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Old 12-10-2009, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,871 posts, read 102,248,055 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_M View Post
But it *IS* listed as a 2000sq/ft home (unless it has a walk-out basement) on the MLS.
I'm not so sure about that. I think the MLS lists finished sq. feet. At least that's how it was when we bought our house, but that was 20 years ago. Our basement is partially finished, but not walk-out.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Aurora, Colorado
2,212 posts, read 4,596,791 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
the3Ds said it well. I would add, a good school district is in the eye of the beholder; take these "great schools" ratings with a grain of salt. High scoring schools have a direct correlation with high socio-economic status so the high scoring schools will be in the most affluent neighborhoods. However, being in a high scoring school does not guarantee that your child will score high.

There are no spacious suburban homes in the Denver metro area for $200-225K. None. You might find one that is 2000 sq. feet.
I know we have had this debate for months now on C-D about what makes a good school district. For me, I don't find it impressive when rich, white kids have a good school district. That's practically a "given" anywhere in the country. It IS unusual, for instance, that the Cherry Creek School District is primarily middle class and does so well year after year. That's not the case in most of the country. That had an appeal for me. We also looked at Parker but, if I can be honest, I found it too homogenized. My family is white but even I understand that some diversity is a good thing. Plus, I appreciate that my daughter has such a wide array of friends at such an early age. She thinks nothing of the fact that her friends celebrate Diwali, Ramadan and Hannukah while she celebrates Christmas. I think that's great.

Finally, a good school district is merely a stepping stone in life. If you are involved with your kid's education and you are in a good school district, they are probably going to go a long way. If you move to a good school district but expect them to do everything for your kid, they won't. Also, some kids don't do well with an aggressive curriculum. And, a lot of schools have different priorities than you may want for your children. I went to a sports-heavy high school where we were usually the state champions if not at least into the finals for nearly every sport. That was fun, of course, but there were a lot of kids who didn't play sports and didn't care to travel across the city to watch the team who fell by the wayside.

Now, about the square footage. 2,000 square feet, if designed well, will fit your family of 4 very easily. 2,000 square feet that includes a massive master bedroom that can hold a living room set but takes away footage in your kids rooms or one that has a huge formal dining room or living room that is purely for decoration or the once-a-year meal is a waste of space. We don't have a formal dining room but we do have enough space to put in the table extension a few times a year and it works out great. We make up for the lack of a formal dining room by having a larger family room which is awesome for us. You have to decide what's best for you and your family. You'll be amazed when looking at homes when you find the one that "fits" your family and then you'll hear how many square feet it has and probably be surprised. A good floor plan makes all the difference.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Napa, CA
151 posts, read 356,094 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Re: Colorado schools, the School Finance Equalization Act of 1989, amended 1994, equalizes funding between rich and poor districts. It doesn't work perfectly, but it helps. There are many things to look for in a school district besides test scores.

A 2000 sq. foot house with additional finished basement is not a 2000 sq. foot house.
Sorry, I don't mean to get off on a political tangent here, but I just adamantly disagree with this line of reasoning. Nobody ever said the amount of money spent on kids causes high test scores. Correlation and causation are completely different concepts. Historically, Jersey has spent more $/child than almost any other state in the union and their public system is junk. Conversely, Iowa's never spent a ton and their public schools are impeccable. Clearly there are other factors at play.

But none of that changes the fact that the socioeconomic quality of a neighborhood correlates heavily to school quality. There are undoubtedly spurrious variables that help explain why the correlation exists--whether it be parental involvement, stable families, the ability to attract quality teachers, etc. Nonetheless, socioeconomic conditions are still a great proxy by which to estimate school quality.

And personally, test scores will remain to me the single best metric by which to measure district quality. The unions can bemoan this reality all they want, but I don't care about avant garde pedogogical techniques or ethnic diversity in the classroom. I want a school that can graduate kids that are competent in math, science, writing, analytical thinking, etc.

