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Living spaces - how big is too big

Old 05-09-09, 05:10 PM
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Living spaces - how big is too big

How many square feet is reasonable for 2 adults and 2 dogs and 4 bikes?

We've been deciding upon buying an acreage which would come with a smaller house on it, or for the same money, buy something in town with a much larger, new home. The house size in the city would be approx 3000 SF with a basement that would add another 1000 SF. The acreage would only have a 1200 SF older home. What to do???

We currently live in a 1200 SF home. I currently have my commuter bike in the kitchen, road bike in a spare bedroom and the mountain bike in the basement. Not acceptable!
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Old 05-09-09, 06:12 PM
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Personally, I'd go with the acreage and small house and use the garage/put up a shed for the bikes. 4000 SF is a lot to heat/cool. Also the bigger the space, the more stuff you buy to fill it. When we first got married we lived in an apartment that was about a third the size of this one. No way could we get all this stuff back into it now.
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Old 05-09-09, 06:24 PM
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What's the difference in lot sizes.
1/4 acre vs 5 would be a no brainer.
1/4 acre vs 1/2 I might put more weight into the house.
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Old 05-09-09, 06:26 PM
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My rule-of-thumb is to never consider buying a house that I wasn't willing to clean by myself, weekly. Which means for me, 1400 sqft is just right. I'd say for 2 people, up 2000 sq ft is plenty big.

Another way to get a good idea is to measure the area you are currently living in. Then, do some math to figure out what this gives you. Many 2 bedroom apartments are anywhere from 800-1000 sq ft these days. If you add 1 more room and 1/2 bath, this might give you 1200-1500 sq ft (older homes).

Newer homes can be decent for ~7 years, then, stuff happens, all at once (from what I have heard). Also, with the housing boom, new houses were put up so fast that there's questionable workmanship out there (from what I've heard). Ask the neighbors, if any, what they think of the builder, or find someone living in another neighborhood that this builder developed. For example, you don't want that new home if the sheet rock they used was made in China. Some nasty chemicals (I forget the details, you can probably "google" for more.) were used to make the sheet rock and now people finding out that every wall in their house has to be torn out. Which means all the trim has be torn off, furniture has to be taken out, floors protected, ugh---a mess---not to mention cost that insurance won't pay.

Bigger homes will have also have more utilities, more to maintain, and more taxes.

Finally, homes are like suitcases. The bigger you have, the more you will stuff into it. And then you have to lug it around with you the entire trip and end up wearing less than half of what you brought.
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Old 05-09-09, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
What's the difference in lot sizes.
1/4 acre vs 5 would be a no brainer.
1/4 acre vs 1/2 I might put more weight into the house.
The property we're most interested in is 10 acres. Has a pond, stream, 80% of the lot is treed (make a perfect MB track), and has a large metal storage building. But the house is old and would need a lot of work. This will be my 3rd home that I would have had to renovate and I'm not sure I have the energy for another major reno. Plus I won't be able to afford to have someone else do the work after paying for the house. But the lot is amazing!
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Old 05-09-09, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by FlowerBlossom View Post
My rule-of-thumb is to never consider buying a house that I wasn't willing to clean by myself, weekly. Which means for me, 1400 sqft is just right. I'd say for 2 people, up 2000 sq ft is plenty big.

Another way to get a good idea is to measure the area you are currently living in. Then, do some math to figure out what this gives you. Many 2 bedroom apartments are anywhere from 800-1000 sq ft these days. If you add 1 more room and 1/2 bath, this might give you 1200-1500 sq ft (older homes).

Newer homes can be decent for ~7 years, then, stuff happens, all at once (from what I have heard). Also, with the housing boom, new houses were put up so fast that there's questionable workmanship out there (from what I've heard). Ask the neighbors, if any, what they think of the builder, or find someone living in another neighborhood that this builder developed. For example, you don't want that new home if the sheet rock they used was made in China. Some nasty chemicals (I forget the details, you can probably "google" for more.) were used to make the sheet rock and now people finding out that every wall in their house has to be torn out. Which means all the trim has be torn off, furniture has to be taken out, floors protected, ugh---a mess---not to mention cost that insurance won't pay.

Bigger homes will have also have more utilities, more to maintain, and more taxes.

Finally, homes are like suitcases. The bigger you have, the more you will stuff into it. And then you have to lug it around with you the entire trip and end up wearing less than half of what you brought.

You're right about the suitcase analogy. Our house is bursting at the seams. I also am concerned about the amount of work required to keep it clean.

One thing that is weighing in on our decision is the likelyhood that my niece will be staying with us while going to University. If that happens, we'll need the extra space ... just to get some peace and quiet
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Old 05-09-09, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
The property we're most interested in is 10 acres. Has a pond, stream, 80% of the lot is treed (make a perfect MB track), and has a large metal storage building. But the house is old and would need a lot of work. This will be my 3rd home that I would have had to renovate and I'm not sure I have the energy for another major reno. Plus I won't be able to afford to have someone else do the work after paying for the house. But the lot is amazing!
I'm a fan of acreage.
There is a lot to be said for having a pond.
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Old 05-09-09, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
The property we're most interested in is 10 acres. Has a pond, stream, 80% of the lot is treed (make a perfect MB track), and has a large metal storage building. But the house is old and would need a lot of work. This will be my 3rd home that I would have had to renovate and I'm not sure I have the energy for another major reno. Plus I won't be able to afford to have someone else do the work after paying for the house. But the lot is amazing!
Sold.

