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Did you buy your small home...

Posted by kathsgrdn (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 2, 06 at 15:29

because that's what you could afford or because you really like small homes? I would've actually liked to have something closer to 1800 sq foot but couldn't afford it. I don't think I'd like having a much bigger house than that, though. None of the homes I grew up in were big at all, mostly Navy housing.

I like my current house ok, but wish the livingroom was a little bigger, the dining area a little bigger and kids' bedrooms bigger. Once they leave here it may seem too big to me, though.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Did you buy your small home...

My house is about 1750 sq ft, maybe closer to 1800, I can't remember!! Anyway, that is what we could afford here in North Florida. Luckily we already owned our 3 acres. I can't imagine why all of a sudden prices here in this little town shot up so high. Totally rediculous because Lord knows our income hasn't shot up!!!

Deb


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought our home because of the low mortgage and having nice details such as huge windows in every room (except for the dining room and hall area which are in the center of the house) and a large attic that can be converted into a huge master suite in future if we need and can afford it. The house is also in the downtown area and a 5 minutes drive to work, stores, etc. I do would like the living room to be little bigger, too.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I live alone and couldn't be trusted to hammer a nail in straight. Most of my friends are computer geeks who aren't much help with that, either.

Maintaining a larger home can get pretty expensive if even regular chores require the services of rent-a-husband (i.e. cleaning gutters on the 2nd storey, re-doing stucco, minor carpentry etc). My last caulking job looks like it was done by a 5-year old.

And so, with my single income and lack of handy-woman skills, I am far better off in my new one-storey small home where repairs are manageable. One-story gutters I can do! :)

C.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

My one story house is only 900 sq ft. Although I wish we had a dining room and a bigger master bedroom, I like it. I look at it like this...When the kids are gone, I'm already down-sized!! Plus the up-keep is cheaper. A new roof on this house is nothing compared to what it would cost on a big house. I like the neighborhood and I'm close to just about anything. I have so many thing I would like to do to this house that I can't afford but over-all I think smaller homes seem cozier!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought land and converted a work shop into a house. Had plans to build a house, but land next door came up for sale and the way our place is configured, we would lose a lot of privacy if we didn't have it, so bought the land and I moved into the work shop. Daughter is grown and husband works long hours, and not home every day, so usually I am the only one here. I love "stuff" and I'd like to have a bigger house, but I could get by with just working on this one. I like not having a mortgage.

The worst thing about this place...we have beautiful trees...including several of those big live oaks that the limbs come all the way down and then go back up...but the shop was built in a barren spot. Just one large tree near it. :(


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We originally bought this as our "starter", and did look at bigger houses, but we decided that we like having a smaller mortgage (soon the be paid off!), and a little extra to occasionally take a vacation, etc. Now that I have a son in college, and one who will be in a few years, I am glad that we stayed where we are. I don't *need* the extra room, and like our home.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We didn't want anything bigger than this, but the #1 reason we bought this particular house was because it was better than anything else we could find in the same price range... ridiculously cheap. :-) The wooded lot and location were an awfully nice bonus though. We had no other chance of living in this very nice town unless we bought an absolute PIT of a fixer, and since I'm not physically up to renovating, my husband (who also works long hours) couldn't get much unhandier, and we can't afford to hire all that work out on top of the chores that DH can't manage, that wasn't an option. I would much rather have had a smaller house that was better designed, definitely, but there just weren't any we could afford.

We looked at one bigger, prettier, brand new place that a lot of people were surprised that we didn't buy because it had every amenity you could want (the standard issue new-house granite countertops and giant tub and vaulted ceilings and yadda yadda)... but it was also SIX FEET away from the houses on each side. There was enough room to walk between the houses to get to the postage-stamp-sized back yards. You could hear people talking at normal volume in the next house! For us it was a reminder that it's not all about getting the biggest house you can afford.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I find that there's a lot of societal pressure to have a large home and I often feel like a loser for having such a small place, then I remind myself that homes in most parts of the world are much smaller than the average American or Canadian house. I should be proud of the fact that I have no mortgage.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

krustytopp, I would be more proud of having no mortgage than of having a big house...I would just say that you are practical and smart! :)


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

No mortgage...now thats the "American Dream"!!!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Our first house was under 1000sf, and a real wreck. We looked for a long time to find a nicer house in our neighborhood with a little more room that would be in our price range. The wait sure paid off - we ended up getting a real bargain. We have been so lucky with houses - our former house sold to the first person who looked at it, for more than the asking price, and we were able to get our current home without having a mortgage. In the past 3 years, the value of our house has risen more than 30% - but this is our forever house.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I bought my 800+ sq. ft. raised ranch because it was what I could afford on a solo income, but also because of the location. I'm 3 1/2 miles away from the ocean and consider this my "beach house". Would I like something bigger....yes, but I think anything larger than 1,500 sq. ft. would actually seem too big for me and one cat. Besides, I'd rather go to the beach than have more house to clean!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Thats awesome supercat! Living near the beach must be wonderful. I would love to have something on the water someday. Maybe a camp. As long as it had a kitchen, bedroom bathroom and livingroom, thats all I need. Sometimes I think people buy big houses so they can show it off, not everyone..but some. I'm not into all that. Sure, I wish our little house was totally updated, but hey, it gives me things to wish for!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I wanted to buy a home for less than 100,000 smackers. When we purchased our home, "our" realtor had the nerve to try and find me JOBS so that we could afford a larger and more expensive home, and GOD FORBID not one in the neighbourhood we bought in.
I fired her, found a home I wanted in my price range, and in the neighbourhood I wanted. The value of our home is now a few hundred thousand $$ more than when we purchased it!! Buying a less expensive home also meant we could purchase the small home beside us when it went up for sale. We were wary of a new huge McMansion being built on it 6' away...
Although our home still needs extensive renovations to get it where I'd like it to be, it was still an excellent value. We had to put a lot into it already, but I'm not planning on going anywhere once it's done!!
There is a lot of pressure in my family to buy a bigger home, in a "better" neighbourhood, like new, etc. But that's just not me. My hubby and I knew from the start we wanted a pre-loved home that we could make our own.
I love our place. Everyone who sees it has fallen in love with what we've done. It had no personality when we bought it, but I could see the potential. This little home was just crying out for a facelift and a make over and now it just beams!
Yes, unfortunately there is ALWAYS something to do to it. It's an old home that was never fully maintained but it could have been in much worse shape.

