PSA: Don't buy a big house

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sunny_socal
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PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:47 am

We just moved from CA to TX. We ended up buying a McMansion compared to what we had before:
- 4 BR, 4BA
- 3750 sq ft (Note: For many I'm sure this will still be 'small'...)
- 0.75 acres
- 10-ft ceilings throughout
- 20-ft ceilings in hallways and 'great room'

In some ways it's great, there is space to breathe. However, it turns out those high ceilings are a major pain!
- Most light bulbs are out of reach without a very tall ladder
- Bulbs in the hallways and great room require a lift or uncommonly tall ladder (16-ft A-frame or higher)
- Fire alarms are installed in every room per latest code, even in the "crazy high" areas

Want to swap out a fan? Change one of those high bulbs? It's now $100/hr to call an electrician. I can't even imagine what painting this place is going to mean some day. And fire alarms tend to wear out their backup battery at 2AM the night before I have an important meeting at work :|

Next time we're buying a much smaller house where everything is within reach :beer

alfaspider
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by alfaspider » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:56 am

I find high ceilings are great, but only up to a point. 12 foot ceilings make the house seem spacious, but 18 foot ceilings make it seem cavernous. While the cavernous feeling may impress, it's not very homey.

One of my biggest frustrations in Texas is that the McMansion aesthetic is so ubiquitous. I don't want a "great room", a "grand entrance" or any of the trappings of a mansion. Real mansions were designed with the idea that they would be inhabited by an extended family and a staff of servants. Their design details make no sense for a nuclear family and no servants. Plus, I have nobody to impress!

rashad3000
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by rashad3000 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:00 am

I literally hate the high ceilings. I’ve had lightbulbs that went out 2 years ago and just don’t feel like trying to change them. Plus, with wood floors, it’s always so loud in the house. Everything echoes. Not a good combination with children.

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TSquare
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by TSquare » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:00 am

Absolutely agree with your high ceiling comments. My previous property had a high ceiling in the living room, and I really came to regret this architectural "feature". Aside from the disadvantages you've listed, I found heating and cooling this space to be a real pain too. Especially in the Minnesota winter months, the room was always cold. Presumably because the heat was rising up. We had a ceiling fan on a 6' drop, and we would reverse the fan direction in the wintertime, as it was suggested that it would help the warm air stay lower in the room, but it had a negligible effect in my opinion. The yearly cleaning of the fan blades was a extremely dangerous task that I don't miss anymore either.

Live and learn.
Last edited by TSquare on Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

bob60014
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by bob60014 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:01 am

The initial "wow" factor is great, then reality sets in! :oops:

KlangFool
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by KlangFool » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:04 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:47 am
We just moved from CA to TX. We ended up buying a McMansion compared to what we had before:
- 4 BR, 4BA
- 3750 sq ft (Note: For many I'm sure this will still be 'small'...)
- 0.75 acres
- 10-ft ceilings throughout
- 20-ft ceilings in hallways and 'great room'

In some ways it's great, there is space to breathe. However, it turns out those high ceilings are a major pain!
- Most light bulbs are out of reach without a very tall ladder
- Bulbs in the hallways and great room require a lift or uncommonly tall ladder (16-ft A-frame or higher)
- Fire alarms are installed in every room per latest code, even in the "crazy high" areas

Want to swap out a fan? Change one of those high bulbs? It's now $100/hr to call an electrician. I can't even imagine what painting this place is going to mean some day. And fire alarms tend to wear out their backup battery at 2AM the night before I have an important meeting at work :|

Next time we're buying a much smaller house where everything is within reach :beer
sunny_socal,

1) How much is your utility bill? Electric? Gas?

2) How far do you need to drive to get out of your subdivision in order to go anywhere?

KlangFool
Last edited by KlangFool on Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

arf30
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by arf30 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:04 am

You can get smoke/carbon monoxide detectors with sealed 10 year batteries and led bulbs that last 20+ years, that might cut down on how much time you spend on a ladder.

