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Here's a good trend - smaller houses (cottages)

Post in 'The Green Room' started by webbie, Jul 20, 2008.

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  1. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    New Jersey USA
    Yes, but did you notice the "tumbleweed" smallest home was almost $500 per square feet. That was my first concern, why would I pay more for less? I think those prices may not include the land, albeit you don't need much land.

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  2. jrousell

    jrousell New Member

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    Adirondack Mtns. NY
    yes- those prices are outta wack.... obviosuly it is tough to even compare- they are apples and oragnes really..
    but even so the costs are outta wack..
  3. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Burbs of B'more, MD, Hon!
    Agreed! We started out in a 1300 sf house and I hope to end up in a condo about that size or smaller. As long as it is located somewhere in the Keys and has water rights, I'll be happy! I do NOT want to have to worry about maintenance when I'm 80...

    Chris
  4. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Home size is both a private and a public issue. The real cost of a home is not just the cost of land + building. On the private side utilities, taxes, insurance, and maintenance can loom very large over time. Add to this opportunity cost for other things the money to buy and own a larger home could have been used for, such as earlier retirement, education, travel, etc.

    On the public side, sprawl and infrastructure costs are huge: roads, utility services, schools, hospitals, police and fire protection. Some argue to keep taxes low - no way to do that with the cost of sprawl. USDA reports that on average public services cost $1.34 for each $1.00 of real estate taxes collected on developed properties. That extra has to be made up from other taxes and fees.

    Then there is the intangible social cost: a big part of which is pollution and environmental degradation. Pollution from energy use for our cars getting to and from our homes, operating our homes, and making all the things we use and throw away in our larger homes. Environmental degradation from deforestation for housing; fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides spread on lawns and washing into streams and rivers; erosion of soils; etc.

    The key to all living is sustainability for the present and future generations, something we as a nation are not doing too well at. The smaller home is just one handle that some use to get a grip on a much bigger issue.

    For my wife and I, our 1500 sq ft (with 3 children now raised to adults) is plenty, and the money we have saved in reduced utilities, taxes, insurance, and maintenance over our 27 years together has allowed us a lifestyle of part-time work and now early retirement. I can't imagine a larger home that ever would have justified us working longer and harder to support.
  5. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Loc:
    Okiehomey
    One trend I hope goes away is the cathedral ceiling, so long as it waits till I sell mine. I'll never even look at another house with one. We didn't want one when we bought, but there just wasn't anything else on the market. We looked for close to a year before settling for it. Sure, it looks nice when you first walk in, but when you live there for a while... the TV volume has to be loud enough to fill all that extra space or it doesn't sound right. When it's up high enough to sound right, you can hear it all over the house. It's hard to heat and cool because if you heat or cool the big rooms to a comfy level, the small rooms are at the extremes. When the small rooms are comfy, the big rooms are at the opposite extremes. And, since the interior roofline follows the exterior roofline, insulation is limited. Mine does have the exterior roof extending way, way up so I could at least put insulation on the very top of the room, but the angled walls don't have enough.

    Those houses are too tiny though. I can't even see living in one as a single person, much less a family, even for a weekend. I've stayed in a tiny place before, and while it might seem to be really neat to begin with, it gets old REALLY quick. It's also harder to maintain a tiny place than a larger one, believe it or not, because you must constantly be on top of maintenance or it gets away from you. So, in one of those houses you have to give over a larger part of each day to keep the place up. And, if you have to do any major cleaning, there's simply no room to put something while you clean where it goes. Call me crazy, but I'd like to do laundry just once a week, not every day.
  6. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Jim raises a number of important points, my fixes are totally different, however. I also point out that the high property taxes in NJ assures that we pay the governmental service cost of whatever size home we have.

    I see some social concerns/solutions as just more big government telling us how to live. With over population these concerns and governmental controls will grow. The best solution in my "book" it to limit legal immigration, stop illegal immigration, and work to convince people to have small families. If this isn't done the US will become more and more like China and other overpopulated countries.