GGG


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Wow, GGG, was your realtor also an employment counselor??? That's too funny. Glad you fired her and got what you wanted in the end.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought our house because of the old trees-mainly oaks and walnuts-and because over-development most likely won't happen. We're too far removed from civilization, and there's 3 miles of gravel road in either direction before reaching any pavement. There's no way we could've afforded a new big house, and there wouldn't have been any big old trees if we could have. Our old house was 1800 sq. feet and seemed pretty big to us. I was so worried about fitting what we already had into 1150 sq. feet, but it wasn't so bad. Somehow we managed to also squeeze 3 kids in. Yes, we did it backwards-as a childless couple, we had more room than we knew what to do with, then when we started having children, we moved into this tiny house...But, there's no way our previous town neighbors would've put up with their screaming and fighting in the back yard! There's also a lot more for them to do out here without bothering everyone around them, and I'd much rather they were roaming around with deer and coyotes than running around town with their friends ;-)


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We got our 980 square foot mobile home as a stepping stone to a "real" home. We figure it's way better than an apartment. It gives us a place to call our own. And we're in no rush to leave. So we can save up for a little bigger home and get it when we're good and ready.

Besides, I spend more time outside in the garden than anywhere else, so the house's size has never been an issue for us.

No mortagage for us either! Yay!

Tracy


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I bought an 800sqft ranch for several reasons:
1. I'm single and I don't need any more space than that.
2. I'm cheap, and buying a small, inexpensive house in TX is a wonderful strategy to control tax liability. I can earn as much as I want, but I have full control over how much I'm taxed (at least at the state level) via the value of wherever I choose to live. Plus it is cheaper to maintain, and heat and cool.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Our little place was my DH's grandparent's home. They wanted us to have it, but family made us pay. It is less than 700 sq. ft. It is now paid for and there is nothing like being mortage free. We came home from doing errands this morning and passed a sign that read " new home 3/2 $1400 a month. YIKES! We just don't see how people can afford new homes. Some of our family even told us to tear our cottage down and build something new/bigger. We didn't want to do that. We were partial to it because DH's grandparent's had lived here and it was our first home. (We lived in an apt. in Spain, while DH was serving his time in the US Navy, then came home to this.) Granted it is small, but it had 1/3 acre when we moved in, it has since been made smaller to 1/4 acre by imminent domain for road widening. We had lots of pine trees, lost several to hurricanes though, but over the years we've built a workshop, a polebarn a storage building, we also have two smaller sheds and we've enclosed our tiny front porch and it's now our little library and where my computer is. We also opened the kitchen to the utility room behind and just doing those two things gave us a different place, more open, more light, more livable space. We just laid laminate flooring called 'canyon oak' and it has made a tremendous difference in the look, the gray lino squares were horrible. Our place was built in the 50's. At first I felt like krustytopp, a loser because we had such a tiny place, but over the years I've come to love it and we now call it 'Plum Cottage'. It's just right for the two of us and once we do some more 'decluttering', it will really be nice. I love it that we have 'space' around us instead of someone being 6' away on 3 sides. I love to garden and am outdoors as much as I possibly can be. Cottages these days are very popular so we had one before they were 'in'.

Our life is much less stressful not having to pay a huge mortgage to go with a newer, modern home. Now we just hope imminent domain doesn't come along and consider our area a 'blight' just so some developer can bulldoze older housing areas to put up condos or townhouses to make small cities more tax money. That would really be the PITS.

That's it for now. It is so great having this forum.

FlowerLady


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I bought my small house as a single lady because it was one of the largest homes I saw (at 1450 sq ft), and the cheapest one I saw. It needed a lot of work - LOL!

I got married to a man who, at 39, came with a life and stuff of his own. We fit nicely in the house. Then DF-in-L joined us and my knee went kaplooie! and the stairs to the laundry in the basement (me) and to the back door to let the dogs in and out all day (Dad) just got to be too much.

So now we own two houses. The 1450 sq ft one is for sale, and we are finally almost settled into our big new (to us)1675 sq ft house. We liked the price on the new house, and the mature trees and larger yard for the dogs. We almost bought a same size house on three times the lot and an inground pool but the seller chose the other bidder. Considering we've now made double mortgage payments for 6 months, we are grateful to have ended up with the least expensive house we saw. I keep telling DH that our two mortgages and one HELOC are just about what his coworkers in the new big houses pay EVERY month!

Living below your means is the secret to sleeping well.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We chose to have a smaller home built. We had it built on property we bought a couple of years before building. I would have liked it to be smaller than it is but we had two teenage sons at home. Now we have a bit more room than we need yet we seem to fill it up despite my constant purging of stuff. And we've repurposed the secondary bedrooms. One is my sewing room and the other is an office/den/guestroom. Of course, my cats would differ with those descriptions, as every room is THEIR room.

Diana


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

It was price and what was available in the area. I think mine is around 1238 sq ft. I wanted at least 3 BR's, fenced yard and 2 car garage. Wish I had a fireplace and a screened porch.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I wanted a smaller home. I moved out of a 3400-square-foot house into an efficiency apartment (mostly because I didn't want to "cocoon" in my abode and because the neighborhood I wanted to live in was relatively expensive). So moving to an 1800-square-foot home has been a tremendous step up, and, in fact, I do almost all my living on the upstairs 1000 square feet.

The bonus was that the price of this house offered my budget a much larger cushion than houses the mortgage provider told me I could "afford".


