How much house do you really need?
Builders say homes are likely to shrink. It's about time.
Kind of rules out a 4,000-square-foot, cathedral-ceilinged, giant-windowed McMansion, doesn't it? That's why nearly 75% of the builders predict that the average home will be 2,152 square feet by 2015.
That's not much smaller. But it's a start -- and it's about time.
Typically a large home has been seen as a sign of success. I'm waiting for the day when reasonably sized homes are seen as a sign of good sense.
Honestly, huge-house owners: How much of your total square footage actually gets used? By that I mean used regularly, not occasionally.
Those other square feet still have to be furnished, heated, cooled, cleaned, insured, maintained and taxed. How much is that costing you every year? And how much time do you want to spend vacuuming (let alone paying taxes on) mostly unused areas?
Last year, I read an article about a couple expecting their second child. Suddenly their three-bedroom home wasn't big enough.
Says who? When did this "each child must have his own room" dictum arise? In this case, the couple was using one bedroom as a home office. Why couldn't the two children share a room for a few years, or for good?
I grew up sharing a room with two sisters and a brother; when my brother was 6 or 7 years old, my dad finished off the attic to create a second sleeping area. My sisters and I survived the agony of the shared room quite well, even when we weren't always getting along. If you wanted space, you went downstairs (which wasn't very big, either) or you went outdoors (plenty of room out there).
A lot has been written about "tiny houses," domiciles measuring from 140 to 400 square feet. For some people, they're a great fit. For the rest of us, that's a little too cramped.
There must be a happy medium, somewhere between ultra-tight quarters and need-a-GPS-to-find-the-front-door behemoths. Here's hoping those builders walk their talk in 2015.
Readers: How big is your current place? Would you consider living in a smaller one?
More from MSN Money:
I have a 750 s.f. 2 bedroom 1 1/2 bath home. There is plenty of space for me. Not a lot of need for stuff. Easy to heat and cool my bill averages $45 a month. I have a huge backyard to use when things seems cramped. Taxes are cheaper, Maintenance is low. I have extra money to save, invest and travel. My one luxury is with some of my extra money I hire a house cleaner to come in once a week to tidy the place up. We need to stop living like the Jones and see what is really important. Happiness, health and security.
"Only" about 2,600 SF but would love a much smaller place but with the same privacy. Tired of the cleaning and paying for unused rooms. We bought it when we were planning on having kids and even then, fell so in love with the property abutting a nature preserve forgot it had a second floor (partial), what I like to call-the dust zone-2 b/r and an unused bah I get to dust and close off from the a/c and heat. When we leave here, we will NOT be even considereing a large house.
My house is about 2500 sq ft, just me and the cat. Moved from a 950 sq ft house. Heat is higher, a.c. is lower, otherwise utilities are the same, taxes are actually a bit less (same city, different neighborhood). I would move back to my old house if I had to, but so far I don't want to, love being able to walk thru the house without bumping into the furniture, love hearing the cat dash back and forth and up and down the stairs at top speed, love having more than 6 people over without feeling crowded.
Part of the reason that I can now enjoy this house is because I was pretty frugal with the smaller house, paid it off in 9 years and now have supplemental rental income. Also, I don't stress too much about the extra housecleaning because, well, I'm not a very good housecleaner :)
FOR GET ABOUT IT ! THE NEW AMERICAN DREAM IS A TRAILER AND A PULL CAR AND GOOD WEATHER.
For me this is perfect because I have 1 master, 1 room for an office, 1 guest room. All get used regularly.
common areas not too big. The only room I don't use much is the formal living room. The second bath is used by guests saying over and the downstairs 1/2 bath is used regularly.
We have a manageable front yard, and a big enough back yard for several fruit trees, large planters and raised beds for berries and veggies, a big picnic table, lots of firewood storage, and next spring we will be putting in a patio.
My sister's house and yards are easily three times the size of ours, for three people. I think she has way too much house; she thinks our place is way too small.
Personally I love a big rambling house. I'm single - no kids and I live in 3000, glorious square feet situated smack in the middle of 5 unkept naturally wild acreas. I worked long and hard for my comforts and my home is paid for and I enjoy every square inch of it. which includes cleaning, and decorating and fussing about with it. I like to entertain, and frequently have house guests that make use of their own suite of rooms. so I say tiny houses are for starting out and for living within your beginning means, but give me space! lots and lots of space!
I dont think size is the big issue for regular working joe's like me. Its cost. If I could afford to pay off my home tomorrow I would. I also know my home costs more than my mothers house (4 bdr/ 4bth) in the burbs by a landslide and I only have a studio. Her backyard is bigger than my apt. I dont think I ever want a house though. I will stick with condo's/townhouse style living.
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