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treeman
Premium
join:2000-07-15
Mcgaheysville, VA

Square footage/Family size

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Was wondering how many people have downsized or upsized for an increasing/decreasing family size. This is a picture of our current home in Massanutten VA that we purchased 7 years ago. When we moved here we were a family of 6, now the 2 oldest(son and daughter) have moved away. The next oldest(daughter) is 2 years away from college, I am almost postive that she will be going away to college even though we live just a few miles away from James Madison University. With the declining family size it feels strange to have this much space. If we had people that came to visit alot I could see it's use, but that doesn't happen that often. The oldest kids come for hoildays, but because of work can't stay that long. Has anyone upsized/downsized and is living to regret it?, and for what reason? At this point I am feeling that downsizing is the way to go, have thought of the pro's and cons and the pros for downsizing are ahead, but I am probably missing something and wonder what others experences are.

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
So you have 2 kids living at home. Even when away at colloge, they're home a significant part of the year, usually 4 months in the summer, Xmas, etc.

Is your current house paid for? Would downsizing save you money?

I'm in a similar situation. My oldest lives at home, but work has him travelling a lot, he's moving out later this year. My yongest is at university out of town for another 1.5 years, then at university in town for 2 more years. Right now, we're alone in the house a lot. When we looked at it, we decided to keep our current house until we retire, 10-15 years, and then sell the house and rent an apartment. It came down to not want to just move cash around just for a slighly smaller house.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to treeman
said by treeman:

If we had people that came to visit alot I could see it's use, but that doesn't happen that often.

OK, so we're invited?? Sounds good to me! When should I be there?

How big is your house? Many people move to a smaller place when the kids move out. Some of them choose condos/townhouses so they don't have to deal with maintenance when they get older. Some people who do that get bored of not having to fix their house all the time.

We went on vacation in your area last June. Stayed at Harrisonburg. Had a nice time.


treeman
Premium
join:2000-07-15
Mcgaheysville, VA
reply to AsherN
We use to live in Alexandria Va, sold that house in 2005 prior to the housing crash. Had lived in that house for 12 years, paid cash and when we sold it we pulled 4 times what we had paid(Alexandria is sought after, but way over priced). When we moved here we paid cash for the house and the addition that we built. The next house I would build, so we would pocket money. By building a house we would be able to make it more efficient, even though this current house had a engery efficiency approval stamp when it was built in 1996 alot of things could be better. I just want to lose about 1000-1300 sqf, and as age catches me be on one level.


treeman
Premium
join:2000-07-15
Mcgaheysville, VA
reply to Bob4
We live in Massanutten outside of the Burg. Stop by anytime, just give a heads up so we are here. The house 3400 sqf.


John97
Over The Hills And Far Away
Premium
join:2000-11-14
Spring Hill, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Bright House
·ooma
reply to treeman
I just bought a house in November. It's just me, my wife, my stepson, and my mother-in-law. I bought a 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath 3100+ sqft single-story house.

We came from a 2800sqft 4 bedroom 2.5 bath split-level house. The reason I "upsized" are as follows:

1) The disparity in pricing between Pennsylvania and Florida, I could easily afford it.

2) I wanted guest space and an office. I can relocate the office to the family room if need be (see #3 and #4 below) as we also have a large living room.

3) My stepdaughter is married and has two small children. Her husband is an absolute failure at life. I am extremely confident he will never amount to anything. I expect that one day she will realize this for herself and we're going to have to take her and the kids in here with us.

4) Who knows what else will happen? My parents are considerably younger than my wife's mother. There could be a time in the future where my mother-in-law is no longer with us and one or both of my parents can't live by themselves.

--
So put me on a highway, and show me a sign.
And take it to the limit one more time...

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
reply to treeman
3400 sq ft?!?! Wow, you must like cleaning! Yeah, I'd say it's a bit big for two people.


treeman
Premium
join:2000-07-15
Mcgaheysville, VA
reply to John97
My sister moved from outside Philly down to Naples FL. Same reason more bang for the buck

robhouston

join:2001-09-15
Chester, NJ
reply to Bob4
Bob----get real. I know taxes are lower in PA than here in NJ, but difference in property taxes alone between NJ and FL would pay for an army of house cleaners.......
Expand your moderator at work

Badonkadonk
Premium
join:2000-12-17
Naperville, IL
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Dish Network
reply to Bob4

Re: Square footage/Family size

said by Bob4:

3400 sq ft?!?! Wow, you must like cleaning! Yeah, I'd say it's a bit big for two people.

