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Old 01-27-2013, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,384,610 times
Reputation: 2388

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
I think people have made th assumption that I've chosen an arbitrary allotment of size place and woukd put a prescription on how much housing people should have. That is not true. I believe people are free to make the same mistakes that I have.

The number OTOH is arbitrary because it comes out of personal experience.
So, you're promoting that as a lifestyle choice using your own experience as an example? There's nothing wrong with that, though you shouldn't make assumptions that that figure you selected would be best for everyone. Just keep an open mind. As the last poster said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zymer View Post
It's completely subjective and personal. My wife and I have 1800sq ft (plus 800 sq ft detached garage) on 22 acres. It's too small for us. And it's not an 'ostentatious' display of wealth, since mortgage and property tax are less than a studio apt. in a big city like NYC etc. Double or (better) triple the living space would suit us better...if we had the money to do it.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Verde Valley
4,060 posts, read 9,125,727 times
Reputation: 3435
I'm single and while I prefer not to live in an excessive amount of space, 500 square feet doesn't cut it for me. Especially since I work from home, and sometimes have guests.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:03 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 26 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,020 posts, read 102,689,903 times
Reputation: 33083
We had a similar conversation last summer, which ended with me starting a poll. While some vehemently asserted that most people live in 300 sf or less, the poll showed otherwise.

How many square feet of living space do the residents of your home have?
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,079 posts, read 16,105,531 times
Reputation: 12647
Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
I think people have made th assumption that I've chosen an arbitrary allotment of size place and woukd put a prescription on how much housing people should have. That is not true. I believe people are free to make the same mistakes that I have.

The number OTOH is arbitrary because it comes out of personal experience. I personally found that 500 sf/person was enough to feel comfortable, but not wasteful. We had a 2220 sf house for two of us + pets...guess we thought we 'd have kids that never came. In any case, we ended up willing the space with stuff with expensive stuff we didn't need and didn't even really want. Was our life better in such a big place? It wasn't. We spent more money to buy it, more money and time to maintain it, more tax dollars every year to keep the state away, more money to heat and cool it than necessary. It was a lovely place, and made us a fortune on resale thanks to a great local economy. But selling it and down sizing was freedom.

Utility bills a third, property taxes half, weekends are ours now, more money in our pocket to do stuff with, less stuff in our home to weigh us down. Do I miss the big back yard? I thought I would, but it turns out I like the hike trail nearby a lot better. instead of mowing the lawn on the weekends, I cook out on our small patio and we have time to enjoy the space we do have. The family of four who bought our place is much better suited to 2200 sf than we ever were.
Again, it's great that you don't feel the need for space. The problem is you think the universe revolves around you and your personal opinions. In fact, you even said you think anyone who doesn't agree with your personal opinions is just doing it because they want to make an ostentatious display of their wealth. Dumb premise.

Do I need 1500 square feet? No. I'll be the first to tell you it's really bigger than I need or even want. Problem is there's not much SFH stock much smaller than about 1200. Around 800-900 would be perfect for my needs, and I really frankly do not care how much space someone else finds is ideal for them. For my grandparents or now my aunt and uncle, it simply would not be nearly enough. They are or were the focal point of the extended family which is scattered across multiple states. My grandparents maintained a 3,500 square foot house for years and years after their children were grown. Why? Because family was more important to them than money. Ever tried to have a thirty person Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner in an under 1,000 square foot dwelling? How about frequently having overnight guests? How about having an office that is presentable enough for the occasional client with two laser printers, server, binding machine, fax, scanner, desk big enough to spread some work out on plus enough room for a client or two on occasion? Not going to happen in 500 square feet.

But what I should do is just rent an office for $300-500 a month to avoid anyone thinking my modest 3bd house is an ostentatious display of wealth. Then I can move into a crappy section-8 apartment downtown, because that's just about the only place you can even find something that's not well over 500 square feet here, and commute to work in my car rather than my slippers. And as a bonus I'd gt to live next to the meth addicts and mental folks who are all off their meds since the mental health clinics were all shut down and save myself around $400 a month on rent which I'll just turn around and spend on renting office space. Fido goes to the pound because those places don't take pets. Sounds like a terrific idea. And it's why no one except those on the margins live there. Beats being homeless, but not by much. This isn't Manhattan.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,404 posts, read 59,910,649 times
Reputation: 54063
Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
Really, you can live quite comfortably at 500sf/person and maybe throw in an addition 100sf/pet.

A family of 4 with a couple of cats and a dog could live quite well in a 2300sf house (indeed, this would be considered luxurious in Manhattan). Anything more than that is unneeded luxury or ostentatious display of wealth.
My parents, sister and I lived in a 1200 square foot house. With a cat.