LarryAllen
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by LarryAllen » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:05 am

We changed all smoke detectors to the kind with the 10 year battery. They work great as far as I know.

We have a long stick thing to change the light bulbs. It was about $5 or $10 at Home Depot. That plus a regular ladder should get you to the high ceiling light bulbs. Get super long life bulbs that last a few years.

shell921
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by shell921 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:05 am

Me too ! I agree with all ! High ceilings are cavernous! Lower ones are cozy ! And "great rooms" are pretentious!

barnaclebob
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:05 am

Your title should be PSA: Don't buy a McMansion. I shudder thinking about living in one of those cookie cutter soul sucking cathedrals of urban sprawl.

My friends parents moved from a great house to a full on McMansion in his freshman year of college right on the frontier of the sprawl in our city. The only room they used was some normal height room off of the kitchen. The giant great room was never touched.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TSquare
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by TSquare » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:07 am

LarryAllen wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:05 am
Get super long life bulbs that last a few years.
Great suggestion, perhaps consider LED bulbs when it comes time to replace the burnt out ones. In my opinion, stay away from compact fluorescent bulbs, the color of light they produce is terrible.
Last edited by TSquare on Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

dbapaddy
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by dbapaddy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:08 am

Don't buy an old house either unless you're excited about replumbing , replacing everything etc. sigh...I would buy a newer house next time.....

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HueyLD
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by HueyLD » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:10 am

The high ceiling will trap all the heat in the winter. You should be prepared for high winter heating bills.

As they say, everything is BIG in Texas.

barnaclebob
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:10 am

dbapaddy wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:08 am
Don't buy an old house either unless you're excited about replumbing , replacing everything etc. sigh...I would buy a newer house next time.....
Or just buy an old house where that's already taken care of. Or budget for it.

letsgobobby
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:11 am

Anyone figure out how to change the tall smoke alarms without buying a taller ladder? We have one on a perhaps 12 foor ceiling. My 14' orchard ladder is too tall to set up; the regular 6' ladder isn't tall enough.

I have the light bulb changing stick which works well, and all our other ceilings are 8-10'. Just this one gives us trouble.

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GoldStar
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by GoldStar » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:13 am

Thanks for the PSA.
I learned my lesson early on when I went to a friend's 6000-sq-ft home in the winter and saw he had hung up heavy blankets in doorways between one side of the house and the other. ME: "What are the blankets about" - HIM: "Our heating bill is crazy and we don't use those rooms often so decided to close them down for the winter". So what was the point of him buying such a large home?
Don't buy more house than you need to (or can afford to) and consider all aspects of the home purchase in what it will take to maintain, etc. We have a 2000-sq-ft-home with a bit of extra space with a half-finished basement - although smaller than many in my income range and area it is plenty big enough for a family of 4 and allows me to save more (and enjoy slightly better vacation than some).

ThankYouJack
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by ThankYouJack » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:13 am

One nice thing about a big house is hosting parties and out of town guests. But with that said I think the biggest house I would want is 2,500 - 3,000 sqft for a family of 4 or 5.

goodlifer
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by goodlifer » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:14 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:11 am
Anyone figure out how to change the tall smoke alarms without buying a taller ladder? We have one on a perhaps 12 foor ceiling. My 14' orchard ladder is too tall to set up; the regular 6' ladder isn't tall enough.

I have the light bulb changing stick which works well, and all our other ceilings are 8-10'. Just this one gives us trouble.
Never mind, I read it wrong.

We bought a 12 ft step ladder and use it more than we thought we would. If if was up to my husband, the cob webs on the chandeliers would remain until they became Halloween decorations, but I just can't tolerate that.
Last edited by goodlifer on Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

letsgobobby
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:16 am

What stick?

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goingup
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by goingup » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:16 am

It was probably a little intoxicating to buy all that house (and land) for 1/3 what it would cost in CA. I've heard property taxes are onerous though.

