What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

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Joe Nathan
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What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Joe Nathan »

We have property with a walkout site. Kids will be 10, 7, 7 and 1 when this goes down. We keep going back and fourth on a ranch or 2 story, just deciding what people with multiple kids have found to work. The thought of having a upstairs when they are gone in 8-10 years feels sort of annoying, along with the safety/fire issues. Also probably unrealistic to have them all on the main floor in a ranch short of being huge which we are avoiding, so thanks for any input.
livesoft
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by livesoft »

I come from a big family. We lived in 1-, 2-, and 3-story homes. As a kid, I would want to be on a different floor than my parents.

As a parent, I would want to be on a different floor than my children. Indeed, our 2-story has master bedroom on ground floor and 3 bedrooms upstairs.

The advantage of a stairs is that you have a built-in StairMaster if you choose to use it. Put two 20-lb or heavier dumbbells at the bottom of the stairs by the kitchen. Then whenever you use the microwave, just pick up those dumbbells (one in each hand) and walk up and down the stairs until the timer goes off.
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Sandtrap
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Sandtrap »

1. Children grow up 3 in a tiny room when that was what the parents could afford. And, made memories (good and bad).
2. Children also grow up on massive estates. And, made memories (good and bad).
3. And, everything in between.

1. When the kids are moved away, the home, no matter the size, will be filled with memories. And, they can revisit, even with grandchildren, and share the room they grew up in, etc.

2. And, later, if you choose to downsize, keep an extra room to display all the family photos and things from the children. Call it a memory room where everyone can sit and reminisce.

3. Houses become "homes" regardless of size, and change to fit the evolving needs of you and your growing or shrinking family.

4. When the children are gone, their rooms can also become: gym room, hobby room, sewing room, his office, her office, guest room, etc. (which is great!!!)

Good luck.
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stemikger
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by stemikger »

My wife is one of four (all close in age). She always said the best times of her life was when the lived in a small Brooklyn Apartment. She doesn't have the same memories when they moved to a big home. She still misses that tiny apartment.

The size of the home is not what matters to kids, it's how functional or dysfunctional the home is and if love is the major factor in said home, so do what works for your income and you will have less stress.
Last edited by stemikger on Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Rupert
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Rupert »

I would want a two-story with the master suite and one other bedroom on the ground floor and the remaining bedrooms upstairs. I would want that 1-year-old on the same floor with me (hence the other bedroom down there) and the older kids upstairs. When the 1-year-old is older (perhaps when the 10-year-old has left for college), he/she also moves upstairs and the downstairs room becomes a combo guest room/office (or exercise room/den, etc.). Put in separate HVAC units for each floor. When the kids are gone, you can basically seal off the top floor and live as if you had a one-story home.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by vineviz »

Joe Nathan wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:25 pm We have property with a walkout site. Kids will be 10, 7, 7 and 1 when this goes down. We keep going back and fourth on a ranch or 2 story, just deciding what people with multiple kids have found to work. The thought of having a upstairs when they are gone in 8-10 years feels sort of annoying, along with the safety/fire issues. Also probably unrealistic to have them all on the main floor in a ranch short of being huge which we are avoiding, so thanks for any input.
My preference would be to build the two-story house.

I enjoyed our 1600 square foot single-story house just fine when my first two kids were very young, but having some space to spread out the noise and mess with 3 or 4 kids seems undoubtedly superior.

I also can't imagine wanting to occupy the same size house when all three of my children are grown as we do now, so I fully expect we'll downsize when we retire. My advice is to build the house that suits you best for the next 15 or 20 years, and prepare yourself emotionally to reevaluate when all four of your children are out of the nest.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Sandtrap »

stemikger wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:50 pm My wife is one of four (all close in age). She always said the best times of her life was when the lived in a small Brooklyn Apartment. She doesn't have the same memories when they moved to a big home. She still misses that tiny apartment.

The size of the home is not what matters to kids, it's how functional or dysfunctional the home is and if love is the major factor in said home, so do what works for your income and you will have less stress.
+1
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Joe Nathan
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Joe Nathan »

Yeah like I said not really talking size, more a matter of how a house is setup in terms of where bedrooms are, my only reference to size is that a ranch with over 3 main floor bedrooms ends up a rather big footprint and increases price a fair amount.
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Watty
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Watty »

When I was a kid family had three boys that were only five years apart. Until I was in grade school we lived in a 3 bedroom house and all three of our beds were in one bedroom with bunk beds, and the other bedroom was our study and play area.