    For those who wish on succeeding generations such benefits as: larger populations in small homes and properties shore to shinning shore, is say NUTS!
  7. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    520
    I can't imagine paying what some of those folks spent for the cottages. Price per square foot was unreal. One possible criticism I have is that if they wanted to be really "green", how about upgrading an existing home? When we moved to NEOhio we went against the trend. Took a new job, higher salary, had a second child, and bought a smaller/cheaper house (granted with a much larger lot and 2 outbuildings). Much happier.
  8. njtomatoguy

    njtomatoguy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    Messages:
    458
    Loc:
    Maple Shade, NJ
    790 sq ft assessed, 1 bonus room not counted by the town.
    2 BR
    1 Bath
    LR
    Kitchen
    Furnace room/Utility room
    Vaulted ceilings make a huge difference= my neighbor put in drop ceilings, it's like living in a shoe box

    [​IMG]
  9. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

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    Feb 1, 2007
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    486
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I'm living in 600 ft2 right now with my wife, we aren't using much of the space but will be adding a loft with about 200 ft2 to get our bedroom out of the living room. With more fore thought we could comfortably live in less space if you have some place for storage of seasonal junk.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Northern MN
    When we think about our "need" for larger homes, it might be helpful to consider that after WWII, the average new house size was 800 sq ft, and average family size was higher than today. Average new house size today is 2500 sq ft and maybe a little more, and the average family size today is 2.6.

    It just might be that larger homes fall into the "want" rather than "need" category.
  11. wally

    wally New Member

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    Loc:
    central nh
    perfectly happy with my 1100 sf, 3-bedroom house. 2 kids, each get a room. not a lot of free space/storage space. the bonus is that we use virtually all of the space that gets heated. not interested in a bigger house, the kids will be here for another 10 to 12 years, then it'll be the two of us. it seems bigger by having a 12x20 deck and 6x14 screen porch.

    the 2500 sf "average" house would seem huge to us.

    i will say that our utilities are low on a monthly average. electric averages roughly $70/month, from around 800 kw/h in january to 180 kw/h in july and august. no cable bill. no water bill. septic is around $300/year for the spring pump-out.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    South Puget Sound, WA
    Tip of the hat to all of you living within your means. We will soon be empty nesters and will likely need to reassess our needs. Tough, there is a lot of sweat and blood into this old place (2000 sq ft.).
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    "septic is around $300/year for the spring pump-out."

    Blows me away. Even the nastiest regulators only require 3 year pump out intervals. Unregulated septics are usually on a 10 year schedule. Maybe you have a special issue that you are covering up by the frequent pump?
  14. wally

    wally New Member

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    Loc:
    central nh
    actually less than that, probably have averaged pumping 1 in 3 years. by law, in NH, you are required to inspect the tank yearly. rarely, if ever, enforced. but i check ours every spring.

    and i looked at my electric use history. peak use happens in feb, with 650 kw/Hr. low is june/july/august, around 190 kw/Hr.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We've been pumping out every 5 years and so far all we get are compliments for our sweet smelling sewage and healthy system. (It takes a sewage pumper to notice things like this).
  16. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
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    Loc:
    near Milwaukee, WI
    Those of you so aghast at a 1000 sq ft. house or smaller must not travel much, as you evidently have no idea that most of the people on the planet live in houses smaller than that. Obviously such a space works fine for living. It is just what you get used to, what you see the neighbors have, what seems normal, etc. And yes there should be a certain amount of concern and consideration for the fact that if everyone on the planet lived like those in the U.S. we would need several more Earths to put everyone. Using the planet's resources wisely does not translate into poverty or an unpleasant lifestyle?!?

    Our house is about 2000 sq. ft. I admit it is much larger than we need. We bought my family's house, where I grew up, so of course we got it as it was, built for a family of 7. But now it is just for my husband and myself. 4 rooms mostly just have "stuff" in them and we don't use them otherwise except one is a guest bedroom, and one is also where we file things and keep plants. We live in the other 4 rooms. And we could make do with one bathroom instead of two. It would be easy for us to live in smaller places. I know because we have. In England, Ecuador, and Puerto Rico we lived in 2 Bedroom apartments, quite easily, because most of our junk was in IL. In Paris we had 3 bedrooms, but the two extra were empty except when we had visitors. For a total of about 18 months over 4 years we lived on a 37' catamaran, fairly roomy for a sailboat, but tiny for a house. Physically you don't need that much space, and if you grew up in a village full of tiny houses in a country full of tiny houses, you would be quite content to live in a tiny house. It would be what you are used to, what seemed normal.

    I do like to have a lot of outdoor space, and not be cheek to jowl with the neighbors. But that is probably because I grew up here, in the country, on 5 acres. But on the other hand I admire European towns, mostly designed before the automobile, where you have houses quite near each other (but with lovely yards and flowers) and close to shopping of all sorts, and then suddenly the town ends and fields start. No sprawl. Much simpler for transportation, people really can and do walk and bike around. End result is less pollution, less use of resources, and the people aren't so gosh darned fat like Americans. Seems good to me.

    As for the original topic, I imagine the cottage homes cost a lot because of location and the fine woodwork and handcrafting in the houses. *I* wouldn't pay that much for a house, regardless of the size.
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