buying a low ceiling versus a high ceiling house?

altruistaApril 19, 2006

Hi everyone! My husband and I received a good deal for a 3bedroom, 2000 square foot house with an 8 foot low ceiling. Since my husband's work is very mobile, we might only stay in the house for 3 years and sell it when that time comes. We personally have no preference with regards to the height of the ceiling, but will this be a problem for prospective buyers if we decide to sell it? Thanks!

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elginagent

I think you do have a problem with the height. You mentioned
"an 8 foot low ceiling" not an 8 foot high ceiling. :)
Seriously tho, ahem, if it's not a problem for you, there are others out there for which it wouldn't be a problem as well.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 2:23AM
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quiltglo

Personally, I hate high ceilings. They waste heat and I don't feel cozy in those rooms.

I have 8' for all of the living areas, 10' entry and a bit higher in the stairwells currently. My sewing room has sloped ceilings like in old cape houses.

I don't see the problem with what has been the norm for the past 50 years.

Gloria

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 2:53AM
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deee_gw

I am not a fan of the soaring cathedral ceilings but I find the lowest ceilings to be a bit claustrophobic. If most of the homes in your new area have lower ceilings, I don't think it will be a problem. But if the low ceilings in your home are unusual for your area, it might be a resale problem.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 7:29AM
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jaynees

We have eight foot ceilings throughout our house, and don't feel that it is cramped. 90% of the houses in my area have 8' ceilings, so it's the norm and won't be difficult to sell when the time comes.

In the house we plan on building in another state where a lot of new construction is going on, we'll have 10' ceilings - not too tall, not too short, just right for the area.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 9:38AM
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uncledave_ct

Our ceilings work out to a finished height of just 7' 8". We're not tall people, and we've gotten used to it. The best part is that the house was built for energy efficiency, and the lower ceilings are a part of that. Even some spec builders around here have returned to 8' height after building everything with 9' or 10' height for years.

Not only that, but I believe certain rooms need lower ceilings, i.e. a powder room with a 10' ceiling feels like standing at the bottom of a deep hole, imho. :p)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 10:54AM
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chisue

Buyers know that older homes have 8-foot ceilings. Go ahead and buy it if it's priced right, just don't "improve" it too much. Friends added a whole new wing to an older home and now have been unable to find a buyer willing to pay what the whole thing cost. They can buy an all-new home with 9- or 10-foot ceilings for the same price.
I doubt friends in RI would have trouble selling their former coaching inn home with its 6.5-foot ceilings. (Talk about conserving heat!)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 11:24AM
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terriks

If 8' ceilings are the norm in your area, then it shouldn't be a problem come resale time. However, if half the houses have 9' ceilings then I would reconsider.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 12:28PM
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sweeby

Our 8' ceilings felt low after moving from a house with 12' ceilings. But after a few months in this home, we have grown to appreciate the coziness and are now able to understand why some rooms in our old home just never felt right.

With the increase in energy prices and (IMO) a bit of a back-swing from the double-height ceiling craze, I'm betting an 8' ceiling will be more attractive in two years than it is now.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 4:48PM
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gammyt

Elginagent, I have to ask What is 8' low vs 8' high? lol

Altruista, there is nothing wrong with 8' ceilings. I and most people lived with them since childhood. If you like the house buy it.

There are two kinds of houses, older homes with 8' foot ceilings and newer homes with 9' ceiling. Our house has 9' ceilings and no one notices that. The only thing anyone notices is the two story foyer and then the question is how in the heck are you going to paint this. I say I will figure that out after I figure how to get up there and change the bulbs in the light and dust it.

I am 2" shy of being 6 foot tall, give me 8' ceilings anyday.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 6:24PM
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dgmarie

8' isn't low, it's normal.

Now, I went from 8' in the main floor to 9' (12' where there are trays, and 26' in the family room). At first I did not like the big ceiling. I felt like I was in an auditorium. But you know what, in 6 months, the ceiling does not seem so high anymore. You get used to what you have.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 11:25PM
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lisa77429

With energy rates rising and rising, use your 8' ceilings as an energy efficient asset. I have 24' ceilings in a good portion of my house and while they are "pretty", they are such a waste. So hard to keep the house and upstairs cool. So hard to change out light bulbs, fans, and lighting. Had to rent a lift just to paint. High ceilings are expensive and wasteful. Low ceilings are definitely on my "want" list when I start shopping for another home.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 11:44PM
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beachmamaproperties

in my area, 8" is the norm. But, new construction is touting 9'4" and 10' ceilings. My new home has 10' ceilings everywhere, even in the garage. So for resale you should be ok on the ceiling, but when you do sell, do other things to compete like fresh new paint, new light fixtures & ceiling fans, cabinet hardware, bathroom faucets & framed bathroom mirrors. No telling what the color and finishes will be in in three years, but there is so much you can do not structural. Enjoy your "Good deal" house now!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 7:16AM
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altruista