I don't love high ceilings for all the reasons you list, though they do look grand!

ThankYouJack
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by ThankYouJack » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:17 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:11 am
Anyone figure out how to change the tall smoke alarms without buying a taller ladder? We have one on a perhaps 12 foor ceiling. My 14' orchard ladder is too tall to set up; the regular 6' ladder isn't tall enough.

I have the light bulb changing stick which works well, and all our other ceilings are 8-10'. Just this one gives us trouble.
I know you don't want to buy another ladder, but I have something similar to this ladder and love it - https://www.homedepot.com/p/Werner-22-f ... lsrc=aw.ds

Very versatile and the only ladder I need

Rupert
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Rupert » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:20 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:05 am
. . . one of those cookie cutter soul sucking cathedrals of urban sprawl.
Just wanted to congratulate you on that nice turn of phrase. I would modify it only slightly to be "suburban sprawl," rather than urban sprawl.

bob60014
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by bob60014 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:20 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:11 am
Anyone figure out how to change the tall smoke alarms without buying a taller ladder? We have one on a perhaps 12 foor ceiling. My 14' orchard ladder is too tall to set up; the regular 6' ladder isn't tall enough.

I have the light bulb changing stick which works well, and all our other ceilings are 8-10'. Just this one gives us trouble.
I love these, very versatile.

https://www.littlegiantladder.com/colle ... revolution

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willthrill81
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by willthrill81 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:23 am

We have found that vaulted ceilings make a space feel bigger, even if there isn't much square footage. For instance, our 3/2 home is about 1,200 sq. ft., but it has vaulted ceilings in the 'great room' (kitchen, dining, living area) and two of the bedrooms. Almost everyone that views the home estimates the square footage to be significantly more than it actually is.

For the record, I think that Americans have gotten crazy with big houses. The median square footage per person for newly built houses has roughly doubled in the U.S. since the early 1970s. On an inflation-adjusted basis, the price per sq. ft. of new construction is very close to what it was back then as well. Families that buy homes of a typical 1970s' size instead can cut their housing costs by at least a third, and considering that consumers' housing expenses are about a third (I think it's slightly more actually if you include furnishing and junk to fill up the bigger houses) of their overall spending, this move alone can easily result in a 10% reduction in one's overall spending. If that money was saved and invested in addition to the 5% average savings rate, most people would be able to retire well by their mid 60s.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

WhyNotUs
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:26 am

Signs that things require reconsideration:

Own a couple large gas hog autos or SUVs on lease or credit
Own a house larger than 3,000 sf
Own a second home that you never have time to visit
Higher income that you ever imagined but still cannot save 15%
Have a watch that costs as much as your first year's college tuition
You don't really know what your money is invested in but have someone that you are paying to deal with it
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

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GoldStar
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by GoldStar » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:27 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:16 am
What stick?
This is the one I have used for really high outdoor halogens:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008KWRCIS/

These types of poles are also used by maintenance folks at a lot of schools and businesses.

Perhaps the OP doesn't know about these OR perhaps the lightbulbs are enclosed in a fixture whereby the bulb can't be reached.

mouses
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by mouses » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:29 am

goodlifer wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:14 am

We bought a 12 ft step ladder and use it more than we thought we would. If if was up to my husband, the cob webs on the chandeliers would remain until they became Halloween decorations, but I just can't tolerate that.
That was my thought when I first saw a McMansion, who's going to dust up there?

