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Old 03-09-2020, 04:51 PM   #101
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I am not building *just* to suit someone's idea of ideal resale value though. If we want a mansard roof (only on the tower) and dormers, we will have them!

If I wanted a Mr. Brady box house, I would just look around and buy one.
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Old 03-10-2020, 05:13 PM   #102
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Check with your local codes and possibly neighborhood requirements about minimum square footage. We decided to buy a 1900 sq. ft. one level 3BR, 2.5 bath ranch style house for our forever home. I originally chose it because 2 of the DH's siblings have had to both knees replaced. Instead his knees are still fine, but I developed a chronic lung condition. You never know when no stairs will become an imperative.
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Old 03-10-2020, 05:18 PM   #103
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1400 sq ft. Two bedrooms two bathrooms. Need to consider resale. All on one floor. Doors to accommodate walker.
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Old 03-10-2020, 05:37 PM   #104
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Check with your local codes and possibly neighborhood requirements about minimum square footage.
Agreed, every location is different.

Our county had a 500 sq/ft minimum when we built our house back in 2004. A few years ago they reduced the minimum to 150 sq/ft to accommodate the popularity of "tiny houses" and accessory dwelling units (AKA Mother-in-Law cottages).

https://www.clarkcountytoday.com/new...nges-approved/
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Old 03-10-2020, 05:47 PM   #105
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We just sold our 2600 square foot colonial on 10 1/2 acres in NY to live on a .12 of an acre in an 1100 square foot ranch home in NH. It can be challenging as we are both retired, but at least we have a huge walk out basement that hubby does spend lots of time in on his workshop and other hobbies.


We felt this was a good move for aging into and I am glad we did the moving now instead of when we are older as just the physical act of moving and the logistics involved was exhausting.


This forced us to downsize in a major way and simplify our lives. Expenses should also be less for the most part as well. We are in our 60's.


We have a one car garage now instead of 2, but we have 2 cars.


2 bedroom, 2 bath. One bedroom used as an office.




HOA ($150) has road plowed and whatever little lawn there is mowed. Clubhouse and pool. Trash pick up included also.
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Old 03-10-2020, 06:30 PM   #106
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The house idea has already saved me a ton of money as I became a lot more careful with investing in taxable because of the need for liquidity. I figure the idea of building a house has saved me about $25,000 so far in potential market losses.
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Old 03-11-2020, 04:57 AM   #107
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We have been living in our 1100 sf condo now for 2 yrs. We spent 2 yrs downsizing before our move. My husband is a bit of a pack rat so we have a storage unit. I am now at a point where I want to get rid of 1/3 more.

It can be done and we feel we have sacrificed nothing. Our home has items that bring us joy, not just stuff. So liberating not to shop. I enjoy looking at items. I have been fill a basket before putting it back. Something in then something out.

We have a 2/2 condo. What makes it so perfect is we have a 24' wall of sliders facing east for our amazing sunrises. We also face the spectacular sunsets. We could have bought more sf inland for the same price. This for us is the lifetime location, location, location.

If finding places where to store stuff is where you are 1200sf may be too small. If you change your mind set as we did it can be spacious and liberating.

I call it my lock and go. No worries and quick to keep clean, and I hate housework.
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Too small??
Old 03-11-2020, 05:48 AM   #108
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Too small??

We are looking at approximately 450 sqft. Not a typo. This will be a class A RV. In reality, wherever we park it the surrounding outdoors is our living room.
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Old 03-11-2020, 06:14 AM   #109
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Oh that out of my skill set. I love camping in all forms. Your plan would be great for us but only for say 2-3 months at a time as a mode of travel. We would not do well our only lifestyle choice. Many do I hope they chime in for you.
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Old 03-11-2020, 07:21 AM   #110
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We've built 4 and remodeled several ourselves. Largest was 1700 amongst 3500+ and everyone said ours was too small. Longest it ever took us was 4 mths to sell. Always did custom aspects which is why the houses sold easy. Our current is 1k, with a large pb. Hate being inside so could easily go to 6-800sq ft. Think about placement of the house (sun), we get horrible wind so we screwed every single piece of the soffit to keep all the rattling down. We also build log because of the wind. We use all electric because it's the most stable as far as cost. ($110 highest mth). Been gouged HARD with propane in the past. Open floorplan with few walls. Build custom closets that second as the walls to save space. The big consideration is space for utilities. Done correctly it can be minimal. Best to be knowledgeable as some inspectors can try to make things miserable for you.
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Old 03-11-2020, 07:31 AM   #111
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I've never lived in a house bigger than 1700 sq feet. 1000 is ample space for 2 people. As other posters have said, making sure you can age in place is important. Two bedrooms or more will secure retail value. I would not build a house with significantly fewer bedrooms than the rest of the neighborhood. An open loft is not the same as a bedroom.