We only had one kid and we moved when he was in middle school. We intentionally bought a smaller house since we knew that he would only be around for a few years. We found that having a smaller house worked well during the teenage years since the enforced closeness helped keep the lines of communications open.
stemikger wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:50 pm The size of the home is not what matters to kids, it's how functional or dysfunctional the home are and if love is the major factor in said home, so do what works for your income and you will have less stress.
+1

Within reason you will get used to whatever you end up with and the kids will not really know anything else so it will seem normal to them.

Even if you don't plan on it you may still be in that house when you are retired and less mobile.

I would go with the ranch just for that and make sure that it is handicap friendly with simple things like having the width of bathroom doors that are wide enough for a wheelchair. Even if you are not there when you are elderly I have known several people that had to use a wheelchair temporarily after something like a car accident. If you go with a two story house make sure that you have a full bathroom downstairs.
Joe Nathan wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:25 pm We have property with a walkout site.
It sounds like there will be a basement for the kids to play and study in. If so you really don't need large bedrooms for the kids.

Four 10x10 bedrooms(with closets) is only 400 sq ft so the house would not have to be huge to accommodate that. In most areas there is not a lot of demand for five bedroom houses so once the kids are gone that could be a pretty simple remodel to convert the four small bedrooms into two large bedrooms. One of the keys is that when the house is designed is to make sure that some of the interior walls between the bedrooms are not load bearing walls and they don't have things like plumbing in the wall. Basically design a three bedroom house with large bedrooms that you can subdivide with easily removable walls.

It is not a necessity but with four kids I would want a laundry room on the same level as the bedrooms and that would be easier with a ranch house.
Simple Simon
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Simple Simon »

My view, the most important factor is not what but where. Once you have "enough" space, then you can get on with living life. But if this involves shuttling your kids 10 miles into town 10 times over a weekend, then your house is in the wrong place.

About layout - ma and pa need a private place out of earshot to play doctors and nurses , if you take my meaning. That's all.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by delamer »

If you are planning to stay in the house once the kids are out, then build a 2-story with a space that can serve as a bedroom on the 1st floor.

A 1st floor study — with a full bath nearby — would work, as long as you put in a closet (now or later). You could forgo a powder room and make it a full bath (or one with a shower), which would be handy to have with 4 kids anyway. But make sure you have laundry facilities too.
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Joe Nathan
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Joe Nathan »

Just some acreage 3 minutes from town, about 2.5 miles to high school and elementary, but ya I hear ya!
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ICMoney
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by ICMoney »

We have more kids than you and I happen to prefer ranch style homes. Our kids share two bedrooms for now, and we struggled to find newer homes with big enough bedrooms to accommodate sharing without bunk beds (our kids don't like them). One thing I liked about our last ranch house was that the heating units were in the basement right below the bedrooms which meant it kept our bedrooms warmer in the winter. In our current two story (which I don't like, not a fan of stairs especially with younger kids), the top floor with the bedrooms doesn't heat/cool the way I would like despite having separate HVAC. The master in particular always seems to be the opposite temperature of what I would like it to be.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by sailaway »

Ideal empty nester set up (besides downsizing) is two story with master on the main. For family living, that master can be a master or a guest suite or the aforementioned study, or even set up to serve as a family room.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by pdavi21 »

For teens, 4 bedroom, master downstairs (or 1 level), 2.5 bathroom.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by LuckBeALady »

I would prefer to live in a cottage at least a few hundred yards away.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Big FRANK »

2 story houses cost less to build than 1 story. Also cost less to heat or cool.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by DarthSage »

At your kids' ages, I would want to be closer to them during the night. That changes as they get older, but we still get "night visitors", and our youngest will be 13 this month. While we all freak out and think about a house fire, the fact is, you're much more likely to encounter a midnight barfer--many times--throughout your parenting years.