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GoldStar
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by GoldStar » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:30 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:47 am
We just moved from CA to TX. We ended up buying a McMansion compared to what we had before:
- 4 BR, 4BA
- 3750 sq ft (Note: For many I'm sure this will still be 'small'...)
- 0.75 acres
- 10-ft ceilings throughout
- 20-ft ceilings in hallways and 'great room'

In some ways it's great, there is space to breathe. However, it turns out those high ceilings are a major pain!
- Most light bulbs are out of reach without a very tall ladder
- Bulbs in the hallways and great room require a lift or uncommonly tall ladder (16-ft A-frame or higher)
- Fire alarms are installed in every room per latest code, even in the "crazy high" areas

Want to swap out a fan? Change one of those high bulbs? It's now $100/hr to call an electrician. I can't even imagine what painting this place is going to mean some day. And fire alarms tend to wear out their backup battery at 2AM the night before I have an important meeting at work :|

Next time we're buying a much smaller house where everything is within reach :beer
I haven't used this for fire alarms but they claim it will work (Works great for my outdoor halogens - no high ceilings inside for me but that's what it is made for):
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008KWRCIS/

mouses
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by mouses » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:37 am

TSquare wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:07 am
LarryAllen wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:05 am
Get super long life bulbs that last a few years.
Great suggestion, perhaps consider LED bulbs when it comes time to replace the burnt out ones. In my opinion, stay away from compact fluorescent bulbs, the color of light they produce is terrible.
I like my 2700 CFLs. Perhaps you have seen ones in the wrong part of the spectrum.

Texanbybirth
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Texanbybirth » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:38 am

willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:23 am
We have found that vaulted ceilings make a space feel bigger, even if there isn't much square footage. For instance, our 3/2 home is about 1,200 sq. ft., but it has vaulted ceilings in the 'great room' (kitchen, dining, living area) and two of the bedrooms. Almost everyone that views the home estimates the square footage to be significantly more than it actually is.

For the record, I think that Americans have gotten crazy with big houses. The median square footage per person for newly built houses has roughly doubled in the U.S. since the early 1970s. On an inflation-adjusted basis, the price per sq. ft. of new construction is very close to what it was back then as well. Families that buy homes of a typical 1970s' size instead can cut their housing costs by at least a third, and considering that consumers' housing expenses are about a third (I think it's slightly more actually if you include furnishing and junk to fill up the bigger houses) of their overall spending, this move alone can easily result in a 10% reduction in one's overall spending. If that money was saved and invested in addition to the 5% average savings rate, most people would be able to retire well by their mid 60s.
My wife and I used to live (rent an apartment) in a neighborhood with many beautiful mansions (not McMansions, but unique and architecturally very beautiful houses) when our first was born. As we'd stroll the neighborhood we imagined owning one of these stunning houses. Although we'd like to have enough children to somehow justify having such a large house, I think what really attracted us about the houses was the illusion of (if not real) wealth they portrayed. What I mean is that I think at the time we would have wanted to be rich enough to afford such a house, whether or not we actually bought one.

Of course, now I'm not even sure I'd want to be that rich (I certainly don't want to buy the mansions anymore), but it is nice to be able to save for retirement and the kids' college while we pay the mortgage. Our 2500 sq ft home has several rooms with elevated ceilings, though I can change all the bulbs on the top of a regular 6ft ladder, and we both think it's lovely.

LarryAllen
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by LarryAllen » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:38 am


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TSquare
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by TSquare » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:52 am

mouses wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:37 am
TSquare wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:07 am
LarryAllen wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:05 am
Get super long life bulbs that last a few years.
Great suggestion, perhaps consider LED bulbs when it comes time to replace the burnt out ones. In my opinion, stay away from compact fluorescent bulbs, the color of light they produce is terrible.
I like my 2700 CFLs. Perhaps you have seen ones in the wrong part of the spectrum.
Absolutely. I've not seen every single CFL bulb on the market. I would humbly suggest to anyone replacing lights in their home to just make sure the color temperature of the replacement bulb(s) matches the color temperature of existing bulbs in the room. Nothing sticks out more than a "daylight" bulb mixed in with a bunch of "soft white" bulbs, and visa versa.