Thank you all for your valuable responses. We're first time home buyers and to tell you the truth we've been stressed out for the past few weeks. Decision making hasn't been our greatest skill :). Although we really didn't have any problems with the 8 foot high (hehe) ceiling we got easily affected by the negative reactions by some of our friends whom we consulted. It's good to receive support from objective people online!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 1:14PM
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terriks

Since you had negative reactions from some of your friends does that mean that 8' ceilings are not the norm for your area? I would be reluctant to purchase a home with 8' ceilings if most other homes had higher ceilings, or if there is a lot of new construction competitively priced with higher ceilings. If you are getting a great deal on this house it may be because of the lower ceilings, and when you sell you may have to give someone else a great deal also.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 2:07PM
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solie

WHen I think of an "older" home I think of one built 80 years ago. The older homes that I have lived in have always had about 8.5 foot ceilings. The really, really nice older homes have higher than that. I've seen some antique houses (like 200 years) with very low ceilings. I think 8 foot ceilings were the norm in 50's - 70's mid-range construction. Not that there is anything wrong with it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 2:55PM
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nancyinmich

Ah yes, those beautiful high-ceilinged older homes. Those of us of a certain age remember freezing in school in the energy crisis of the 1970s. We also remember all the dropped ceilings that got installed in those old homes so that folks could afford to heat them. Until you have lived with a heavy quilt over the stairwell opening to the stairs to the second floor, you have not lived! Freezing cold floors in the morning, scurrying downstairs to the bathroom to wash up where there was some heat, wearing mittens in class. The good old days. The houses built in those years had tiny windows in order to be energy efficient, too. Dark wood cabs, dark homes. Nobody seemed to know much about passive heat gain in real life, just in the Mother Earth News!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 1:50AM
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azhomeobsessed

altruista---
I think it depends A LOT on where you live! When we were looking at new builds here in AZ, only the least expensive, most "starter home" communities had homes with 8 foot ceilings. Generally, the more upscale the homes, the higher the ceilings. We just sold our home with 8 foot ceilings and actually had a few people who looked at the house comment on the low ceilings. Also, my 6' husband got to know the ceiling fans up close and personal with those ceilings...

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 10:54AM
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leelee7

Nancy in Mich--great, evocative post! LOL I MUST be close to "a certain age" as all you wrote took me waay back.

We are presently building a home w/10 ft. ceilings down, 9 ft. upstairs. This while we're living in a 70's rental w/8ers. NOW I am not so sure I knew just HOW high those ceilings would feel! In large areas like dining (15 X 17) and living (17 X 23) they feel great. It's the small rooms that are strange. My laundry room, mudroom, small office --weird effect--akin to (as some have described here) standing at the bottom of a well. I'm 5'7 (average) and those rooms make me feel like I'm in a giant's house. DH is 6'4" and LOVES them.

Off topic, I know....I guess I am now of the opinion that ceiling heights are like everything else--in/out of fashion, appeal differently to everyone. All that notwithstanding, I know most of my 30-something friends want high ceilings (at the moment).

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 12:24AM
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patty_cakes

The 10' ceilings that now seem so popular are ideal! They still give enough of a feeling of height without a significat loss of heat. ;o)

patty_cake

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 2:02AM
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altruista

thanks for the additional insights..we are based in Las Vegas. We were told that most of the houses in the community have 8 foot ceilings. But we also know that the surrounding communities as well as new built homes have 9 foot ceilings. The house that we like was actually built last year, the builder is KB HOME. We actually haven't made a final decision yet since we're having some problems with the lender and builder.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 10:30PM
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inky_2007

I desperatley need help in this. I am currently considering a house with low ceiling, about 6'4, on the 1st floor of the house. I like the location, price and size of the house. I am 5'4 and I have no problem at all with it . However, many of my friends said I would have big problem trying to sell it in the future because a ceiling 6'4 is really pushing it. I live in Massachusetts. Could someone share with me their take on such a low ceiling? Thanks a lot.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 5:15PM
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coolvt