I don't know if raw square footage numbers tell the entire story. It really probably varies based on layout. Our house is a little under 3900 sf on two levels, but it doesn't feel that big.

The downstairs where we hang out most of the time is only 1900 sf. The rest of the square footage is upstairs in 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. So it's really not that much space when it comes down to actual usage.
--
"You lie!" Talk about an understatement, Joe.


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

1 recommendation

reply to Anon
said by Badonkadonk:

said by Bob4:

3400 sq ft?!?! Wow, you must like cleaning! Yeah, I'd say it's a bit big for two people.

I don't know if raw square footage numbers tell the entire story. It really probably varies based on layout. Our house is a little under 3900 sf on two levels, but it doesn't feel that big. The downstairs where we hang out most of the time is only 1900 sf. The rest of the square footage is upstairs in 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. So it's really not that much space when it comes down to actual usage.

+1

I moved from an 1100 sq ft house, to a 1450 sq ft one, this summer...

The new one, being a far smarter layout, feels WAY bigger then just the numbers would show. It's about usable space; and the way you live.

As for downsizing/rightsizing, there's way more to it then just the square footage...

- Does the present house feel like "too much" to keep up?
- Are there economic drivers for getting into something cheaper?
- Would something different actually be cheaper, compared to the mortgage, rates, etc you've got now...

Get's to be complicated fast...


UglyDork
Premium
join:2002-01-09
Buffalo, NY
reply to treeman
Very simple decision that everyone else is overlooking. Downsize home and purchase bigger boat.


treeman
Premium
join:2000-07-15
Mcgaheysville, VA
I like that idea alot but wife won't have it, afraid it won't ever end LOL

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
said by treeman:

I like that idea alot but wife won't have it, afraid it won't ever end LOL

Along that line, what does SHE thinks about downsizing? That's your answer right there.


treeman
Premium
join:2000-07-15
Mcgaheysville, VA
We have talked about it over the last couple of years, and while not jumping for joy she has not said she dislikes the idea. I spent the last 28 years as an Arborist and it is starting to catch my knees. They were checked 2 years ago and there are signs of mild osteoarthritis, this will not be getting better anytime soon as it seem to be a problem in our family. While not a serious problem at the moment I am sure they are going to get me sooner or later. Seeing that the real living area of the house is on the 2nd level(lower level has large guest bedroom,bath, pool table, large screen bar area) I think that sooner or later the steps will get old just like me


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to treeman
We are far from the point where we'd like to downsize but I don't rule it out. The main reason would be heating and cooling cost.


treeman
Premium
join:2000-07-15
Mcgaheysville, VA
It sure would save quite a fews bucks here also


Draiman
Let me see those devil horns in the sky

join:2012-06-01
Kill Devil Hills, NC
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to UglyDork
said by UglyDork:

Very simple decision that everyone else is overlooking. Downsize home and purchase bigger boat.

Never convert an appreciating asset into a depreciating asset. That's a recipe for disaster!
--
What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem. - E. Cleaver 1968


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
reply to treeman
See you this weekend then. Been thinking of doing some skiing.. LOL


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to Badonkadonk
1900 sq ft is larger than a lot of older houses (30+ years)... Only really large older ones and newer houses (McMansion's) are that bit. Heck - 1900 sq ft is 200 sq ft larger than out entire house and I would LOVE to have a couple hundred more sq ft...
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

Badonkadonk
Premium
join:2000-12-17
Naperville, IL
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Dish Network
I grew up in a house that was a total of 1700 sf as well, so I certainly know what you mean. But at 1900 for the ground floor in our current house, it just doesn't seem that big. I'm sure if I could go back to my childhood home I'd be able to feel the difference more. But being in this house for so long, I guess I've lost some of the perspective.

At any rate, I wouldn't mind downsizing once the kids are out of the house (that won't be for another 10 or so years). I just don't see the point of paying taxes, utilities and maintenance on space that's not reasonably needed. On the other hand, most of the houses in the court are fairly big and older couples whose kids are out of the house still live in them. So people stay I guess. But in Illinois! I have no idea why.

My parents retired and moved into a townhome almost 20 years ago and are very happy. They don't have to worry about maintenance (even though the association dues are pretty high) and are free to travel all they want. In fact, they're headed of to a Russia, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia trip in a couple of days. They only came back a few months ago from Portugal.

Downsizing does have its advantages.
--
"You lie!" Talk about an understatement, Joe.


Draiman
Let me see those devil horns in the sky

join:2012-06-01
Kill Devil Hills, NC
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to treeman
Our basement is 1,700 sq. ft. and the main house is around 2,800 sq. ft. so a decent size place.