We have 4 kids, and have always had houses with stairs. Only one had a usable basement. 2 had all bedrooms upstairs, one had a downstairs master (that we used as an office because we had very young children), and our current house has the entire second floor as a master. This house also has a "second master"--smaller, but with an ensuite bathroom--on the first floor, so we could move down in the future if needed. This house was built in the 70's--what was done, apparently, was it was originally a ranch, but then the second floor was added later. You could consider something like this, maybe rough out the second floor, but only build a suite up there when the kids are older.

I agree with PPs about wide bathroom doors (we have oddly narrow ones--on our list to fix) and easy laundry access. The laundry would probably be one of my top priorities with 4 kids, especially since our last house had 2 stories and a basement laundry--schlep, schlep, schlep! If you go for a ranch house, you could consider layouts with the master BR separate from the kids' BRs.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by corysold »

I'd vote for a two story. We have 6 kids with 5 bedrooms upstairs. 3 in one, and 3 with their own. Usually, at least 1 bedroom is empty every night, the kids seem to like to sleep on each other's floors for whatever reason.

The big thing I'd look at is the bathroom set up. With 3 kids about the same age, I'd be sure to have a nice sized second bathroom upstairs that can accommodate all the kids using it at night for brushing teeth, getting ready for bed etc. Our second bathroom is really small and not functional for more than 1-2 at a time with the layout. It's really annoying to have 6-7 people trying to use our master bathroom to get ready for bed, take baths, brush teeth, etc.

Perhaps a nice sized Jack and Jill, double vanity, wide open doorways to the tub. Maybe even think about a 3rd bath in one room. Bedroom location is going to personal preference, but not having enough bathroom space might turn into a issue down the road.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by katrid11 »

With 4 kids - 3 over 7, I would do a 2 story. 4 bed 2 bath upstairs and master suite + small bed on the 1st floor. 3 older kids upstairs and youngest downstairs. Later on the small bed becomes an office/library or other use. 2 bath upstairs b/c you will have 3 teens competing for space at 1 time.

I'd also want the older kids "above me" so i can hear when they sneak out/back in...

With a 2 zone heat/air, you can control the heat/air upstairs when it is more of an empty nest.

With 4 kids, I would be looking at a good sized laundry room, good mud room space, and a hangout area.
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Joe Nathan
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Joe Nathan »

Thanks for the replies, everytime one of us sorta caved for the other, we switch positions haha. I've always liked the thought of a ranch, but hear both sides. We currently live in a 2 story and I can count the number of minutes on my fingers that we spend in a day up there between me and the kids. This in turn also feels much more of a hassle to just stop in and tidy up their room or make sure that they did what I asked of them in there. So the beat goes on...
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by leeks »

Reconfigurable.

If I were building from scratch, I'd do a two-story with first-floor master (with an adjoining small office that could be nursery for the toddler until stairs are not an issue) and older kids bedrooms on second floor (kids can share rooms, maybe 2 bedrooms adjoining an open play/study area), and a bathroom upstairs.

I would build in the potential to easily close off the second floor and convert to a rental apartment for income or for an adult child. That would mean ability to have a private entrance and to put a kitchen upstairs with minimal renovation. Even if your current zoning doesn't allow duplexes, zoning could change by the time your children are adults and there is increasing flexibility around "accessory apartments".

I would also have an accessible first-floor guest bedroom (with bath) that could accommodation an elderly relative who needed to live with you (or a live-in caregiver for yourselves or a live-in au pair for the kids). Maybe that is even a separate cottage or suite attached to a garage/workshop, etc. If you make it possible to lock doors between it and main house, it would offer the option for an air-bnb-style rental anytime. Or it can be play space/office/library/hobby/exercise/workshop area now but would offer other options down the line.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Luke Duke »

livesoft wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:38 pm As a parent, I would want to be on a different floor than my children. Indeed, our 2-story has master bedroom on ground floor and 3 bedrooms upstairs.
My thoughts as well. I have a one story with three kids. I often wish that I had a two story.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by EnjoyIt »

One of my friends who can clearly afford more is raising their 4 kids in a 3 bedroom house. That is how he grew up and his spouse grew up, both with fond and not so fond memories. This is how their kids will grow up as well.