Lastly, regarding the 2000 square foot house with a basement. True, the basement has to have certain characteristics (e.g. walkout) in order for that to be included in the technical square footage of the home. But none of that has any bearing on whether or not it will serve as functional, livable space for whomever inhabits that home. So yes, you might want to take that in to account when you consider resale value. But when you're looking at it through the lens of "could we live happily here?", who cares what the rules are?
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:13 AM
 
4,267 posts, read 5,293,702 times
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When we bought our house we were looking for houses between $150K and $190K. We wanted to live in an established area with older homes, lots of trees and a downtown area where we could walk to grocery stores, restaurants, stores, libraries, parks, etc. We also wanted to be close to the light rail or proposed light rail. We wanted a neighborhood where we would feel safe while out walking. We ended up in Old Englewood. We see it as an area with loads of potential. The school district is very small and while the schools are not great (average test scores), some of them are quite good. If we had a little more to spend we may have ended up in Old Littleton or Olde Town Arvada. There were a few houses in our price range in those areas ( the parts of Arvada and Littleton that we liked) but not very many.
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,661 posts, read 4,041,589 times
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I've seen a lot of wasted space in 2500+ SF houses, and plenty of sub 2000 SF houses with great use of space. You just can't tell until you tour the houses and visualize what you can do with the space and how it fits your needs.

I grew up going to a lower SES district, and my kids are at CCSD. There's a big difference in terms of educational mentality of the kids due to that SES that is contagious. It does help when your peers are always stressing doing schoolwork or extracurricular activity, versus how to avoid getting caught in the next gang fight or being bullied if you actually gave the appearance of doing well in school.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,871 posts, read 102,248,055 times
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What is "wasted space"? I have never understood this term in regards to housing.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:56 PM
 
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 17,418,554 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
What is "wasted space"? I have never understood this term in regards to housing.
Hard to say really. Just that the house feels smaller than it is. They built some 2000sqft condos next to my apt 2 years back. It's a very closed floorplan and the condo is narrow and long(also 3 story). It feels about the size of my apt with an extra bedroom thrown in(900sqft apt). The house I grew up in was 1500sqft ranch with an open floorplan, and it feels much bigger than it really it is because there is very little space wasted in hallways, entry areas, oddly shaped rooms, staircases, etc.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Aurora, Colorado
2,212 posts, read 4,596,791 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
What is "wasted space"? I have never understood this term in regards to housing.
Everyone will have ideas of what constitutes "wasted space" so it depends entirely on the person buying. I, for example, haven't taken a sit-down-and-soak-bath since I broke my leg a few years back, so having a "garden tub" in the master bedroom rather than a nice, big shower seemed silly to me. We also didn't want a huge master bedroom but we needed at least one larger bedroom to fit a guest bed and office and then the children's rooms needed to be a decent size. Some people actually DO sit down to big dinners very often so a large formal dining room would be a requirement. For us, it was just another area that we would have to buy furniture for. And, now that I've lived in my house for a little over a year, I would happily get rid of our formal living room in exchange for a big mudroom.

But there are homes that really DO have wasted space. A large area right off the stairs, for example, will just hold a table or a lamp or dustbunnies. Or a bedroom with awkward corners or a severely dropped ceiling that no one can use once they start walking upright.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:34 PM
 
4,420 posts, read 7,111,709 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the3Ds View Post
But there are homes that really DO have wasted space. A large area right off the stairs, for example, will just hold a table or a lamp or dustbunnies. Or a bedroom with awkward corners or a severely dropped ceiling that no one can use once they start walking upright.
Like this?

http://gallery.darladog.com/d/8445-2/IMG_1581.JPG (broken link)

Still don't know what the heck is up with the alcove (about 4' wide by 7' deep, no outlets).

And what were you saying about just another room to furnish?

http://gallery.darladog.com/d/8611-2/IMG_1647.JPG (broken link)

That's my 'living room' right now. I suspect it'll be that way for awhile as we just have no use for it. We plan to furnish it with mid-century stuff and it'll be the 'entertaining' and reading room once there's something in there. lol. Nothing like walking past a big ole empty room every day.

Did I say already that this house is way too big (1400sq/ft main floor, 1100sq/ft basement)? Even if we had 2 kids, this house would Still be too big.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Aurora, Colorado
2,212 posts, read 4,596,791 times
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Yes, but just remember, there will be that one person who will see that little alcove and declare it absolutely perfect for her great-grandmother's writing desk! Our house is 1,978 sq feet (not including the unfunished, walk-out basement) and it's perfect for us. Someone else would walk in and say it simply "would not do." I always see huge homes and wonder how long it will take to clean it, how much furniture I have to buy in order to have it look "lived in" and how much it will cost to heat and cool it. Never really understood the McMansion appeal and it's been a long time since I've cared what the Joneses think. Buy a house you can afford, buy a house you can afford, buy a house you can afford. If you're lucky to find a great house that meets your criteria and it's under what you can afford, put the money aside in a rainy-day house fund (your appliances, air conditioning, furnace, pipes, toilets WILL need replacing one day) and be thankful for the wiggle room each month.
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