From my experience the 9 and 10' ceilings come with houses that tend to be "upscale". The nice older homes that I am used to in New England had 10' on the first floor and 9' on the second. These were houses that were built for bankers, etc.. in the 1910's and 1920's and now sell for $500,000 to $1M. The more modest houses in the area had 8' ceilings.
If you go into a place like Florida in today's market..new houses that are in the $100,000-$200,000 will have 8', $200,000-$300,000 price range will have 9' and $300,000+ will normally have 10'. Condos where land is expensive..along the beaches, will often have 10'. They give a feeling of space when actally you don't get much floor space.
So, I think the advice you are hearing is accurate. If you are in a community of upscale houses that all have 9 and 10', this is what a potential buyer will want down the road. It's not much different than a community with all 1/2 acre lots and you have a 1/4 acre lot.
Let's face it, they aren't always practical, but they give the feeling of ellegance and people will pay for that.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 6:08PM
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cordovamom

I think a minimum for ceiling height would be 8 feet. Most newer homes in our area are being built with minimum of 9 feet. I personally wouldn't buy a home with 6'4" ceilings, I have 3 sons that are 6'3 and a son in law that is 6'4", not to mention other tall relatives. That house won't work for a lot of people even though it's not an issue for you.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 7:08PM
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nancyinmich

Inky, a ceiling this low is far too low for most people. I do believe that few people would consider buying it. I would advise you to start your own thread about this, to get a wide variety of opinions. My big worry for you is that if you do any remodeling in the home, will it require that you bring the ceiling height up to code (8 ft)? These kind of questions can be answered by some of the more savvy folks here, but they may not see your question sitting on the tail end of this old thread.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 8:51PM
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xamsx

inky_2007 I wouldn't consider a house that had ceilings that were 6'4" tall - for one, my son is 6'5" tall and could not stand up straight (not that he does now, but someday). Resale might be extremely tough.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 9:35PM
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cmarlin20

I'd never buy such a low ceiling, don't do it.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 9:44PM
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qdognj

having left a home with typical 8' ceilings, and moving to a home with 9 and 10' ceilings on 1st floor and 9' ceilings on 2nd fllor as well as basement,i'd find 6'4" floors very confining..I like the 9-10 ceilings, and the nominal cost to heat/cool is insignificant...I am sure ther are many older homes with 8' ceilings with less effcient HVAC systems that pay more for heating and cooling

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 9:54PM
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dgmarie

Is 6'4" even to code? That is like a cave. It reminds me of a basement ceiling!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 12:51AM
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sojay

my previous home had 8', I hated it and never got used to it. I kept thinking I had to open them up to the roof and add skylights in the largest room (easy to do on a ranch), but never got around to it before we moved. My new home has varying ceiling heights, and that is so great! There are cosy low-ceilinged nooks and sloped ceilings in other larger rooms. It's all about proportions.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 8:30AM
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jasper_60103

My previous house has 8' ceilings and current home has 9' ceilings. I can't say it makes much difference to me. But one feature I really liked about our previous home was it had a 2 story foyer, which let in more natural light.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 9:31AM
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uncledave_ct

I guess resale depends on whatever the norm is in your neighborhood. Our previous house had 7'8" ceilings, and a beam in the living room that only cleared 6'8", and none of our tall friends ever said a word about it (maybe they were just being nice? LOL). This house has ceilings about the same height, and the second floor bedrooms have a slight slope near the outer walls that drops to about 6'8", but again it's not a problem. All the homes in our neighborhood are built like this (mid 60's development), so if we ever did have to sell, we're not concerned.

Now, I'm a shrimp, and 6'4" would feel totally claustrophobic! I'm with the others, I'd pass on that one.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 12:31PM
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saphire

I notice anything under 8 ft. My sister bought a house on the main line in Philadelphia, paid over 1m to be on the most prestigious street in a 20s house. I noticed that her ceilings in the living room were not quite 8ft. No one ever sits in that room and the room feels strange to me.

In my area there are a lot of tudors, although I liked the style the under 8ft ceilings bothered me. I am average height, it is just something I am sensitive to

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 1:14PM
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jeff147

Very interesting old thread. This was actually the FIRST criteria I use buying homes. "Is the basement 7.5 feet or more?" Agents still cant figure out why I want to see basement before rest of house.

Most older homes here are 8FT ceilings throughout. Sometimes you will find a second story around 7FT. New homes 10 on main and 7 to 8 on second.

I have the perfect height tester. I raise my arm to touch the ceiling. 8FT is exactly my finger tip without stretching. I'm 6'4" and WOULD NEVER go under 7.5 FT ceilings. Too claustrophobic.

My new home has cathedral ceilings that i cant wait to live in. Just opens right up, especially with skylights.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 3:33PM
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