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

My dad was a real estate broker, and he advised us to never buy a house that would require more than one income to make the payments. So even though we were both working at the time, that's what we did. And going by that advice, a small house was all we could afford.

Our house was 1140 sq. feet, built in 1952, with a walk-out basement and a walk-up attic on 1/2 acre. The rooms were generously sized (only 2 br's) with plenty of windows. When our children came along they shared a room, and then eventually we built another bedroom and bath in the basement. Over the years DH and I would sometimes get new house fever and we would go around looking at houses -- without fail we would return home with renewed appreciation for our sweet small house and our less painful house payment.

Although that house was far from perfect and always needed work, it was a happy house. Friends, rich or poor, felt comfortable there. It always overflowed with kids. Because we could pay our bills on one income, I was always able to stay home with the children. We were also able to pay the mortgage off early.

Living in that house is where I learned to adore small houses for their unique charm, for the family's enforced "togetherness," for their financial advantages, and for their smaller ecological footprint. We had every intention of staying there forever, but last year we were approached to sell it as commercial property and we did. We looked for another small house in the same area, but couldn't find one that could replace what we had, so we ended up about a mile away in an 1800 sq. ft. house (no basement, no walk-up attic) -- another "previously loved" house in an older neighborhood, also paid for. Some people couldn't understand why we didn't want to "move up" or go for a big "trophy" house (or even why we stayed in the old one for so long). Some people will never get it, but I'm sure some of you know what I mean when I say, "Once you start a love affair with small houses...."

(If anybody's interested, read "The Average Family's Guide to Financial Freedom" by Bill and Mary Toohey...read the chapter on Home to see how choosing a modest home *and staying in it* will affect your life and future.)


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought the house we could afford many years ago and turned it into our forever home with time and ingenuity. It only seems crowded now because when the kids come home, they bring their spouses. LOL Talk about a houseful! And everybody still fights over the washer and dryer. Normally, it's plenty big for DH, me, and the cats, though I wish I could convince DH that I, as an artist, really need to convert the garage into a studio. Other than that, it's wonderful to have a tiny mortgage in the age of paycheck to paycheck budgeting. We actually feel rich.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

When DH and I started looking at houses about three years ago, we started looking at homes taht were a bit smaller than the one we ended up with (1500 sf). Actually started by looking at character homes but always seemed to just miss the ones that came up for sale. It's funny but when I look back we never even considered new construction.

Anyway, this house came up for sale and it had everything we wanted - enough space for our children when they visit, room to entertain, a nice (albeit neglected) yard, in a great, established neighbourhood and affordable. The bonus was a covered deck and a finished basement.
We are delighted with the size of the house, we're delighted with the affordability that enables us to accelerate mortgage payments with a much earlier payoff date than we could ever have anticipated...most of all, we're delighted with a home we love that does not leave us house-poor.

Margaret


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought the 1200 sq ft home because it came with the land that we wanted. We've got a little over 5 acres, but DH is still only 10 minutes from work. I have an hour commute, but we got the land so I could have my horses live at home with us.

Our neighbors on all three sides of us have a minimum of 5 acres and our house backs up to a creek, so we can't see our neighbor behind us.

Now that we've built the tower, we figure we'll never be able to sell/leave. I don't think we'd like bigger in general, but the layout of the rooms does frustrate us sometimes.

We needed both our incomes to start with, but now we're saving and planning and remodelling when we have time. We're definitely making the house our own. Not something we'd have been comfortable doing if we'd had a McMansion.
Jennifer


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We were looking originally for a medium sized house, not huge, but not tiny. We had been looking for a house for a few months, but everything that we loved was either too much for our budget or was already under contract. My dad owned a rental house, built in the early 50's, on a major thoroughfare where the property as commercial was worth more than the house. When he decided to sell just the house and have the buyer move it, we looked into the costs of buying a lot, having it cleared, having the house prepared for moving, moving it, and establishing it on its new lot. Surprisingly, it was much more affordable than buying a pre-existing homesite. We did have a bit more expense due to a very bad general contractor who damaged the house before and during moving, but when he was replaced, everything went quickly and smoothly. We chose to do most of the refinishing ourselves (still in progress).

Here is a link that might be useful: In Progress- House and garden


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Honestly? Because it's what we could afford.

When we bought earlier this year, my husband was working part time and going to school part time to finish his degree. Since I have a more established, stable career with a significantly higher income, we chose to buy a home that we could afford on my salary alone. That was a wise move; hubby has now graduated and is working full time at his job, but the pay is atrocious and it's not related to his degree at all, so he's still hunting for a better job within his chosen field. It could be a while until he finds it, but in the meantime we're comfortable. Doing things on one income from the start was a very, very wise decision - even considering that hubby's income will (hopefully) be roughly doubling once he finds a new job. We hated the thought of being house-poor.

In our area, what could be afforded on my income alone limited us significantly. We bought our house because it was in a safe neighborhood, needed only cosmetic work to be liveable, and was the nicest home within our price range. We got very, very lucky. We saw several homes for sale at the same price range that literally would have required complete gutting. We both work full time, and I go to grad school part time - we don't have the time or money for that sort of extensive work!

The only negative to our 3/2 1550 sf Cape Cod is that the driveway is steep and will be a pain during winter snowstorms. But the positives of the house far outweigh that negative. All we had to do to the house was cleaning and painting (although a bathroom reno and new flooring is planned for after hubby finds a new job).

Yes, I get jealous sometimes when I visit friends whose homes cost 1.5-2 times what ours did (even though many of them are in debt up to their eyeballs!). It would be nice to own a brand-new, spacious home. But we're young, our house is comfortable, and we'll be able to start our family here. Right now our plan is to stay 7-10 years, (it could be longer), and to do all renovations without incurring additional debt. That way we can afford to put down a solid downpayment on our next house, which hopefully will be our "forever" home.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We spent the five years it took to save for a down payment choosing the town - and the neighborhood in that town - we wanted to live in. We knew we could only afford a house at the very bottom of the market. It took a while to find a real estate agent willing to help us look for such a house. Once we did, he showed us the only affordable house at the time and we turned it down. It was an ugly little house with an awkward floor plan. A week later the agent telephoned to invite us to an open house for a property that was just going on the market. We arrived early, took a quick look around, told the seller we wanted to buy it for his asking price and could close immediately. He verbally accepted our offer and told his agent that he could send everybody else home, that the house was sold. And that's how we bought our 1,000 square foot 1915 urban farmhouse on the Jersey Shore.