I own 3 rentals right now and hope to have 6-10 by the time I retire but I can't really see myself moving into a place that small. With zone heat/ac in our house I'd much rather just close some doors then screw with moving. The next few rentals I pick up I'm going to do seasonal rentals so when retirement comes all I do is just reserve time at our own properties for a vacation.

You pay one way or another. Either you pay more in taxes for space you don't need or you pay in time/money to get new space the way you want it. Most people spend decades getting their house the way they want it. Starting over is more costly IMHO. I want to retire not start over!
--
What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem. - E. Cleaver 1968


djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
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reply to treeman
There are two of us in 2083 square feet 4 bedroom home. The 3rd and 4th bedrooms are on the small side, but I think it's pretty close to the right size for us. I think if we had more space we wouldn't purge excess stuff as often as we should.

We were in a 1423 sqft 3 bedroom before. It was comfortable, but a bit small if we ever had guests over or entertained. 3 bedrooms is a minimum for the two of us - one dedicated space for each person and one shared. The 4th bedroom in our newer home gives us a dedicated guest space, which is nice to have.

The only way I'd "downsize" is if I was forced to. My plan is to retire here.
--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.


Draiman
Let me see those devil horns in the sky

join:2012-06-01
Kill Devil Hills, NC
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to treeman
Another school of thought is the 'family house' is an inheritance if you have children. You keep the big how because you want to retain the value so your children get something eventually. Normally people sell houses and downside as part of their retirement income. You work to pay off a $400,000 house that you hope turns into a $600,000 at retirement then you sell it and buy a $200,000 place so you make $400,000 to spend in retirement.
--
What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem. - E. Cleaver 1968

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
Or, as I'm planning, when I retire I'll sell my house and rent. Use the capital from the sale as retirement income. Kids get nothing.


Draiman
Let me see those devil horns in the sky

join:2012-06-01
Kill Devil Hills, NC
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by AsherN:

Or, as I'm planning, when I retire I'll sell my house and rent. Use the capital from the sale as retirement income. Kids get nothing.

Yea that's a pretty common thing for people to do. Most live up North then sell and move down South. I'm planning not to use anything but rental income, 401k, IRA, and personal stock to live on when retired so if social security is still around that will be play money. Our house is just going to be left in the trust and converted to rental to join the other rentals and managed by a third party. The kids will get the monthly profits split evenly as an inheritance. Maybe by then that monthly income will be enough they never have to work again.
--
What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem. - E. Cleaver 1968

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to treeman
You might want to consider what your house was worth at the top of the market before the recession and what it is worth now. If there is a significant difference and market values are increasing in your area, your profit might be higher if you wait, then the difference between the higher carrying cost of the old house the lower carrying cost of the house you propose purchasing while you retain the old house.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to treeman
said by treeman:

Seeing that the real living area of the house is on the 2nd level(lower level has large guest bedroom,bath, pool table, large screen bar area) I think that sooner or later the steps will get old just like me

Consider gradually re-purposing some of the downstairs rooms to minimize how frequently you move up and down the stairs with the eventual goal of being able to live entirely on the ground floor (make your guests take the stairs instead or possibly even rent out the upstairs unit).
--
Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!


stev32k
Premium
join:2000-04-27
Mobile, AL
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to treeman
We are also planning to downsize. There is just the wife and I in a single story 3,400 sf home. We never even go in the living room, dining room, or two of the four bedrooms. We converted one bedroom to an office and almost 99% of our time is spent in the kitchen, office, garage, or the one bedroom.

The thing that has kept me from selling long ago is our garage. It is over sized 30' X 45' and holds two cars, a large shop area, and has a large storage room with floor to ceiling shelves. I spend a lot of my time in there woodworking, reloading, and fixing and making things. It's what I like to do and that is going to be hard to replace.

In addition to the high utility bills we have a 1 acre lot with a lots of landscaping and trees and it's becoming too much of a chore to keep up. I'm not interested in moving into an apartment or condo because I need a shop area and want to keep the cars in a garage. So it looks like we will have to buy a small house and build the garage I want.

The actual moving is another matter. We have been in this house for 15 years and the amount of "stuff" that has collected over time is amazing. I estimate that having some one come in to pack, move, and unpack would cost in the neighborhood of $25,000. Then how in the world can we ever fit every thing in a smaller home? The answer is we can't and that is very traumatic for the wife. She just can't stand the thought of having to get rid of some of her "stuff". So It's not going to be easy or cheap to move.