After we got the cat, my parents added a 20 x 15 barn of a family room. Too much space for the cat, you think? She was awfully spoiled ...

I live in a 1200 square foot house. Should I move, now that I'm widowed?

Definitions of "live quite comfortably" vary so wildly from person to person that any discussion of an arbitrary space need is quite silly. Personal preference, culture, comfort, affordability, location ... You name it.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
14,425 posts, read 7,939,946 times
Reputation: 53554
There's no way the two of us could live in 1000 sq. feet. Our house is around 2000 sq. feet on 4 levels. It's just right. He's upstairs in his computer room, I'm downstairs on the lap top, watching an old black and white and doing laundry. I like my space.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:48 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,007,216 times
Reputation: 1348
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
I live in a 1,500 square foot 3bd house by my lonesome. I'm frankly very worried for anyone who thinks the $300/month more I spend on it than I would for a 1bd apartment is an ostentatious display of wealth. Plus I get a two-car garage, back yard for the dog, don't have to here loud sex from my neighbors since they're not getting it on on the other side of a thin wall, don't have to hear the rhinos stampeding down the hall every morning at 6 a.m. Anyone that would prefer to subject themselves to that to save $300 is an idiot.

I agree with your premise, though I think you'd find the underlying numbers vastly different if you came a little further west, to the Bay. Sure, you can have a $1600/mo mortgage for a 1200 sq-ft home, with a garage and yard. But, with that home comes upkeep (no maintenance crew to put a work order in to), property taxes, and, if you need to move, needing to cope with the liquidity of the market. Also, at that price, the home was likely in an underperforming area, and may have a variety of underlying problems. All these "costs" must be taken in to account.

Again, yes, I agree with you in theory, but I don't see it playing out that closely ($300) in reality.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:59 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,007,216 times
Reputation: 1348
Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
Really, you can live quite comfortably at 500sf/person and maybe throw in an addition 100sf/pet.

A family of 4 with a couple of cats and a dog could live quite well in a 2300sf house (indeed, this would be considered luxurious in Manhattan). Anything more than that is unneeded luxury or ostentatious display of wealth.

Debate.

I think an underlying problem here is that much of that 500sf/person is actually found in shared "common space," such as the kitchen, bathroom, living room, etc. If anything, I say that an individual needs less space for themselves as the number of occupants increases and the size of the living space increases, down to some lower limit.

That is, one person, living alone, might be comfortable (plus or minus, depending on personal preferences) with 600sf, but a family of three might be comfortable (plus or minus) with 1400 sf.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,079 posts, read 16,105,531 times
Reputation: 12647
Or Manhattan. Absolutely, the Central Valley is cheap. Since I'm renting, I also didn't pay the premium to be in a particularly good neighborhood with better schools. It's okay, but not great. I wouldn't live here if I had kids since I'm not really a big fan of isolating them in private schools and the school district is... well, crap. I also get a bit off my rent because I do the yard work and light repairs. That and my landlord hasn't raise the rent on me, despite rent prices going up quite a bit, or charge me late fees when I forget to mail him the rent by 12:00 noon on the fifth day of the month. Sharp. Some people hate doing that kind of stuff whereas I really don't mind. It's a nice way to spend a weekend doing something productive and tangible to me. I don't, however, ever want to paint another house in my life, so it was nice that I didn't have to worry about paying someone to do it.

$300 here is the difference between a '70s "ostentatious display of wealth" 1bd apartment ($600-700), a modest older home in a neighborhood like mine that's okay but has bad schools ($900-1100), and a larger home in a better neighborhood with average schools ($1300-$1500). It's definitely not the Bay Area which is why it's so hard to find non-"ostentatious display of wealth" apartments.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:54 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,854,178 times
Reputation: 9769
Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderkat59 View Post
People laugh at me because I say I could be very happy living in a small trailer home somewhere.
Take away all the "Trailer Trash", "Meth" and other undesirable stereotype stuff, and I really think trailer homes are a very responsible lifestyle. Small homes that have a minimal footrprint. Can be moved or trashed when no longer needed. You have not permanently ruined a piece of land for your temporary stay on earth. To stay mildly on-topic, 500sq ft. is a good number
Nobody's "ruined" a piece of land by living on it. If you're living in a house now, chances are someone else will be living in it when you're gone... or another house on the same land. If for some reason no one wants to live there, a few days with a bulldozer will remove the house quickly; if no one bothers, in most places a few decades of neglect will remove it slowly.
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