Small house/big lot for the win.
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Old 05-09-09, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
You're right about the suitcase analogy. Our house is bursting at the seams.
Would you be willing or able to cut down on what you have to begin with? If possible, it'd at least make you more flexible as to what kind of home you can consider, and you might even find it less stressful to begin with.
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Old 05-09-09, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by x136 View Post
Sold.

Small house/big lot for the win.

Yeah, I don't see the problem at all.
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Old 05-09-09, 07:14 PM
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I prefer 5000sq.ft and 3-5 acres per person.
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Old 05-09-09, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by x136 View Post
Would you be willing or able to cut down on what you have to begin with? If possible, it'd at least make you more flexible as to what kind of home you can consider, and you might even find it less stressful to begin with.
Good advice. We've decided a few years ago to reduce our stuff. However it's slow goin'.
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Old 05-09-09, 07:25 PM
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Where is a good place to unload excessive stuff?
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Old 05-09-09, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by crackerjab View Post
Where is a good place to unload excessive stuff?
The fastest method would be the dump, but I doubt my wife would go for that. She's all for garage sales, but I'm not a big fan of sitting all day to sell a couple hundred bucks worth of stuff. We've donated quite a bit of stuff lately to the Sally Ann, but it hasn't made much of a dent. Part of the problem is that we both have hobbies that take up quite a bit of space, and we're not willing to part with any of it.
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Old 05-09-09, 07:46 PM
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Big house/small lot = Higher utilities/less yard work.
Small house/big lot = Lower utilities/more yard work.

Without bringing up all of the usual factors in choosing a home, I ask this: Which one fits your personality/lifestyle better? If you like to entertain/host parties then the larger house would make sense. But if you like to work/play hard, are hardly at home, and just need a place to rest your head at the end of the day, the smaller makes sense.
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Old 05-09-09, 07:51 PM
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I wouldn't mind 10,000 square feet of space and 50-100 acres. This way, I'd have enough space for a server room with a raised floor, fire-resistant vault for tapes, a loading dock, a working farm up to organic sanitary standards, a home theater that is worth the name (down to a ticket booth), a decent studio with a 96 tracks and multiple sound isolation booths (drums, voice, etc), a decent solar cell array, several windmills, a buried diesel generator (buried to minimize the noise if the grid is down and the solar/wind array isn't keeping power up the the data center), and perhaps a bed and breakfast in the front.
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Old 05-09-09, 08:45 PM
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This is what can be done with such a property....linky

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Old 05-09-09, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
One thing that is weighing in on our decision is the likelyhood that my niece will be staying with us while going to University. If that happens, we'll need the extra space ... just to get some peace and quiet
If you have the acreage, you can put her in a tent somewhere out there.

Friends of ours have a 30 acre lot, they're putting up the 4th house on it now, lots of guest accommodations as well as housing for itinerant relatives. And lots of outbuildings for parking stuff in and workshop space.
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Old 05-09-09, 11:18 PM
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freecycle and craigslist is a nice way to reduce quickly.

What's wrong with keeping bikes in the basement? We live in a 700ish sq ft apartment and have 8 bikes in here - very well organized.
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Old 05-09-09, 11:32 PM
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I vote for small house on large land. I used to live in a big house and downsized 2 years ago. When you have a lot of extra space, you fill it up with stuff you really don't need.

I live in a tract home and would love to have more space between me and my neighbors. The guy who lived across the street had a midlife crisis rock band and used to play in his garage with his buddies, using amplifiers and microphones (yes, in a 2-car garage). He would play for 7-8 hours at a stretch. Fortunately he moved out 6 months ago.
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Old 05-10-09, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
You're right about the suitcase analogy. Our house is bursting at the seams. I also am concerned about the amount of work required to keep it clean.

One thing that is weighing in on our decision is the likelyhood that my niece will be staying with us while going to University. If that happens, we'll need the extra space ... just to get some peace and quiet
Put your niece in the shed with the bikes?

j/k

Major kudos to you for supporting your niece through school.
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Old 05-10-09, 04:43 AM
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Sometimes an attic can be converted to a decent living spaces.

Don't ask me, I can seem to function without 70 acres which includes a mountain river in the tropics.
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Old 05-10-09, 04:51 AM
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I'd have a medium house which backs up to hundreds and thousands of acres of public use land.
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Old 05-10-09, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Nickel View Post

What's wrong with keeping bikes in the basement? We live in a 700ish sq ft apartment and have 8 bikes in here - very well organized.
We keep 11 bikes in a 700sqft, 2 bedroom apartment. 5 in the living room (3 road, 2 commuters by the door) and 2 mtn, 2 tour, 2 road bikes in spare room.

We dream about having a garage for bikes someday, but I think even of we did we'd have a bunch of bikes in the living room. We like to be able to gaze upon them.
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Old 05-10-09, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
How many square feet is reasonable for 2 adults and 2 dogs and 4 bikes?

We've been deciding upon buying an acreage which would come with a smaller house on it, or for the same money, buy something in town with a much larger, new home. The house size in the city would be approx 3000 SF with a basement that would add another 1000 SF. The acreage would only have a 1200 SF older home. What to do???

We currently live in a 1200 SF home. I currently have my commuter bike in the kitchen, road bike in a spare bedroom and the mountain bike in the basement. Not acceptable!
OK, you have a spare bedroom and you want another home due to lack of space? Dude, keep all your bikes in the spare bedroom, problem solved.
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