Fast forward thirty three years. We're still in the house. We still love the town and the neighborhood. When I was forced to retire we thought briefly about selling and looking for a one story house because DW is having increasing difficulty with stairs. We quickly concluded that wasn't practical because we were unwilling to move out of our neighborhood and the very few one story houses were selling for at least twice what ours was worth. What we decided to do instead was convert the downstairs of our house into a 600 square foot living space. The living room, the bedroom, the bathroom and the dining room end of the conbined kitchen/dining room are done and we're 90% finished with the kitchen.

And the ugly little house with the awkward floor plan? It was extensively remodeled over the years. It's now a real showpiece. And it was one of the one story houses we couldn't afford when I retired. Oh well...


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

i bought mine because it was in excellent shape and fell within my price range (i was single at the time.) everything else that i could have afforded was either in bad shape but larger, or a condo. i was fortunate because this was the second house i looked at and i fell in love with it immediately.

it IS tiny, though! 625 sq.ft., to be exact. there have been times that i felt bad about having such a small place because of snide comments on behalf of some of my coworkers. but, when i pay my bills at the end of the month and see there's actually a bit left over, i'm just totally pleased with it all over again. the people making the comments are the ones with the brand new houses, cars, you name it... sometimes i wonder about how much debt they're in. i guess i shouldn't even waste the energy, tho.

the only obstacle i had with this place was when i was trying to get a mortgage. the person i was dealing with called me one night to turn me down. he said, 'well, you have impeccable credit but.. the house is too small. it's not a matter of being just under 1000 sq.ft., it's waaaay too small.'

weird, because if i had 'impeccable credit' i obviously was responsible enough to deal with the mortgage and it was unlikely i'd just walk away. oh well.. i quickly found another bank that was willing to take me (and my tiny house) on. :)


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Don't let those idiots at work get you down, Joyy. Be proud of your small home and the fact that you actually have money left over after paying your mortgage. Maybe they're wishing they had a few $$$ left over, too.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought this house as a starter home.

We could not find a bigger one that we liked as well that we could afford. This house has a lot of bungalow/craftsman type details even though it is a ranch style. However, we never dreamed we'd be here twelve years later.

It is a 1200 sq ft home and the bedrooms are big and the dining room and laundry room are too but only one bath is really a trial at times even though there are only two of us. We almost never use the dining room either and it isn't located so that we could convert it into something more useful like a library or office. It connects the kitchen to the living room.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I bought this house because I could afford it and it's in a really good location. It also happened to be in really nice shape, so all I'm doing is painting in the colors I like and replacing the countertop. The counter is actually in perfect condition, but it's a color I just can't live with :)
(hunter green, for the curious.)

The house is 1168 sf, 2 bedroom/1 bath, no garage, no basement. I'll post pics another day.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I look in the newspaper everyday at the page after page of forclosures by sheriff sale. It's obvious that people are increasingly getting in over their heads in this very volatile and uncertain economy. When the stock market went flop a few years back, and I had money to invest, I went house hunting because I had a little I wanted to invest, and figured real estate was the safest place at that time.

I looked at large, and I looked at small and ended up with really small. It's less than 800sq. feet with a large lot for a city dwelling and abutted to a wooded area. What went through my mind, having bought and sold other real estate in the past was the "hidden" costs of a home. A few people have already mentioned them. My taxes are low, and shall always stay low in comparison to many larger homes. Repair costs are not only more humane, working on a small home puts them in my capability. My daughter and I did all the repair and renovation to this home in a matter of a month and a half. I didn't have to get a mortgage, because I did my homework beforehand and knew this house was more cosmetically in need and was basically sound. And this is the real zinger we ALL need to be thinking about in times coming. The utilities are very cheap! I had a new energy efficient furnace installed and the cost of maintaining this home is very forgiving on the pocketbook. Not too many days go by when I am not thankful I got this particular house.

I think it's socially irresponsible to build gargantuan homes if nothing else. We should be at a point where people want to conserve raw material and fuels. The smaller urban dwellings are becoming a bargain for people who refuse to buy into the real estate madness. The upside bonus to that is whole sections of towns are getting a new lease on life by becoming homes again, instead of absentee landlord holdings.

My daughter and her family now lives in my "extra" house and maintains it and improves on it. I fully expect to make a 200% profit on my investment down the road, and still be able to offer somebody a decent little home for their money. Who knows, I may decide to move into it myself when I get older.

Anyhow, with a proper use of furniture and the ability not to collect clutter on a daily basis, the little house isn't in the least claustrophobic, and has a full dry basement for office space and laundry area and an attic one could convert to bedrooms if necessary. I think homes like that are a sane alternative.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I think it's socially irresponsible to build gargantuan homes if nothing else. We should be at a point where people want to conserve raw material and fuels. The smaller urban dwellings are becoming a bargain for people who refuse to buy into the real estate madness.

In fairness, some people need larger homes -- they have more children or do foster care, or an extended family lives in the house. And they should be allowed to buy what they find suitable -- as long as they're willing to pay the cost of that house (no whining about how much it costs to heat in the wintertime). That said, there's no reason why those houses cannot be resource- and energy-efficient. It is in our collective best interests to make that so, even if it requires government intervention (like California's Title 24 [? 38?]).

