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Outgrowing a home vs. Growing into an Ego


sowanome

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I think you're missing something. Do everyone need bigger? Do you get a 4000 sf home just because you can afford it? This year has taught me that many who get homes 2800 sf and above don't need it, they can't even afford it.

If they can't afford it, they don't get to keep it (unless I bail them out). None of us need most of the stuff we have. Humans lived happily for thousands of years with sticks, stones and animal skins. We want all this other crap, so we get it. Seems simple to me.

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If they can't afford it, they don't get to keep it (unless I bail them out). None of us need most of the stuff we have. Humans lived happily for thousands of years with sticks, stones and animal skins. We want all this other crap, so we get it. Seems simple to me.

Sure, it is simple. But you probably shouldn't expect to be complimented on your cravings for more and bigger crap, should you?

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Nope. Why do you ask that question?

Because the post that started this debate asked "what's wrong with that?", and, "so what?" While I agree with you on the reason that people want all of this crap, I fail to see why this base instinct should be applauded, except out of politeness. But, since the post started with an impolite statement, it seemed to be begging for an unvarnished reply.

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Because the post that started this debate asked "what's wrong with that?", and, "so what?" While I agree with you on the reason that people want all of this crap, I fail to see why this base instinct should be applauded, except out of politeness. But, since the post started with an impolite statement, it seemed to be begging for an unvarnished reply.

I didn't think texas911 was saying anyone should be complimented for wanting a bigger house, just that there isn't anything wrong with that desire. Conversely, there is nothing wrong with wanting a smaller house, nor is that desire worthy of praise.

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I didn't think texas911 was saying anyone should be complimented for wanting a bigger house, just that there isn't anything wrong with that desire. Conversely, there is nothing wrong with wanting a smaller house, nor is that desire worthy of praise.

Correct. It is ME that is saying that one need not be complimented for wanting a bigger house. I answered his questions, and my answers went counter to both his and your opinion.

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Correct. It is ME that is saying that one need not be complimented for wanting a bigger house. I answered his questions, and my answers went counter to both his and your opinion.

I don't see where your answer is counter to my opinion, unless you think I thought people should be compliemented for wanting a bigger house. I'm very confused by this sub-thread. What are you saying?

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I don't see where your answer is counter to my opinion, unless you think I thought people should be compliemented for wanting a bigger house. I'm very confused by this sub-thread. What are you saying?

If you spent more time reading the posts, and less time trying to make it about you, you'd see that my comments related only to the first poster's opinion, and his statements.

It may be important to note that I gave MY opinion as a counter to HIS opinion. You, on the other hand, appear to be attempting to be contrarian, with no real opinion at all. With that said, I now return this thread to its original topic.

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My only issue, yeah it's my own issue and I welcome any criticism, is that why are so many homes built with rooms that are unusable. For Example, The Living room w/ furniture that's used for display purposes(Typical of 4000 sq. ft. homes)....I've never seen this room used, I've only seen it observed...

There's nothing like paying for furniture and space that you don't use just b/c you love the n.hood :D

Edited by sowanome
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If you spent more time reading the posts, and less time trying to make it about you, you'd see that my comments related only to the first poster's opinion, and his statements.

Why so mean? You replied to my post, so I assumed you were speaking to me. Were you speaking to texas911 through me?

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I think you're missing something. Do everyone need bigger? Do you get a 4000 sf home just because you can afford it? This year has taught me that many who get homes 2800 sf and above don't need it, they can't even afford it.

Just over a year ago I realized that my 550-square-foot condominium was inefficient. I looked at the places where I actually spent time. And then I looked at the pathways that connected the activity nodes. There were too many and too lengthy pathways relative to the nodes.

My first instinct was to look at options along the lines of containerized living. And the designs I was brainstorming were somewhat similar to this one, which has a first floor office, a second-floor dining room, a third-floor living room, and a fourth-floor spa with sweeping views (minus the transparency or the gay color scheme):

page1_blog_entry173_2.jpg

Personally, I was more inclined to go with this kind of setup but with the first level as a tandem garage, a kitchen and living room on the second floor, two flex/office rooms on the third floor, and a bedroom on the top floor, with a hot tub on a rooftop deck. In all, it would be 960 square feet of air conditioned living area but on a standard 5,000-square-foot inner-loop lot, and I would only necessarily have to pave 10% of the land area, either leaving room for a massive 4,500-square-foot lawn and urban garden or allowing me to dramatically downsize on the purchase of land. Houston's urban core does have a few scattered 2,500-square-foot lots, after all, and they're usually priced affordably.

