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Northeastern Pennsylvania Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pocono area
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Old 03-18-2011, 11:00 PM
Status: "ride into the sun" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
16,956 posts, read 20,916,504 times
Reputation: 41384

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Or BIGGER is better, for that matter? I moved from an over 4000 square foot McMansion to a home a bit less than half it's size.
Are we cramped or claustrophobic? Hardly.

In fact I have found that we tend to congregate in the same areas as we did in that fuel guzzling monstrosity that we once called home.

My house is medium sized for the area. Not coal miner and not coal baron
We have more than enough room and places to expand. We intend to finish the attic into two more bedrooms. We are going to finish the basement and add an extension.

Why not focus upon ridding our area from absentee landlords and take it back?
Even the tiniest of coal miner homes, with 2 or three bedrooms would be perfect for a couple who is just starting out - or for people who are downsizing.

"Vernacular" homes still carry with them a sense of history.
All of this talk about being green, well this is part of it!
There are many fine older homes that can easily be re-purposed for the 21st century!
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:17 AM
 
91 posts, read 126,020 times
Reputation: 72
you hit the nail. Everyone that built the big monster homes, is trying to get out of them now. I know a guy who remodeled/added on from a 1300 square foot, to now a 3000 of so square foot. His taxes went up 4x from $1200/year to $4500/year. So now he's basically renting the house from the county and school district for $400/month. Where's the ROI ? (return on investment). Paying $5K a year for 30 years, equals $150K total. The taxes killed the real estate values.

then add the heating costs, even with natural gas, it's $450/month

so $900/month for heat and taxes, and you didn't even touch the mortgage yet, and what about the car payment, gas, other utilities, and food ?

now we didn't even spend one cent on disgressionary income yet, no bling- this is all "necessities" and as you can see, it's way over the average income of $40,000/year per capita nationwide- don't forget the worker doesn't actually keep $40K, it's a lot less after taxes

now we can see why the housing and car market went belly up, who makes the kind of money needed to keep these big homes ??

Buy a small home, pay less taxes, or rent a home, is the way to go. There are dozens of big McMansions sitting empty with no buyers.

I hope all these builders and bankers and realtors go bankrupt, because that's what they deserve, for taking advantage of people for so many years during their BS "housing boom".

to be honest, there's not a house in NEPA that should be priced over $60,000

it's all inflation
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:29 AM
Status: "ride into the sun" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
16,956 posts, read 20,916,504 times
Reputation: 41384
Coalcracker, what you are dead on correct. I love the line about "renting the house from the county or school district" In fact, back in Stony Brook NY, where our taxes were 18,000 per year, I attempted to justify this insanity by saying that "it was like paying private school tuition" Nice try. I couldn't even fool myself with that one.
And unlike private school tuition, it increased every year - without doing a thing to it!
Who needs a pseudo Victorian when you can have the real thing?

A quick internet search will bring up hit after hit of what coal cracker has alluded to - those McMansions are OUT of favor and they are sitting around empty - or foreclosed on.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:05 AM
 
Location: northeast PA
798 posts, read 1,091,003 times
Reputation: 565
We live in an old "coal house". I wouldn't want a big McMansion, but our house is only 1100 sq ft, and we'd love to have something a little bigger.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:46 PM
Status: "ride into the sun" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
16,956 posts, read 20,916,504 times
Reputation: 41384
I agree Odessa! Just more to clean and maintain. When we had that montster house we all hung out in the family room the kitchen and our rooms.
NO ONE on earth needs a foyer the size of a bedroom.

Can you add a family room off the back where the kitchen is? Or can you finish your basement?
A lot of people seem to be adding four season sun rooms behind the kitchen. We are thinking of that.
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:48 PM
 
Location: northeast PA
798 posts, read 1,091,003 times
Reputation: 565
Our basement is just a cellar, and not useable for anything. We certainly have considered the sun room idea, though!
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Old 03-19-2011, 03:18 PM
 
524 posts, read 855,114 times
Reputation: 391
You would need a permit to add anything visible outside, but fixing the basement shouldn't be too hard, as long as the ceiling is high enough to cover the pipes with a drop ceiling or whatever, and still leave some headroom. The floor could be sealed, re-leveled or recoated, you could stud out the walls easily (put up plastic & insulation inside), I would use the 2x2's rather than 2x4's to not cut down on the space as much. I would use sheetrock rather than cheap paneling, and preferable water-resistant, as least for the lower 4', and be sure to add some electrical outlets about every 6'. If you have space in the rear, and a 2 story building, I would make a 2-level extension on the back, like a BBQ patio area partially closed in on the first floor, but also one above it too, with a door going out to it from the back of the second floor. That one can be weatherized quit a bit too, and make a nice reading room or extra den with big windows. Of course it would need electrical and at least some heat source to be used in winter, but I wouldn't extend any plumbing out there.
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:54 PM
 
Location: northeast PA
798 posts, read 1,091,003 times
Reputation: 565
As mentioned, our cellar is totally unuseable. I'm 5'8" and cannot stand up straight down there. It is too small, and damp, even for storage. We have a patio out back that perhaps we can enclose some day.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,523 posts, read 64,623,749 times
Reputation: 14842
I agree with you wholeheartedly, Sheena. This nation is so wasteful. We allow the old and graceful to decay and rot into oblivion into one area while we instead focus on the shiny and new and "better" (supposedly) in other places. The Hotel Sterling is just one prime example of this. Wilkes-Barre experienced so many decades of neglect and disinvestment that it is now nearly impossible to salvage most of its historic treasures (so help me God if they tear the Irem Temple down next I will drive back to NEPA to chain myself to the building!)

I admire people like you and others on this sub-forum who are giving it the "old college try", taking a chance upon communities that desperately NEED fresh blood. The insular natives may whine about the influx from NY/NJ; however, I lived in NEPA from 1986 to 2009, and if the "natives" were "better" for this area than "outsiders" then why did they allow their communities (i.e. Plymouth, Edwardsville, Pittston, Carbondale, Wilkes-Barre, Nanticoke, etc.) to become so cancerous? Instead of taking a stand to preserve and restore the communities that their great-grandparents helped to build they cut and ran to build new massive homes in the Back Mountain, Abingtons, Mountain Top, etc. to find "better schools" (i.e. "no brown kids").

Some people may indeed NEED larger homes given their family sizes. That's quite alright. What irks me, though, even here in tony Pittsburgh suburbs like Fox Chapel, is that many of these McMansions with 7,000 square feet of living space, 6 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, a media room, "bonus room", etc. are inhabited by DINKs (dual-income/no kids) who want to show off to their friends and colleagues how successful they are. They consume and waste so much energy to heat and cool these McMansions, which drives prices for these commodities up for ALL of us, and it's just so they can shore up their own personal insecurities and say "Look at me. I'm more successful than most. I'm a somebody---not a nobody". Well, sorry, but my future plans will likely afford my partner and I the fiduciary means to build a McMansion in Fox Chapel (i.e. Waverly), but I'd rather buy one of the two (or even both) historic yet decaying rowhomes across the street from me and restore them to their former grandeur.

America's obsession with throwing away the "old and outdated" for the "hip, new, and trendy" disgusts me.
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