Just one warning. People tend to think their kids need all this stuff and space to be happy which is very far from the truth. What kids need is a family that loves them and is around for them. You don't need 5,000square feet of space for happy well adjusted kids. I would venture that too big is worse than too small because it will delay your financial security forcing you to work more and spend less time with the family as well as require more upkeep once again taking you away from your family.

Go with what you can comfortably afford and pay off in 15-20 years while still saving for retirement. Don't over spend on your house just because you maybe can afford to as it will become a life sentence at work as opposed to a place where you can be happy.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by stoptothink »

EnjoyIt wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:47 pm One of my friends who can clearly afford more is raising their 4 kids in a 3 bedroom house. That is how he grew up and his spouse grew up, both with fond and not so fond memories. This is how their kids will grow up as well.

Just one warning. People tend to think their kids need all this stuff and space to be happy which is very far from the truth. What kids need is a family that loves them and is around for them. You don't need 5,000square feet of space for happy well adjusted kids. I would venture that too big is worse than too small because it will delay your financial security forcing you to work more and spend less time with the family as well as require more upkeep once again taking you away from your family.

Go with what you can comfortably afford and pay off in 15-20 years while still saving for retirement. Don't over spend on your house just because you maybe can afford to as it will become a life sentence at work as opposed to a place where you can be happy.
We're a 4-person family in 1500sq. ft 3brd/2.5bt home. If you could actually find a 2bdr home that might have been preferable for us (in hindsight), at least in our current stage of life. Our children, almost (in the next 2 months) 7 and 4, refuse to sleep in separate bedrooms and we're not certain when that will end. Over the past 3yrs, that extra bedroom has been lived in by my in-laws (off-and-on, for a total of about 1yr), my brother-in-law, and my sister might be moving in soon. Ultimately, my in-laws intend to move in permanently in a few years. Although I am pretty easy-going when it comes to this, if I am being honest, I would prefer not to have that extra room so the relatives didn't have the option of mooching off us. We can afford a lot more, the home is worth ~1.1x HHI, but what would be the point? FWIW, wife and I both grew up in homes smaller than ours and with much larger families.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Texanbybirth »

I'd probably go with 4/5 bedrooms, and 3 full bathrooms, in a two-story house. I think you can make 2500 sq ft work well in 2 stories. As others have pointed out, it's not necessarily the size of the house but the layout that matters.

It's the 1-year old that throws the wrench in all this, as I'm sure your wife (and you) want the baby on the same floor as mom and dad. But that will only be a temporary situation until they're a little older and can move into one of the 3 bedrooms upstairs. I can see 1 (or 2 with the second being converted into an office after baby moves out) bedrooms downstairs with 2 full baths, and 3 bedrooms upstairs with a full-size bathroom and a nice loft. As the other poster pointed out, counterspace for the older 3 in the bathroom upstairs will be important.

This is almost the exact way it worked out with my family growing up, and it was a great layout. Now our kiddos (and their cousins) are re-taking over the upstairs after it was regrettably under-utilized for a while when we kids moved out.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by fourkids »

to each his own, but
I've always preferred a family house with the bedrooms on the 2nd floor. It gives me the illusion of separating our crazy living area from our peaceful resting area. We do have a rule of no electronics on 2nd floor (cells, computers, tvs (except a small one in our bedroom))
Also, it keeps the messy bathrooms away from guests, and it keeps kids from bringing food into their bedrooms.

I really intend to sell the house and downsize after all the kids go to college, so I'm not concerned on having a 1st floor master bedroom.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by gmc4h232 »

LuckBeALady wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:09 pm I would prefer to live in a cottage at least a few hundred yards away.
+1

This or a hotel room. Proximity is not important.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by delamer »

stoptothink wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:58 pm
EnjoyIt wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:47 pm One of my friends who can clearly afford more is raising their 4 kids in a 3 bedroom house. That is how he grew up and his spouse grew up, both with fond and not so fond memories. This is how their kids will grow up as well.

Just one warning. People tend to think their kids need all this stuff and space to be happy which is very far from the truth. What kids need is a family that loves them and is around for them. You don't need 5,000square feet of space for happy well adjusted kids. I would venture that too big is worse than too small because it will delay your financial security forcing you to work more and spend less time with the family as well as require more upkeep once again taking you away from your family.