It actually would've resulted in up-sizing my living area; but truth be told, if I were going to build something, this would be the kind of home that makes sense. I'm a young guy, after all, and housing needs within my demographic are prone to change; and I certainly wouldn't want to own a home that I wasn't planning on staying in for four to six years at the very least because otherwise the soft costs would eat away at my investment. What if I were to take a wife? Or a kid? That's the kind of occurance that is very plausible over that sort of time horizon. So this was the sort of home that would be flexible enough to meet my needs (or even those of up to two-and-a-half people), while also being highly efficient and uber cool at a reasonable price compared to townhomes.

At a certain point it occured to me that I might just look into outfitting a single 320-square-foot container as a home and putting it on concrete cinder blocks. I figured that the cost would be sufficiently low that I could just sell my condo and pay straight cash for the whole setup. Not having a mortgage was very appealing, and if I did have to up-size, the single-container-home would make a good guest house or workshop. ...and then my grandparents offered to instead sell me their old travel trailer for only $2k. INSTANT DEAL-KILLER. I realized that the cool factor on single-unit container living wasn't nearly enough to justify the per-square-foot investment on something that tiny and basic. If I did it (and I could have done it, both with respect to money and livability) I'd only end up regretting the waste of all that money for the sake of coolness alone...which now that I was comparing it to trailers was pretty well deflated anyway.

But I wasn't done downsizing yet. I like water. I like boats. I like the concept of a houseboat. And I don't like traditional houseboats or trawlers converted to houseboats. Specifically, I dislike large recreational motorboats. They cost too much to take anywhere not in the Galveston Bay area, and I don't like feeling encumbered. A sailboat has a very simple floor plan with an efficient single-corridor pathway connecting a dense system of activity nodes...and it goes places...and I could evade property taxes...and float...and recreate...and possibly justify keeping it even if my housing needs changed...and satisfy my ego. A lot has happened since I set my heart on that, not one frickin' iota of which has supported my decision to become a liveaboard (which was probably for the better considering Edouard & Ike). But that's still the working hypothesis as to where I'm trying to go in the next year.

What I've come to realize through the past couple of years is that 1) I do value space, but I especially value efficiency; 2) I'd rather pay a tremendous premium for quality than for quantity; 3) like Red, I'd be very satisfied to live in under 1,000 square feet, even up to a two-and-a-half-person household, but unlike Red, I'd be terribly unsatisfied living in a run-of-the-mill bungalow of that size; and 4) in the very long term, if my accumulated wealth is substantial enough, I will demand quality before quantity, but I will ultimately demand more quantity, and 5) I don't care if any of this qualifies as excessive/wasteful consumerism because I readily acknowledge that material things can and do make me a happier person.

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He simply urged us to monitor the space we actually needed and stick fairly close to that.

If you haven't already, I'd recommend reading "The Not So Big House" by Susan Susanka. Susanka's practice focuses on the design of smaller homes that are specifically catered to her clients' interests. In her book, she makes the argument that smaller homes that specifically respond to the living patterns of their occupants offer a higher quality of life than larger houses that are based on outdated residential prototypes or the desire to impress.

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I didn't think texas911 was saying anyone should be complimented for wanting a bigger house, just that there isn't anything wrong with that desire. Conversely, there is nothing wrong with wanting a smaller house, nor is that desire worthy of praise.

I agree completely. If someone wants a bigger house and they have the money for it, then have at it. It's not a matter of personal virtue. Likewise, when I posted pictures of bloated furniture and cars, the point was about fashion in design, not that one style is inherently better. It may not be to my personal taste, but as I've said before I think we are wired somehow with the desire to get big things to impress the neighbors.

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I agree completely. If someone wants a bigger house and they have the money for it, then have at it. It's not a matter of personal virtue. Likewise, when I posted pictures of bloated furniture and cars, the point was about fashion in design, not that one style is inherently better. It may not be to my personal taste, but as I've said before I think we are wired somehow with the desire to get big things to impress the neighbors.