I fear, however, that houses have gone the route of private vehicles, where cheap energy and a society that promotes "bigger is better" has made the single-occupant truck the vehicle of choice for many people even if it never hauls more than groceries and only goes off-road when it spins off into a ditch. There are some truly excellent small cars available throughout the world which would satisfy most commuters, but they aren't sold here because many folks have been conditioned to believe that small equals cheap. I believe most people need a similar epiphany before smaller houses become more attractive to the general populace.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We actually could have purchased a much larger home for only about $20k more than our home but we chose quality over quantity of space. The other home was in fair condition (remodeled) but had a TERRIBLE plan (from being a 2 family home for a while and then being switched back to a 1 family home). The kitchen was an awful mess and the house we bought had a beautiful new large kitchen in it (larger than the big house). The lot was tiny, .14 acres and our house is on .34 acre. So I guess yes, we DID choose to live in a smaller house when we had the chance to buy bigger. We also realized that it wasn't just the increased price of a larger house up front that would be an issue but the continued cost of maintenance. Since oil prices have gone up so much we are rather glad we made that decision.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We had to look for over a year to find the smaller house we wanted in the city where we wanted to locate. 1200 sq. ft. living space for two people. We have been in our smaller home for 23 years and still love it.

There was an article in the Atlanta newspaper yesterday about the shortage of smaller homes in the Atlanta area. Baby Boomers are beginning to want to downsize (??). So I have to wonder why the McMansion builders keep ruining established neighborhoods tearing down the smaller homes.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I'm so glad that I read this thread! Dh and I are preparing to move, and you've all given me a lot to think about. The home we currently have is 1400 square feet, but an awkward floor plan. I'm realizing that I don't necessarily need a bigger space, just a better one.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

* Posted by sunrochy (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 2, 06 at 15:46

We bought our home because of the low mortgage and having nice details such as huge windows in every room (except for the dining room and hall area which are in the center of the house) and a large attic that can be converted into a huge master suite in future if we need and can afford it. The house is also in the downtown area and a 5 minutes drive to work, stores, etc. I do would like the living room to be little bigger, too.

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We are almost identical to sunrochy, except that we're happy with the LR size. Plus, we're a military family, and think that a 3/1 1500 sf would be more than adequate for the 1-2 kids, max, that we would have at this duty station. We'd like 3 eventually, and if so, I'd like a 4 bedroom, or else have a separate office. Now it's our bedroom, the guest (soon to be nursery), and our office.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Hey Lithigin-

Our house is also 3/1 and it is very suitable for us. One bedroom, we rarely use it except for rare guests (the other ones are the master room and guest/office). It will be different if we are able to have a child. Several of my co-workers have small houses (3/1) and they have a child each family. One said that it was nice that it was possible get better quality materials for remodel projects since spaces are smaller.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Us, in a small house, there's many good reasons for it. But, I kid no one, if I had the necessary money (and the income) I would live in a bigger house.
I like to design and fabricate things, like street rods and homebuilt aircraft and racecars. I wanted to try my hand at designing and building the "perfect" retirement house, suitable for a couple of empty-nesters (us), who love RVing and fishing(without the hassles). We wanted small for economic reasons, including utilities and taxes. But, we wanted "big house" features. In order to achieve both, we had to get creative (story of my life). I believe we achieved our goals, even though it ended up costing much more than we first figured. In fact, our per-foot cost was somewhat shocking, for us. But, our house is very well constructed, and with expensive features and options. We searched for over a year, trying to find an existing house which satisfied our requirements (trying to save some money), but in the end, only a custom house would do.
And, NO mortgage,.....and no HOA,....sweet.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I have rented for most of my life because I didn't want the upkeep of a house by myself. I finally bought my first house last yr. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it. At 1600 sq ft, it's a good size for just me and my 4 birds. Split bdrm floor plan and very open. I would just like to update some things and paint the boring walls. I do live in a HOA s/d, but I like the idea that everyone must keep their property as clean as I keep mine.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought our small home (1400 sq ft) on five acres because we fell in love with it and, as retirees, wouldn't have a mortgage. Other pluses; low taxes, huge old shade trees, pretty white rail fence, a pond & small barn. After years of city living, the peace & quiet are heavenly to us...for the first time in ages we can actually hear the leaves rustle in the trees & are awakened each morning by birds singing their little hearts out.

A large covered patio, adorable small tin building draped in Wisteria, garden spot and storm cellar are added bonuses.

There is no dishwasher (I won't give up cabinets space for one,) but get to enjoy fabulous sunsets and beautiful horses in the pasture across the road.

We feel very blessed!

Suzi


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We could have afforded a (slightly) larger home.

But it would have been new construction in a neighborhood where all the houses look the same and there are no trees (I have a huge magnolia, a sycamore and 3 pecan trees now!)

And we couldn't have lived as close in to the city as we are and been in an acceptable school district.

We actually sold a house that was 1800 sq ft and moved into one that is around 1600 sq ft. It actually seems roomier than our old house because it has a seperate study rather than the larger kitchen/living that we used to have. Having a seperate room to hang out in made a huge difference. I hated it when the living room was the only place to go besides a bedroom!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I purchased the home I grew up in, when my parents decided to move. They sold it to me way under market value, and it was a fixer-upper. Instant equity enabled us to conquer the needed improvements that my parents knew I'd be excited to do! They moved into a new house.

This house is the biggest house I've ever lived in, and by today's standards would be considered "small", 1172 sq. feet upstairs. They squeezed 3br, 1-1/2 bath, coat closet, LR, DR & kitchen in the upstairs. Downstairs is 900sq. feet, we've finished off all we can. Fit an office, family room, another bedroom, bath, and laundry room down there.

I wouldn't move for anything, and look forward to have a paid mortgage before I retire.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought our first house because it was all we could afford. It was 935 sq feet. We bought our second house because we liked it and it seemed huge to us (1680 sq ft) but is smaller than average. It has plenty of room for the 4 of us. We did qulify for a much bigger mortgage but I have to be honest and say it scared me how much they were willing to lend us. I enjoy living here becaus the utility bills aren't too bad.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought ours One story brick For 7 reasons- what we could afford, layout, small lot size, quality of build, thinking ahead to retirement in 20 years, 1 income sustainable and location.