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sunny_socal
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:53 am

KlangFool wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:04 am
sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:47 am
We just moved from CA to TX. We ended up buying a McMansion compared to what we had before:
- 4 BR, 4BA
- 3750 sq ft (Note: For many I'm sure this will still be 'small'...)
- 0.75 acres
- 10-ft ceilings throughout
- 20-ft ceilings in hallways and 'great room'

In some ways it's great, there is space to breathe. However, it turns out those high ceilings are a major pain!
- Most light bulbs are out of reach without a very tall ladder
- Bulbs in the hallways and great room require a lift or uncommonly tall ladder (16-ft A-frame or higher)
- Fire alarms are installed in every room per latest code, even in the "crazy high" areas

Want to swap out a fan? Change one of those high bulbs? It's now $100/hr to call an electrician. I can't even imagine what painting this place is going to mean some day. And fire alarms tend to wear out their backup battery at 2AM the night before I have an important meeting at work :|

Next time we're buying a much smaller house where everything is within reach :beer
sunny_socal,

1) How much is your utility bill? Electric? Gas?

2) How far do you need to drive to get out of your subdivision in order to go anywhere?

KlangFool
1. Electric bill last month $135. Gas $35. (Gas for all heating & cooking) Not bad IMO.
2. About a minute. And less then 5 minutes to a town with a Home Depot and food stores. Less than 10 minutes to school.

beginner
Posts: 27
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Location: TX

Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by beginner » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:57 am

I'm in TX also living in a mcmansion (4br, 3.5 bath, 3700 sq ft). Like most things in life, it is a cost/benefit analysis. The benefits of schools, location to "stuff", space when family visits, space for 2 kids (playroom), neighborhood pool, etc. outweigh the cost of high ceilings and other pains of a mcmansion in my situation. We have can lights with LED all throughout house and I have not had to change a bulb in 1 year. Funny you mention, I had to hunt down a fire alarm with low battery at 2am last week! I bought a 22ft gorilla adjustable ladder that gets almost anywhere I need it. I also see other negatives such as the cost to my wallet and environment of maintaining a lawn.

Some data:
Ours is brand new and sept '17 to sept '17 average:
energy: 77/month
gas : 67/month
water 135/month

mortgage + taxes is about 3200/month . At this price I can max retirement accounts, have fully funded emergency fund, paid off cars, accelerated pay on my students loans. Luckily I can fit the price of the big house in my budget.

KlangFool
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by KlangFool » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:53 am
KlangFool wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:04 am
sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:47 am
We just moved from CA to TX. We ended up buying a McMansion compared to what we had before:
- 4 BR, 4BA
- 3750 sq ft (Note: For many I'm sure this will still be 'small'...)
- 0.75 acres
- 10-ft ceilings throughout
- 20-ft ceilings in hallways and 'great room'

In some ways it's great, there is space to breathe. However, it turns out those high ceilings are a major pain!
- Most light bulbs are out of reach without a very tall ladder
- Bulbs in the hallways and great room require a lift or uncommonly tall ladder (16-ft A-frame or higher)
- Fire alarms are installed in every room per latest code, even in the "crazy high" areas

Want to swap out a fan? Change one of those high bulbs? It's now $100/hr to call an electrician. I can't even imagine what painting this place is going to mean some day. And fire alarms tend to wear out their backup battery at 2AM the night before I have an important meeting at work :|

Next time we're buying a much smaller house where everything is within reach :beer
sunny_socal,

1) How much is your utility bill? Electric? Gas?

2) How far do you need to drive to get out of your subdivision in order to go anywhere?

KlangFool
1. Electric bill last month $135. Gas $35. (Gas for all heating & cooking) Not bad IMO.
2. About a minute. And less then 5 minutes to a town with a Home Depot and food stores. Less than 10 minutes to school.
sunny_socal,

1) The utility bill is not bad.

2) I guess you would not be cycling or walking anywhere.

KlangFool

LiterallyIronic
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by LiterallyIronic » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:19 am

On the flip side, I wish ours was bigger. 1274 square feet. We make it work, but it would be nice to have 1500 to 2000 square feet so we'd have more room to put all this junk that we somehow accumulated.

researcher
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by researcher » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:24 am

beginner wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:57 am
Ours is brand new and sept '17 to sept '17 average:
energy: 77/month
gas : 67/month
water 135/month
I assume you run the A/C during the summer.
If so, I can't fathom how you can cool a 3700 sq ft house with 20+ foot ceilings for ~$77/mo.

