiny dog! and it's just right. we've had bigger and hated it - because of the upkeep etc.

i have heard that they need more one-story houses built to keep up w/ the boomers aging etc...and those are not as available as the 2 story homes around here at least.

if you want nice neighborhoods and small houses -you just move closer to a university or major city - but you would have to get over paying more for less space...
If i think of something clever to say, i'll put it here...
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Old 06-14-2007, 02:35 PM   #27
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We're definitely downsizing now. Our 2100 SQ Ft townhome in central Houston is for sale. We'd like to rent a small (1200 sf) house in central area but are having difficulty finding them for a reasonable rental price. We had a 1200 sf vacation home in the hill country a few years back and it was perfectly sized. Seems like all the small houses are in ugly, unsafe neighborhoods or in gentrifying neighborhoods, but one step away from being torn down. We may end up in the burbs, but not ready to give up yet. Smaller is definitely better for us.

Definitely don't see this trend in people I know. But there are more books out about building small houses. At least it's being talked about.
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Old 06-14-2007, 02:54 PM   #28
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In the "active senior" (but not age restricted) community I live in, the ranch condos are 1700 square feet. Most people here have downsized from homes twice as big, if not more. They seem to have adjusted well to it, although some refuse to give up ANY possessions and have very cluttered interiors. The garages are funny to see, with art and furniture and clothes they'll never use but can't stand to give up.

I actually upsized immediately upon RE from a 1000 square foot garden condo. We didn't upsize to get more space, although the 75% extra space is very nice. It's because our 20 year old condo that was the absolute cheapest in the area was going downhill, with tons of renters and younger people who were always partying at 3 in the morning very nearby our front door and bedroom. We got tired of smelling smells from below, hearing people talk in the bathrooms or hear their exhaust fans, and feeling the living room rock when they slammed their front door below. We are much happier living among mostly older people in a more quiet neighborhood. We intended to stay in the original condo, but I guess in housing there can be negatives in the cheapest housing that go beyond the obvious (size or quality of construction) and which have to do with the people living there. Most people used it as a starter home whether they owned or rented, so there wasn't much commitment to keeping it nice. Nor did they have any desire to be good neighbors. One young guy who owned (his parents bought it for him) had a roommate who broke the glass in their kitchen window when he was locked out so he could pull open the window and get in through it instead of the front door. In six months, the owner never replaced it!

But from what I read about real estate in the Atlanta area, most older people don't want condos or very small homes. The new thing is a home that may be a little smaller than what they came from, but may be equally expensive, with tons of upgrades. The preference is for single family homes that offer yard maintenance as part of the homeowner dues.
“It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society”.------Krishnamurti
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Old 06-14-2007, 04:17 PM   #29
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One reason to have a McMansion:

ABC News: Marijuana McMansions

"Law enforcement agencies around the country tell ABC News' Law & Justice Unit that they've uncovered the latest scam in the American war on drugs -- high priced McMansions in leafy, high-end suburbs housing multimillion dollar hydroponic marijuana-growing operations. Cops call them grow houses."

Or maybe this should go in "Are houses a good investment?"...
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Old 06-15-2007, 09:46 AM   #30
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This wouldn't be for me and DH (now that we have graduated to 1700 square feet from always living in 1000, we wouldn't want to do 400), but it's a great idea (park models ("trailers") by resort areas):

A Resort Cottage to Go - New York Times
“It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society”.------Krishnamurti
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Old 06-15-2007, 10:30 PM   #31
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DH and I recently completed building our future retirement home. It is a one story, 2BR, 2 bath - just under 1800 SF. We spend weekends there and the house really is much more livable than our permanent residence. The house is on the Puget Sound, so we built it to be as energy efficient and low maintenance as possible (not really knowing what the future will bring).
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver
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Old 06-15-2007, 10:39 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Culture View Post
I can't speak for the rest of the county, but I can speak for Houston. The problem here is neighborhoods. I would like to be in a smaller home, and so would others I know. The problems is that small equals cheaper, and the cheaper neighborhoods are areas that 95% of people are not willing to live in if they can afford better. Generally, most people are not willing to stop until they move up to at least the 2500 SF level (say ballpark $150k to $200k in the suburbs). Unfortunately, the lower the income, the higher the percentage of people who make poor neighbors. I have no idea why this is true, but IMHO it is.
You nailed it. We moved to Houston in 2003. I wanted to live very close to my job (ZIP 77042), and the only neighborhoods worth living in that ZIP and surrounding areas had large homes in the subdivision, much larger than the two of us needed. I would have preferred a nice, somewhat upscale smaller home but they were all 2000+ sf and around $200-250K in the area where we wanted to live.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 06-16-2007, 03:28 AM   #33
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Dallas Texas suburbs are like one of the earlier poster said. Small = neighbors you may not want to live next too. Its seems builders are only building McMansions even for starter homes. There are nicer smaller homes close to downtown but because of location the price is higher. Due to all this We will stay where are and just make this home more energy saving.

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