We bought this last August and although we bumped up in size from 1524 to 1859 our house is small for our neighborhood which goes from 1261 to 4000+ and small for a 20 mile circumfrence.

My dh's yard work time is cut from 3 hours to one on the days he weed eats. Our home is energy star so quite efficient utility wise but also cheaper to heat and cool than anyone we know because they all live in monster houses lol.
RaNae


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

the footprint of my sturdy little cape is 25'X25' (625 sf); like chris_ont, that's a size that doesn't intimidate me. four good rooms are plenty. also, house prices here in the boston area are ridiculous & i know how lucky i am to be able to afford anything at all.

i recently hired a genius built-in-shelf guy, so i'm getting some of the storage/displaying-my-stuff issues worked out via creative shelving. some day, i'll take down the wall between the kitchen & what's currently my office and finish the attic to make a larger master bedroom. bottom line is i hate cleaning & heart the location of my little beach shack.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought our starter home 12 years ago. It's an 1173 square foot house in southern CA (3 bed, 1 1/2 bath). It was fine for 10 years, but now we have 2 boys now and 2 dogs. We decided it was in our best interest financially to add on to our home. When finished we will have a little over 1800 square feet. What we added was common room living space. We are converting our garage to a living room and taking down a wall in the kitchen. Now we'll finally have an eating area and living room. The other part of the addition is the master bathroom. We all share the one bathroom with the tub, now we'll have our own dedicated shower and two sinks! We're thrilled. So, by today's standards, we'll still have a small home, but to us it's going to feel huge!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I bought the biggest I could afford in the neighborhood where I wanted to live - so I got 1400 sq ft. It's actually one of the larger houses for about 5 sq blocks! I love my neighborhood & lot, just wish the house was bigger!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

When our first home burnt, we rebuilt on the same lot. We used the basement as a walk-in and made it into the normal first floor.

We had five kids at the time so we gave them each a cubby hole to call their own room. Ages nine to sixteen, so you know how teens are at sharing.

The kids are all grown and married and we have moved completely downstairs and remodeled the upstairs into another apartment. One of our grandsons and his family live there.

the whole house was 2000sq ft. A thousand for each floor.(we thought it was really big) We have plenty of room for the two of us. the only thing is no dining room. We didn't use the table over once or twice a year and it just collected junk. we've now got our two compputers in the dining area.

We still have pleanty of room, I just wish the dog didn't have to lay in the main pathway. I've finally gotten used to the dark rug an the dark dog. I haven't tripped over him in about a month.

shirley


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I looked at a lot of homes until I found the one that had the right combination of space, location and condition. Its about 1200 sq. ft. w/ 3 (small) bedrooms and 1 bath w/ a double lot, a block from the Metro, awesome natural light and a driveway (a luxury), and is a "detached townhouse" (bonus no party wall considerations.) It was also, while definitely outdated (1968 renovation), in decent condition so I could move in w/o wondering if the roof would come down tomorrow. I had looked at some beautiful larger homes, but was daunted by the amount of work (not to mention the cost of utilities and upkeep.) Plus, this was 5 yrs. ago and I just didnt see myself using power tools. Silly me. Since I was moving out of studio (~300 sq. ft. shared w/ the boyfriend and 2 Australian Shepherds), almost anything was palatial in comparison.

The house used to be two separate homes: the left about 10 feet wide and the right about 14 feet (exterior dimensions), which had been in the same family since 1899 (built in the 1870s so a few generations raised here). I tend to go for smaller, older homes since I dont spend a lot of time indoors anyway. I adore the house although its not the fanciest Ive ever seen, but it suits me fine.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I'm living in the same home I was born and raised in. My parents moved out to California from the Midwest, met and married and bought a house here in West Los Angeles. My dad said he was torn between Pasadena, Glendale and here....what sold him about this post-War development was the architecht willing to work with buyers and the location. We're atop the bluffs that run across Ballona Creek from Playa del Rey to Westchester, on the eastern end. It's a small house, about 1500 sq. ft. give or take, but was spacious enough for my two parents and my sister and I....and numerous animals. When my parents passed away, my husband and I bought out my sister and moved in. How could we not take advantage of such a deal? Great weather, great neighborhood, and I like the size of the house. I also like the fact that this is the family home, and will be passed down to my daughter when it's time.

As people around us remodel their homes to McMansion size, I realize that what so many have said here it true. Energy prices are going up, and we certainly are not getting any younger. Someday we'll be retirement age, probably faster than we know it, and who wants to be stuck with an incredibly high monthly utility bill? Who wants to clean, dust and mop all that space? We thought of utilizing the attic space (runs the length and breadth of the house) as an ensuite master, but decided against that.....I don't want to be climbing stairs (and they'd have to be narrow ones) when I'm 80. Perhaps we might use part of the attic space when we renovate the master bathroom, and take the bathroom ceiling upwards a few feet, but we decided to use the money to improve and renovate our outside spaces. Since our climate is temperate mostly all year, it makes more sense to utilize the space out back, and in front, for entertaining and outdoor living. I hope people get wise soon and see the value in smaller homes.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

DH & I bought his grandparents' home 25 1/2 years ago. It's alittle over 1200 sf and just right for us. We've updated the kitchen (2005), the porch (2002)and lots of painting throughout the house.
We mostly purchased our home because it was a way to live next door to DH's parents & grandparents. It was great being able to be close when both grandparents were sick and Dh's dad was sick and eventually passed away. Now DD lives next door to us in "her" grandparents' house (my mil lives in my sil's yard, and no not as a lawn ornament....lol....in a small mobile home)and so the tradition goes on!
Even though our home is "old" and dated, we love it and the yard and have no plans of moving. We want to watch our grandbaby play in our big yard just like her daddy and aunt did.
It's been a manageable mortgage payment on one income (as piper1014 mentioned earlier) and lots of benefits with size, irrigation, vinyl siding, energy effecient and upkeep.