How many kWh of electric do you use in the summer? Electric costs in TX must be abnormally low.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:25 am

beginner wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:57 am
I'm in TX also living in a mcmansion (4br, 3.5 bath, 3700 sq ft). Like most things in life, it is a cost/benefit analysis. The benefits of schools, location to "stuff", space when family visits, space for 2 kids (playroom), neighborhood pool, etc. outweigh the cost of high ceilings and other pains of a mcmansion in my situation. We have can lights with LED all throughout house and I have not had to change a bulb in 1 year. Funny you mention, I had to hunt down a fire alarm with low battery at 2am last week! I bought a 22ft gorilla adjustable ladder that gets almost anywhere I need it. I also see other negatives such as the cost to my wallet and environment of maintaining a lawn.

Some data:
Ours is brand new and sept '17 to sept '17 average:
energy: 77/month
gas : 67/month
water 135/month

mortgage + taxes is about 3200/month . At this price I can max retirement accounts, have fully funded emergency fund, paid off cars, accelerated pay on my students loans. Luckily I can fit the price of the big house in my budget.
How much for maid service?

michaeljc70
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:30 am

I thought, as others have mentioned, this was going to be about heating bills, electric bills, property taxes, cleaning, maintenance, etc. LED light bulbs seem like they would mitigate this problem. How often do you change a fan? High ceilings and a house being "big" are two different things to me.

bh7785
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by bh7785 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:34 am

I wish you made this PSA a year ago before I purchased my oversized house.

Big Dog
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Big Dog » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:38 am

I know you don't want to buy another ladder, but I have something similar to this ladder and love it -
Ditto. First item I bought for our SoCal house that has cathedral ceilings. (No McMansion, typical 3BR tract home on postage-stamp lot.)

dumbmoney
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by dumbmoney » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:39 am

Get a couple floor lamps for your living room and avoid heavy usage of the hard to change lights.
I am pleased to report that the invisible forces of destruction have been unmasked, marking a turning point chapter when the fraudulent and speculative winds are cast into the inferno of extinction.

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praxis
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by praxis » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:45 am

http://www.notsobighouse.com/

A Mpls. architect, Sarah Susanka, has explored what makes a place feel like home.

I enjoyed the books and her website. I used some ideas building our cabin.
Last edited by praxis on Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

open_circuit
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by open_circuit » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:46 am

Check out your heating and AC bills with those high ceilings, too.

I have been always baffled why so many Texas homes are built with such high ceiling and large windows. The sun is the enemy most of the year, there.

tenkuky
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by tenkuky » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:47 am

dbapaddy wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:08 am
Don't buy an old house either unless you're excited about replumbing , replacing everything etc. sigh...I would buy a newer house next time.....
I'd venture to guess that newer construction is less durable than older, though I believe there is tipping point when construction quality deteriorated.
For example, is there any evidence to suggest homes built before 1950 are more durable than those from 1980s?
Older houses have "stood the test of time" so to speak.
Speaking from some experience, n=1.

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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by wrongfunds » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:50 am

I liked your humble brag :-)

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jharkin
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by jharkin » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:54 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:05 am
Your title should be PSA: Don't buy a McMansion. I shudder thinking about living in one of those cookie cutter soul sucking cathedrals of urban sprawl.

My friends parents moved from a great house to a full on McMansion in his freshman year of college right on the frontier of the sprawl in our city. The only room they used was some normal height room off of the kitchen. The giant great room was never touched.
+1... And wait till they see the bills to heat and cool that place... or find out that those huge rooms feel really cold in the winter because all the hot air rises up to that high ceiling. Or gets the bill $$$$$$ when the roof comes due for replacement (mcmansions always seem to have unnecessarily complex roof lines)

All of my friends with those monstrous houses... we visit and the first couple things I notice are:
#1 - all the secondary rooms that are empty or very sparsely furnished because they never get used
#2 - Often the neighbors houses in those neighborhoods are in disrepair when you look close - peeling paint, cracked walkways, overgrown vegetation outside. I imagine that over time the burden of maintenance gets overwhelming.

