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Old 07-08-2009, 10:14 AM
 
9,125 posts, read 22,235,954 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantagreg30127 View Post

There was an article in the papers a couple of years ago before the housing bust about how a couple of contractors (not those listed above by others) were starting to build "quality smaller homes" to meet a growing demand for them. The only problem was, even though these places were a more manageable 1400-1800 square feet (compared to modern homes), they cost a $premium$ - as much as larger homes - due to the finishes and higher end stuff they were built out of. In other words, they were smaller, but they weren't necessarily affordable. If people have a choice between spending $350,000 on a 2400 square foot house, or a 1500 square foot house for the same price, the Ca-ching noise rings in their heads and they will most likely pick the larger home, even if it's not built as well.
The other challenge faced by those homes is getting them appraised at a high enough value to get financing. There's an inherent economy of scale in building a larger home- couple that with higher $$ finishes, and the cost per square foot doesn't work for the appraiser. That now requires larger downpayment percentages, which doesn't often work for someone looking to buy small. What ends up happening is you have to build with cheaper materials to overcome the loss of that economy of scale, which results in a poorly built home- the exact opposite of what the "I'd prefer quality over quantity" crowd wants.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah View Post
You can certainly live in comfort in 1,000 square feet. Studio Apartments? There are many 2bdrms at 1,000 ft and if laid out right they are not bad at all. The question comes down to, how many rooms in your house do you actually use each day. A good side effect is when you have less space you are more efficient and don't buy crap you don't need or really want.

A 1,200 square foot house was a typical house in the mid 1900's, now most consider it tiny as houses have doubled and tripled in size.
You read that wrong, mate.
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Kennesaw, GA
167 posts, read 467,952 times
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Wow. I guess it really is going against the grain to want to go small.
I don't have alot of stuff. My kids don't have all the gadgets. We like the outdoors and value land more than the house on it. My kids express more interest in spending time with us or other friends going out to play in a creek somewhere or hiking up a mountain rather than escaping to their own wing of the house to stare at a picture box.
As far as finding a lender- I plan to do this with cash. I guess that is another foreign concept to the general public? I don't know.
BobKovacs- While I love Ross Chapin's designs, the prices for his little green cottages are ridiculus. Some are selling in the $600K's. To me, one of the most important points of living small is getting rid of the big mortgage. I'm pretty sure I am on the same page as AtlantaGreg.
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:19 PM
 
9,125 posts, read 22,235,954 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzogirl View Post
BobKovacs- While I love Ross Chapin's designs, the prices for his little green cottages are ridiculus. Some are selling in the $600K's. To me, one of the most important points of living small is getting rid of the big mortgage. I'm pretty sure I am on the same page as AtlantaGreg.
That's due to the location and the land price- they're the two factors driving the $600k price. The homes are built on little islands off the coast near Seattle, where nothing is cheap.

The designs themselves are actually pretty simple, as are the materials- I've actually got a set of the drawings for one of their plans (the Erin cottage, which is about 1,300 sf- big for them...lol) that we'll be using for an estimating class I teach, and I'm thinking you could build it for under $100k easily. Depending on where you'd be looking to build, you could spend anywhere from $25k for a lot to $300k for a tear-down in Decatur, so the overall price is extremely variable.

And yes, building/buying a home with cash was a very foreign concept in the recent past, and is a huge part of why we have the housing mess we have right now. It's a shame, really.
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA (Dunwoody)
2,036 posts, read 2,446,613 times
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This is something we would be very interested in. I think I read about a planned community of these tiny houses. With lots of green space so the kids could play soccer, stick ball, etc... We're very comfortable in 1800 sf, but then we were comfortable with 1400, especially with our large screened in porch. I would really like a planned community, with perhaps a large communal gathering space. Unfortunately, most of the time when you get into planned communities the prices go through the roof and only the well to do can afford them. I can definitely understand how it's difficult to get a mortgage for one, but with any luck, we'd have enough equity in our old house to pay cash for the new one. If the tiny houses were somewhere are 100k we could definitely do that.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:04 PM
 