If I did have to move I would definitely NOT buy a BIG house! I'd always have something 1200 sf or smaller. I just love that cozy, homey feel!
Marilyn in NM

Here is a link that might be useful: My house


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Our starter home has become our finishing home. We love the stable neighbourhood. There are only two of us and we planned it so that if either of us lost our job, we wouldn't lose the home. We paid off the mortgage in thirteen years. Now that I've retired the upkeep of our small yard is almost more than enough for me. Our friends have all upsized and while I initially was a little envious, I'm no longer feeling that.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Both, really. We wanted a little bit of land, so we bought the house+land combo we could afford. Also, in our previous 3000sf house there was a lot of wasted space (two main level living areas plus basement rec room, dedicated guest room, vaulted celings, HUGE master suite).

Best decision we ever made!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We built it (1232 sq. ft. ranch) because we didn't want to go too far into debt and because we came from houses about the same size and didn't know any better! The interest rates at the time were double digits. We've since added a 300 sq. ft. family room which is really nice. Our steps to the basement are in the garage so our original floor plan is really 1232 sq. ft. We are 4 people (2 sons late teens) and two dogs. I too was able to stay home for the past 20 years (yes, I'm gonna get a job!) and with replacing the heating system, the well pump and the roof in the past two years, I am glad it is small. We paid about $55,000 to build I think and we have the last of the plaster walls etc. and good quality. I am amazed that many ranches around here with less appeal then mine and no attached garage are being listed for $225,000. I would never want to pay that! I like my house and soon the kids will be gone...........I'll have my basement bath.........I think my ideal dream home would be 1800-2000 sq. ft. with a master bath and an extra room for an office! It does make you really live with your family in a smaller house and it has been a great run! It will be a perfect size when the DSs leave, although I am not ready for that!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

My husband and I bought our house because it was just the right size for our family (our daughters who have to share a room might disagree about that though) and it had a great lot. What it wasn't was in good shape which meant the price was also right. It is a little larger than some mentioned on this thread at just under 2,000 square feet but I think it comes in just under the mark for small houses. I echo the sentiments of those who have said they didn't want to be house poor. We have been able to chip away at the remodeling and hopefully once our kids are on their own will have the time, energy and money to see the rest of the world!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I bought my 1700 sf house because it had many good features, neighborhood-wise, and I could pay for it cash. It's now worth 4.5x what I paid.
It is too large for a single woman with no kids. But being an artist, I needed the back room for converting to a studio. and being a gardener I appreciate the almost 1/2 in-town acre. I close off the upstairs rooms that I don't need for cooling or heating, use them for storage. A too-big house leads me to have too much stuff I don't need.
I grew up in a house much smaller-probably 1,000 sf, one bathroom. We did just fine. I don't know how people cope with huge houses. My aunt died of overwork from her husband's big house. Imagine a woman with chronic lung problems in a huge 2 story house filled with antiques. And her husband wouldn't hire help, "because they steal". That house killed her.
My mom was so smart. She bought a small well-built one story house a short walk from the bus, the stores, the parks, on a suburban street. She rarely drove us anywhere-we biked or bussed or walked.
Most of my renovation money has gone into energy efficiency. A new furnace, on-demand water heater,windows, insulation, roof, etc. I love my house. But the large lot next door has been divided and a new house is planned-McMansion? I hope they lose their shirts in the housing market downturn. Last year I saw a moose on that lot!


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Bought (1100 sq ft) because it's all we need. THere are just the 2 of us. ANd it's expensive around here, 800-900/sq ft.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I'm a widow lady..I just bought my house about 5 months ago..no up keep someone takes care of the landscaping..I do have some flowers that were here when I came but I do mostly container gardening. I also have three yorkies..what was I thinking???


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

It is in a community I wanted to live in but didn't think I could afford to buy in, as in the last few years this village went from being down-at-the-heels to desirable to locate in, and housing going up fast. I wanted a small house with spaces that work well. This one does. I wanted a house with space to garden. I'd like more land, and I'd prefer to live in the country-- but here I can walk to everything and I know all my neighbors. I like that.

This house was cheap because it had been neglected and sat empty over a winter and suffered water damage. People walked in and walked right back out. I looked at it, filled with light from the south facing windows and the big bay in the living room, and fell in love. I imagined the fallen plaster cleaned up, walls repaired, the kitchen opened up.

I made an offer that was accepted and was so low I actually was able to pay cash and have enough left over to do the essential repairs and for improvements if I am careful and do as much of the work as I can myself.

And no mortgage. Hee hee.

Dayle Ann


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought our house 32 years ago. It was the smallest house we saw and too small for us the day we moved in! However, it's in a wonderful family neighborhood. My kids had a great childhood growing up here, even if they couldn't spend as much time in the bathroom as they might have liked. The schools are tops, too.

It was very tight at times and I wanted desperately to move on. I'm glad, now, that we didn't! Around year 18 or so, my ex and I were divorced. Now I am able to easily afford this house. The mortgage was paid off long ago.

Three bedrooms and 1.5 baths are plenty for me. The only things I would still like to have are a little more land and more privacy from the neighbors. However, I am fortunate to have this and grateful for it.

I am having fun decorating it just the way I prefer, now that the kids are grown.

My street is surrounded by mega-mansions. I understand large homes but these are castles. Someday I will post pictures.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

For me it was totally because of the cost. I was scared to put a lot of money into a house because I was going back to school.
I got a 1000 SF cottage that needed a lot of cosmetic fixes (they had painted it the color of dried mustard with brown trim to go with the gray roof on purpose to sell it..bad idea). But it did have the original hardwood floors which I loved, a full unfinished basement, a deck and lots of windows. After a lot of work its really cute and its fixed up how I want it (hardwood refinished, real wood walls and ceiling that look like a pottery barn ad in the living room, ceramic tile in the kitchen, totally gutted bathroom).

Did I mention its paid for? That should be on the listing of every small house for sale, 'Warning! This house is something you can really afford..might lead to financial freedom at an early age!'