The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka is a terrific reference for elegant living in modest homes and is well worth reading as you work through the design process. .
Good luck!
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Old 03-11-2020, 08:19 AM   #112
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Will you have a visitors often (family, friends) and, if so, are there affordable places nearby for them to stay? Do you have any potential boomerang kids or grandkids on the horizon? If so, you might want to plan (for now or the future) how to accommodate them.

Mr Anon-E-Mouse and I are at the early "fantasy" stage of thinking about our retirement home, and whether we might want to live an hour or two outside the city. We've lived in 2 BR apartments in Toronto, Paris and New York City, and now have a 4 BR + full basement house. We love having a small office each and a dedicated guest bedroom, as well as space for exercise equipment and crafts in the basement.

I certainly think we can shrink the size of some our rooms in our retirement dream house, but if we end up outside the city, we're sure we'll want a dedicated guest bedroom for visitors.

Also, having had mobility issues myself (severe back trouble) and having lived with my grandparents, I know I want to have a house that makes one-floor living possible and accommodates people with walkers and wheelchairs.

Maybe you could look at a house plan that you add onto later, for example, a studio wing connected by a walkway to the main house. It could be a source of rental income (Air BnB) as well as a guest / parent / boomerang kid space. Or plan for a garage with an apartment above it in the future?

As for our own offices, if we were starting from scratch, I might design them as a configurable space, with folding doors that could separate them into two spaces or open up into a larger single space.
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Old 03-12-2020, 09:44 AM   #113
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Boy, it is hard to consider proceeding with this house build with the current market and virus environment!

Do we close on the purchase of the lot or put it off?

Do we start the build right away or is there any worry that some sub-contractors might go out of business if the virus goes rampant and people stop working or buying?

Are things going to get a lot cheaper soon? Could we buy a house for $40,000 like in 2008?

Is it crazy to have a bunch of cash and put it into a house instead of diving into the market at 2008 prices (soon)?
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Old 03-12-2020, 11:14 AM   #114
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Building a house, how small is too small?
Small houses have never interested us.

When I retired, we were focused on the vision of living somewhere rural, far from droughts, with a LCOL, and if possible surrounded by dense forest.

$75k bought 150 acres of forest with river frontage, and I spent another $50k to build us a 2400 sq ft house.

After living here for 10 years we have spent another $50k in getting this house customized and just the way we want it [solar power, etc].
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Old 03-12-2020, 11:20 AM   #115
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I guess I don't understand the need to build way bigger than the space you are going to use.

Higher heating bills, more taxes, higher initial cost.

All of that just to recover a little higher price when you sell? (which will also be taxed by Washington's excise tax and the 7% real estate fee tax)

The property tax in our area for a 1400 sq-ft house is something around $1800 a year while it is $2900 a year for a 2300-sq-ft house.

That is $11,000 over a 10 year period not including opportunity costs. Figure heating is $500 a year cheaper for the smaller house and you are talking about $17,000 saved in a 10 year period.
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Old 03-12-2020, 11:23 AM   #116
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Our property taxes [for 2400 sq ft house and 150-acres of land] are $850/year.

Our annual heating costs have been holding steady at $750/year.
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Old 03-12-2020, 01:53 PM   #117
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Maine is great, but 3200 miles away from us.
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Old 03-12-2020, 01:59 PM   #118
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Maine is great, but 3200 miles away from us.
That is reasonable.

I did not start in Maine either.

I am from California, though we lived in Bremerton Washington and owned a home there for a few years. As well as in Scotland and in Connecticut.
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Old 03-12-2020, 02:30 PM   #119
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.... The property tax in our area for a 1400 sq-ft house is something around $1800 a year while it is $2900 a year for a 2300-sq-ft house.

That is $11,000 over a 10 year period not including opportunity costs. Figure heating is $500 a year cheaper for the smaller house and you are talking about $17,000 saved in a 10 year period.
So if the question becomes live in a 1400 sf house or pay $1,700/year or $142/month more to live in a 2300 sf house, sign me up for the bigger house every time. You spend a lot of time in your house... is it worth living in 60% of the space that you otherwise would have to save $142/mo? Besides, that $142/mo is being paid by DD and DS, not us.

Sorry, we'll take the bigger house.

FWIW, our main home is 2,000 sf + a 400 sf bonus/hobby room over two car garage and our winter condo is 1450 sf.
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Old 03-12-2020, 02:34 PM   #120
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We spent ~16 years in a 5000 sq-ft house and other than a few 80 person parties, we rarely used more than 1000sq-ft of it at most. It also cost about $600 a month to heat in the winter.
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