And sometimes, we just want bigger things regardless of the neighbors. I've never picked a residence (or a car, or a girl, or a haircut) based on who it would impress. I realize I'm atypical, though.

Now I can't tell if I'm speaking for myself or making this all about me...

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The concept of the American Dream is completely lost if we start dictating what type of material possessions are allowed. The great thing about the American Dream is that we have the freedom to prosper regardless of social status, but rather by our hard work. And how we choose to spend our hard-earned money should be no one's concern. No one should be made to feel guilty for having what they have worked for. We all have the right to live the way we want, whether it be frugally or extravagantly.

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The concept of the American Dream is completely lost if we start dictating what type of material possessions are allowed. The great thing about the American Dream is that we have the freedom to prosper regardless of social status, but rather by our hard work. And how we choose to spend our hard-earned money should be no one's concern. No one should be made to feel guilty for having what they have worked for. We all have the right to live the way we want, whether it be frugally or extravagantly.

Point taken, but in all fairness, nobody's talking about dictating how you spend your money. As I said, I understand that people like to show off wealth in various ways, but by the same token part of the price they pay is that others may find their choices vulgar or inappropriate.

Vulgar and inappropriate car:

Hummer_H2_Geiger.jpg

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I don't doubt that many would find living in my house vulgar, or at a minimum, "cramped". And I am quite sure that Tx911 enjoys walking through his 4,000 feet of nirvana with a sense of contentment. That is pretty much the point. We are both free to enjoy what we think is enjoyable. I opined on 911's comment that everyone wants more space, not that more space is good or evil. So, while 911 is stretching out in his 4000 feet of luxury, I am admiring my relatively tiny mortgage and utility bills. While 911 is comforted by his uncramped living quarters and toney address, I am comforted by the fact that, if I were laid off today, I could live in my bungalow on a waiter's wages. It is all about what makes each of us happy.

And to each his own. :)

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I am comforted by the fact that, if I were laid off today, I could live in my bungalow on a waiter's wages.

I've got to say that was the best quote I've heard in a while...Truly the best I've heard in a while (To each his own), "A Waiter's Wage"

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Just for the record, I live in a 1937 2100SF bungalow in West U, not a 4000SF house. I don't have a tiny mortgage or a big one, its paid off and as well, my electricity bill is huge because, its an old house. My house's worth is equivalent to a 4000SF house in the burbs though, so I guess I have that.

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Just for the record, I live in a 1937 2100SF bungalow in West U, not a 4000SF house. I don't have a tiny mortgage or a big one, its paid off and as well, my electricity bill is huge because, its an old house. My house's worth is equivalent to a 4000SF house in the burbs though, so I guess I have that.

My apologies for attributing a 4000 foot home to you. Your post #46 seemed to suggest you lived in one, whereas you were actually speaking rhetorically. My point remains the same, though. Whatever makes you happy. :)

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This is an interesting thread.

I am surprised no has brought up the ratio of lot value / to house price

The dirt in West-U, Bellaire, Memorial, etc is VERY expensive. These locations EARNED their high prices. Schools & services are excellent. And folks with $$$$ want to live there.

A builder that buys a $300k teardown in Bellaire is NOT going to build a 2000 sqft home. A builder that buys a $800k

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This is an interesting thread.

I am surprised no has brought up the ratio of lot value / to house price

Buyers who want to live in these areas are forced to buy more house than they "Need" because of the lot/house ratio.

Welcome to capitalism:

I agree that the builders are also pushing this phenom, but is there something wrong with being the smallest home on the block (even if others view it as a possible teardown?). What's been your experience within your n.hood...Is everyone following the "The Bigger, The Better Theme"

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I wouldn't say anyone is forced to buy anything. If they don't want to buy more house than they "need", they can buy an older house or build a custom.

The builders will always have to build a house that sells for 3 to 4 times the price of the dirt.

You try convincing a home/land owner to sell their lot for less than their neighbor's sold their lot for so you don't have to build such a big, expensive house.

flipper

And for any household concerned about resale, even a small custom home on an expensive lot may ultimately be harder to re-sell at such a price as that the investment is recoverable.