I will admit my cozy little 1400sq feels a bit cramped sometimes, but its a nice manageable size to keep up with. I do want more space but I would be perfectly happy in 2000sq. that would be just right :)

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jharkin
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by jharkin » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:59 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:10 am
dbapaddy wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:08 am
Don't buy an old house either unless you're excited about replumbing , replacing everything etc. sigh...I would buy a newer house next time.....
Or just buy an old house where that's already taken care of. Or budget for it.
Or don't get trapped into false idea that Old = Bad.

My house is over 200 years old. I have more problems with badly done renovations from the 1980s than I do with any of the original structure from the 18th century. The house is built like a fortress and will still be standing long after those McMansions are gone. I get complements on the charm all the time from folks sick of their dreary white on white modern caves.

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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by JackoC » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:00 am

beginner wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:57 am
I'm in TX also living in a mcmansion (4br, 3.5 bath, 3700 sq ft). Like most things in life, it is a cost/benefit analysis. The benefits of schools, location to "stuff", space when family visits, space for 2 kids (playroom), neighborhood pool, etc. outweigh the cost of high ceilings and other pains of a mcmansion in my situation. We have can lights with LED all throughout house and I have not had to change a bulb in 1 year. Funny you mention, I had to hunt down a fire alarm with low battery at 2am last week!
I bought a CO detector recently to replace an expired one and this new one has a back up battery rated for the life of the detector. I don't know if they have smoke detectors like that yet, ours are a relatively new set and they didn't have them then. At least you can pluck the battery right out of our current ones. The previous ones you had to unscrew the unit from the ceiling and it was hard to get the interrupted threads to seat properly when you put it back...inevitably it seemed in the wee hours when half asleep. :happy I also agree light bulb changing is becoming a virtual non-issue as we are replacing CLF's as they burn out with LED's.

On costs that's obviously going to depend a lot of rates. Your water bills are high compared to NJ, electricity bill astonishing low for a big house. Electricity here is ~$0.17/kwh v I believe around $0.11 in TX but even so that's remarkable.

Anyway we have a relatively small (mid 2,000's sqft) 117 yr old house with pretty high ceilings, around 12' on the second and third of the 4 floors. I wouldn't want to have to live in strictly regular height ceilings now, the downstairs TV room feels cramped with normal height. 18' I don't see much value in but there's no accounting for taste. And if enough people like something, then that's generally what you are going to see at least in the market for new houses. If we lived in TX we might have a (relatively moderate size) McMansion, though I know there's *some* variety in home types there also. In NJ there's more variety though, very old stone row houses like ours in urban centers, older peak roof houses in the burbs, general modern standard newer peak roof houses including McMansions, super expensive new homes custom built to actually high standards, etc. We preferred the 'brownstone' given our choices and very much love it after 20+ years. It's better to have to some home repair and improvement skills in a house as old as ours, but the basic quality means it's not totally out of control stuff going wrong, and the plumbing and wiring is 'only' around 30 years old.
Last edited by JackoC on Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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jharkin
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by jharkin » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:02 am

GoldStar wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:13 am
Thanks for the PSA.
I learned my lesson early on when I went to a friend's 6000-sq-ft home in the winter and saw he had hung up heavy blankets in doorways between one side of the house and the other. ME: "What are the blankets about" - HIM: "Our heating bill is crazy and we don't use those rooms often so decided to close them down for the winter".
Blankets? :confused Dont those doorways have... you know... doors that can be closed?

(rhetorical question meant to point out that "open concept" isn't always what its cracked up to be and previous generations may have been onto something with "rooms" and "doors")

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