9,125 posts, read 22,235,954 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoslynHolcomb View Post
This is something we would be very interested in. I think I read about a planned community of these tiny houses. With lots of green space so the kids could play soccer, stick ball, etc... We're very comfortable in 1800 sf, but then we were comfortable with 1400, especially with our large screened in porch. I would really like a planned community, with perhaps a large communal gathering space. Unfortunately, most of the time when you get into planned communities the prices go through the roof and only the well to do can afford them. I can definitely understand how it's difficult to get a mortgage for one, but with any luck, we'd have enough equity in our old house to pay cash for the new one. If the tiny houses were somewhere are 100k we could definitely do that.
$100k for a well-built house in a decent neighborhood is usually a stretch- even if you keep the square footage down- $150k would be somewhat more realistic and open up more possibilities.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:13 PM
 
2,269 posts, read 2,985,113 times
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You may not be in the majority but there are many people just like you out there, especially in todays economy. I've always said I'll take a smaller house for a better location and less of a commute.

There are a lot of houses ITP that are in the 1100-1400 square feet range. Right now I live in a condo which is 1200 sq ft and do not miss the bigger house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzogirl View Post
Wow. I guess it really is going against the grain to want to go small.
I don't have alot of stuff. My kids don't have all the gadgets. We like the outdoors and value land more than the house on it. My kids express more interest in spending time with us or other friends going out to play in a creek somewhere or hiking up a mountain rather than escaping to their own wing of the house to stare at a picture box.
As far as finding a lender- I plan to do this with cash. I guess that is another foreign concept to the general public? I don't know.
BobKovacs- While I love Ross Chapin's designs, the prices for his little green cottages are ridiculus. Some are selling in the $600K's. To me, one of the most important points of living small is getting rid of the big mortgage. I'm pretty sure I am on the same page as AtlantaGreg.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
9,914 posts, read 13,432,646 times
Reputation: 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzogirl View Post
Wow. I guess it really is going against the grain to want to go small.
My wife and I both used to be voracious readers and between us we have a largish book collection, I have a large music collection, she needs an arts-and-crafts area with a work table and space for supplies, I need an area large enough to house my PC network, we like having a dedicated comfy room we can keep relatively clean for sitting and talking with guests, and we like having space to put a couple of exercise machines and sleep the occasional guest or two. And on top of that we're both pack rats.

Our house isn't huge (4br 2.5ba and 2400 sq feet, perhaps), but even for the two of us and our four kitties it can be a bit cramped at times. Then again, we didn't pay 600k for it. Or even 300k. We're packrats, not millionaires...
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Kennesaw, GA
167 posts, read 467,952 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcsteiner View Post
My wife and I both used to be voracious readers and between us we have a largish book collection, I have a large music collection, she needs an arts-and-crafts area with a work table and space for supplies, I need an area large enough to house my PC network, we like having a dedicated comfy room we can keep relatively clean for sitting and talking with guests, and we like having space to put a couple of exercise machines and sleep the occasional guest or two. And on top of that we're both pack rats.

Our house isn't huge (4br 2.5ba and 2400 sq feet, perhaps), but even for the two of us and our four kitties it can be a bit cramped at times. Then again, we didn't pay 600k for it. Or even 300k. We're packrats, not millionaires...
I'm not sure I get what you're trying to say. It doesn't really go with the quote but...
And I'm also not sure how 2400 sqft can be cramped for two people and a few cats.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
9,914 posts, read 13,432,646 times
Reputation: 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzogirl View Post
I'm not sure I get what you're trying to say. It doesn't really go with the quote but...
Small doesn't work if one has a legitimate requirement for space. For us it isn't just two people, a bedroom, a kitchen, and a living room.

Quote:
And I'm also not sure how 2400 sqft can be cramped for two people and a few cats.
You obviously haven't seen how much space several dozen boxes of books (with shelves) can occupy, and a craft area can take up a whole room just by itself. In our case we're making do with half of a half-basement. The other half is my computer desk, several computer towers, etc.
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