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I agree that the builders are also pushing this phenom, but is there something wrong with being the smallest home on the block (even if others view it as a possible tear-down?). What's been your experience within your n.hood...Is everyone following the "The Bigger, The Better Theme"

My neighborhood (Hedwig Village) looks nothing like it did when I moved in 2001. Nearly all the original 50s ranch houses on large lots have been torn down and replaced with 6000+ sf monsters. I can think of only 1 sale where they did not tear down the home (3800 sf), but the owners added about 1/3 more square footage, added 2 more baths, and totally gutted the rest.

There is currently a new house on my street for sale at $2.4 mil. Two years ago a nice 60's 2 story 3000 sf brick home stood on the lot. I came home one day and it was in a dumpster. No for sale sign was ever posted.

Same thing happened to another one 2 houses down. It was a 3200 sf remodeled in the late 80s. Our Mayor used to live there. She passed away and within 3 months the house was in a dumpster. The lot is still vacant without a for sale sign. None of these transactions went through MLS, so I can't find what they sold for.

Another "house" is being built about a block away on Lou-al that is just under 13,000 sft with 11 baths (per HCAD). I went inside while it was under under construction and it is not just a bunch of sheet rock to add footage. The main entry area is about the size of my house and it must have 30 foot ceilings. Ridiculous.

I chose to remodel my 2900 sft house and I regret it. I put way too much money into the remodel, and I know all that work and effort will wind up in a dumpster.

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I chose to remodel my 2900 sft house and I regret it. I put way too much money into the remodel, and I know all that work and effort will wind up in a dumpster.

My parents *kind of* feel the same way about their home in Bellaire. My mom is retiring soon, they will be moving out of state, and the house will be flattened. They have lived there almost twenty years, though, so it was not all for waste.

I say if you love your home and plan to stay, don't regret the remodeling.

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My parents *kind of* feel the same way about their home in Bellaire. My mom is retiring soon, they will be moving out of state, and the house will be flattened. They have lived there almost twenty years, though, so it was not all for waste.

I say if you love your home and plan to stay, don't regret the remodeling.

Absolutely. All of this thread really relates to using the home as an investment. I realize that few people buy homes as homes anymore, but I also realize that the housing crisis was spurred by using homes as investments. If you plan to stay in your home for awhile, learn to let go of the resale demons in your head, and build or remodel to suit your tastes. Don't worry so much about what others want to eventually do to your home.

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Absolutely. All of this thread really relates to using the home as an investment. I realize that few people buy homes as homes anymore, but I also realize that the housing crisis was spurred by using homes as investments. If you plan to stay in your home for awhile, learn to let go of the resale demons in your head, and build or remodel to suit your tastes. Don't worry so much about what others want to eventually do to your home.

But that's just the thing, Red, is that a home is a home whether it is bought or rented. The rent vs. buy analysis is an investment decision. It's about which is the better financial decision. And the housing crisis wasn't spurred by people using homes as investments; it was spurred by people making bad assumptions.

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Absolutely. All of this thread really relates to using the home as an investment. I realize that few people buy homes as homes anymore, but I also realize that the housing crisis was spurred by using homes as investments. If you plan to stay in your home for awhile, learn to let go of the resale demons in your head, and build or remodel to suit your tastes. Don't worry so much about what others want to eventually do to your home.

Your comments are right-on.

I have enjoyed my home immensely, and the appreciation has been WAY beyond expectations.

But I want to retire in couple of years, and there is a real possibility I simply can't afford to live here after I retire. Because of the skyrocketing appraised market value, my taxes will go up 15 % (max?) a year until I am 65 (ten years). Assuming that the house is paid off, my tax bill will be 2 times what my mortgage is/was. And yes, I fight my tax appraisal every year. I also tried one of the professional tax reduction firms that guarantee results, and they would up giving me a $100 credit to any Papas restaurant.

If I have to sell and want to get the maximum value for the property, I need to bite the bullet and rebuild before I sell.

So it will probably be ME who hires the bulldozer (to build a beautiful home I will never live in). That is why I am frustrated.

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Your comments are right-on.

I have enjoyed my home immensely, and the appreciation has been WAY beyond expectations.