Kim


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

"Did I mention its paid for? That should be on the listing of every small house for sale, 'Warning! This house is something you can really afford..might lead to financial freedom at an early age!' "

I *love* this!! :)


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought this house because it had the most character of all of the ones we looked at in our price range. We were in the market for a house that we could afford on one income. It's a good thing we stuck to our price range - almost 4 years ago I had a pregnancy-gone-wrong/critically ill baby and I have yet to return to work so one income is all we've had since then, and we've done it...tightly, but we haven't been unable to pay bills. I can't imagine the added stress to our situation if we'd had to worry about losing our house/having power shut off/not eating. I am hoping to return to work this fall and we might look for another house, but not because we want a bigger one. It would be to move to a neighborhood closer to work so that we can get rid of one of two cars. I like having more fun money! The only time that living in a small house gets on my nerves is when we have large crowds over (but really it's not like that happens every day) and when trying to cram furniture into the bedroom. I am designing a kick-butt closet organizer and hoping that will help with the clothes storage situation.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

Like valzone, we bought our house because it had the most character of all the houses we saw in our price range. The others were dreary ranches or split-levels with tiny windows, and this is a lovely 1300 sq. ft. Dutch Colonial with huge windows on all exposures, hardwood floors, crown molding, nooks with casement windows, etc.

Best of all, it's on a huge lot with evergreens and lots of other trees that give it a park-like feel.

My husband and I both grew up in small houses with one bathroom, so we're used to this type of living. When I see the big houses with a LR, FR, and basement rec room, I just think about how many couches I would have to buy!

Also, it has been modernized with forced air heating and central air, so that makes a huge difference. Our neighborhood has lots of very large homes that still have window units crammed in all over the place, due to the cost of converting to central air.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I moved from a newly-built custom (which I gladly let the ex retain!) into a home roughly half the size. I knew I didn't want to feel like I was "rattling around" again in a house that was too big for me, but what I was really seeking was an older home. It wasn't about the size, specifically, but most older homes in my area tend to be on the smaller side. In my "new, old house" there are plenty of rooms (there are now two of us, plus 4 kitties), but they are compact and cozy, and that's the feeling I really wanted. That warm, homey feeling -- something with character and an imperfect sort of charm.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought ours because it's made of old reclaimed brick and on a nice wooded lot. It looks cottagey. I wanted a bigger house but now am happy with what I have. I thought we'd do a huge addition but like not having big gas/electric bills. Plus too it makes me happy that it feels like we're environmentally conscious. THat wasn't the reason we bought it but it's really one of the reasons we're staying. It just seems weird to me now that people buy houses that they don't use half the rooms and waste energy heating/cooling them. Money was an issue at the get go but now I like where we are.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

I bought my l200 sq.ft. house about 8 years ago. It's the oldest and smallest house on the road and due to its orientation can barely be seen from the road. I'm on over 4 acres and in the summer, can see only 1 other house. I love it!

The house's only problem is the HUGE master bedroom, with a tiny bath and wasteful closet. Why the former owners built it this way is beyond me.

Unfortunately, unless I win the lottery, I'm probably not going to be able to stay here for very long after I retire and I don't look forward to having to move and live in close proximity to neighbors, i.e., in a retirement community or in town.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

This is the SMALLEST home I have ever lived in. Growing up in New England in a 5000 sq ft Victorian was fun. When I married we owned a 2500 sq ft Cape Cod style home 4/3. When the divorce came, and I did not want to live there anymore, I sold my equity to my d ex h and his new wife, and had enough to buy my current home. It's 1100 sq ft, 3/1 (one bathroom homes should be against the law, imho) but it was on a 1 acre lot, the kids could walk home from school, I could afford it if child support stopped, and it did from time to time, so we never became homeless. It was built in 1959 and in 1995 Hurricane Opel sent a tornado to re-do the place. So I have a 59 slab and 95 house. Same floor plan, just modernized. I want to build a new home, but I cannot find a builder to build a 1200 sq ft home. They say 2500 is minimum build. Even when I am paying CASH. So, here I stay, in a large home by myself and my dogs. My kids are grown and one has finished med school and one is in med school. They are the real benifactors of having a small house payment (under $300) I could spend my modest income on my kids and not the house.

My neighbor was an original owner, and he and I discussed house payments one day. He said he never new each month how he would come up with the $65 mortgage payment on his salary with 5 kids in a 3/1 1100 sq ft home!

I live in the deep south, Alabama, and my electric bill for a/c is $65/mnth, and I keep it cold in here. I am a Yankee!

God bless small homes. The sign on the door says "Cabin Sweet Cabin"

J


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

My husband and I bought our small home. We live in Southern California and could have bought a big house if we wanted to move inland, but we love living close to the beach and looking at it from our house. Our house is small for a family of 5 but it forces us to organize and declutter often, which is good. Also, even though our house is small is it now worth about 1 mil. In the 4 years we have lived here it has almost doubled in equity, which is amazing to me, and if we would have bought inland our house would not have appreciated that much, only about $100,000.

I love my small house, we have everything we need.


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We bought what we could afford. Honestly, 1600+ sf is plenty for the 3 of us, and we could certainly make do with less. We're actually considering that, in order to move back closer to civilization (we're in the boonies, and with gas prices... well, you know!).


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RE: Did you buy your small home...

We will be relocating after DH retires in less than two years now but we have been living in our current 1,000 sq.ft. house for thirteen years. We bought this place mainly because it was riverfront property and the setting is gorgeous! We were down to one kid at home and have a little one room cabin on the property also which was his "pad" while at home. It is a two bedroom, two bath home and the only thing I find frustrating is when we have the family w/grandkids; there is just not enough room! Holidays are really cozy with people packed in our little galley kitchen! The advantages are the utility bills are next to nothing, and cleaning is quick and easy. When DH retires and we move we will be building a 1648 sq.ft. house and that will seem HUGE!


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