But I want to retire in couple of years, and there is a real possibility I simply can't afford to live here after I retire. Because of the skyrocketing appraised market value, my taxes will go up 15 % (max?) a year until I am 65 (ten years). Assuming that the house is paid off, my tax bill will be 2 times what my mortgage is/was. And yes, I fight my tax appraisal every year. I also tried one of the professional tax reduction firms that guarantee results, and they would up giving me a $100 credit to any Papas restaurant.

If I have to sell and want to get the maximum value for the property, I need to bite the bullet and rebuild before I sell.

So it will probably be ME who hires the bulldozer (to build a beautiful home I will never live in). That is why I am frustrated.

Without going into your financial situation, it is probably not as dire as you think. The maximum "appraised value" increase is 10% per year. Of course, taxes have numerous reductions built in, so the actual increase in taxes may not be 10%. Additionally, Harris County is very generous with the over 65 homeowner. My parents do not live in as nice a neighborhood as you, but the exemptions are so genrous that their 2007 tax bill was $166. Total.

Here is an article listing some of the over 65 exemptions in Houston.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/busine...man/219109.html

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Your comments are right-on.

I have enjoyed my home immensely, and the appreciation has been WAY beyond expectations.

But I want to retire in couple of years, and there is a real possibility I simply can't afford to live here after I retire. Because of the skyrocketing appraised market value, my taxes will go up 15 % (max?) a year until I am 65 (ten years). Assuming that the house is paid off, my tax bill will be 2 times what my mortgage is/was. And yes, I fight my tax appraisal every year. I also tried one of the professional tax reduction firms that guarantee results, and they would up giving me a $100 credit to any Papas restaurant.

If I have to sell and want to get the maximum value for the property, I need to bite the bullet and rebuild before I sell.

So it will probably be ME who hires the bulldozer (to build a beautiful home I will never live in). That is why I am frustrated.

You don't think it's a little funny that you are complaining that the tax appraised value is so high, yet you want to sell for "maximum value"?

Would you be happy if your assessed value was 1/2 what it is, but so was what you could sell it for?

flipper

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RedScare:

Without going into your financial situation, it is probably not as dire as you think. The maximum "appraised value" increase is 10% per year. Of course, taxes have numerous reductions built in, so the actual increase in taxes may not be 10%. Additionally, Harris County is very generous with the over 65 homeowner. My parents do not live in as nice a neighborhood as you, but the exemptions are so generous that their 2007 tax bill was $166. Total

Thanks for the link. Last year I bought an investment property in the near East from an estate and my portion of the 2007 taxes at closing was $12.

Unfortunately,

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You think there are enough people with cash on hand to buy all of those quality houses? I don't.

No, not all of them. But that's what I mean. Only the best of the best neighborhoods are insulated.

It works that way with commercial real estate, too, as cap rates decompress. It is linked to that owners of such properties are typically more insulated from panic selling or foreclosure than owners of properties of lesser value, thus constraining any increase in supply relative to lesser neighborhoods. Of the relatively fewer properties in the best neighborhoods that do get listed, there is still a market. Not a huge market that would support the continued rise in property values that had been experienced previously, but enough to maintain pricing.

This should be especially true in Houston, as we are creating jobs at a rate faster than any other city in the country. For instance, Phoenix lost 43,200 jobs in the last twelve months, Atlanta lost 33,600, and Los Angeles lost 53,200; we gained 55,700. We even inched out Dallas, which gained 54,300. All these people need to live somewhere, and a lot of them make really good money. Add to that that our rental rates are still relatively stable and that they were never as disconnected from the cost of ownership as had become the case elsewhere in the country, and our experience really just doesn't look so bad. It's easier to maintain pricing in the very best of our neighborhoods when our local economy is still growing.

Edited by TheNiche
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This should be especially true in Houston, as we are creating jobs at a rate faster than any other city in the country. For instance, Phoenix lost 43,200 jobs in the last twelve months, Atlanta lost 33,600, and Los Angeles lost 53,200; we gained 55,700. We even inched out Dallas, which gained 54,300. All these people need to live somewhere, and a lot of them make really good money. Add to that that our rental rates are still relatively stable and that they were never as disconnected from the cost of ownership as had become the case elsewhere in the country, and our experience really just doesn't look so bad. It's easier to maintain pricing in the very best of our neighborhoods when our local economy is still growing.

Simma down Niche,

You are harshing the PANIC! mellow.

flipper

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