Go with what you can comfortably afford and pay off in 15-20 years while still saving for retirement. Don't over spend on your house just because you maybe can afford to as it will become a life sentence at work as opposed to a place where you can be happy.
We're a 4-person family in 1500sq. ft 3brd/2.5bt home. If you could actually find a 2bdr home that might have been preferable for us (in hindsight), at least in our current stage of life. Our children, almost (in the next 2 months) 7 and 4, refuse to sleep in separate bedrooms and we're not certain when that will end. Over the past 3yrs, that extra bedroom has been lived in by my in-laws (off-and-on, for a total of about 1yr), my brother-in-law, and my sister might be moving in soon. Ultimately, my in-laws intend to move in permanently in a few years. Although I am pretty easy-going when it comes to this, if I am being honest, I would prefer not to have that extra room so the relatives didn't have the option of mooching off us. We can afford a lot more, the home is worth ~1.1x HHI, but what would be the point? FWIW, wife and I both grew up in homes smaller than ours and with much larger families.
Once your older child gets to the pre-teen stage (if not before), s/he will no longer want to sleep in the same room as her/his younger sibling if there is another room available.

I’d bet serious money on it.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by RobLyons »

2 story with basement until I'm too elderly to walk up/down stairs (80s?)
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Trism »

I would find something with a soundproof, padded room.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by NotYourAverageJones »

gmc4h232 wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:35 pm
LuckBeALady wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:09 pm I would prefer to live in a cottage at least a few hundred yards away.
+1

This or a hotel room. Proximity is not important.
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 sign me up for that deal! I spent a week with a friend who has 3 yr old twins. I can't ever get that week of my life back! But 4 kids you say?? I'd be looking for a home complete with a panic room, stocked with wine and chocolate!
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by stoptothink »

delamer wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:11 pm
stoptothink wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:58 pm
EnjoyIt wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:47 pm One of my friends who can clearly afford more is raising their 4 kids in a 3 bedroom house. That is how he grew up and his spouse grew up, both with fond and not so fond memories. This is how their kids will grow up as well.

Just one warning. People tend to think their kids need all this stuff and space to be happy which is very far from the truth. What kids need is a family that loves them and is around for them. You don't need 5,000square feet of space for happy well adjusted kids. I would venture that too big is worse than too small because it will delay your financial security forcing you to work more and spend less time with the family as well as require more upkeep once again taking you away from your family.

Go with what you can comfortably afford and pay off in 15-20 years while still saving for retirement. Don't over spend on your house just because you maybe can afford to as it will become a life sentence at work as opposed to a place where you can be happy.
We're a 4-person family in 1500sq. ft 3brd/2.5bt home. If you could actually find a 2bdr home that might have been preferable for us (in hindsight), at least in our current stage of life. Our children, almost (in the next 2 months) 7 and 4, refuse to sleep in separate bedrooms and we're not certain when that will end. Over the past 3yrs, that extra bedroom has been lived in by my in-laws (off-and-on, for a total of about 1yr), my brother-in-law, and my sister might be moving in soon. Ultimately, my in-laws intend to move in permanently in a few years. Although I am pretty easy-going when it comes to this, if I am being honest, I would prefer not to have that extra room so the relatives didn't have the option of mooching off us. We can afford a lot more, the home is worth ~1.1x HHI, but what would be the point? FWIW, wife and I both grew up in homes smaller than ours and with much larger families.
Once your older child gets to the pre-teen stage (if not before), s/he will no longer want to sleep in the same room as her/his younger sibling if there is another room available.

I’d bet serious money on it.
I grew up sharing a room with 4 siblings until I moved out, what my child wants has little to do with our home-buying choices. That being said, yes I am sure she is going to prefer having her own room in the next 5-6yrs, but for the time being, I really don't like having that extra room because we have some serious moochers on both sides of the family.
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Joe Nathan
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Walkout Ranch or 2 story with finished basement with kids?

Post by Joe Nathan »

[Thread merged into here, see below. --admin LadyGeek]

We have a 9 year old boy and boy girl 6 year old twins, along with our last child due in August (unknown sex). We are having a hard time deciding what we want to build going forward for housing. I think regardless of a ranch or a house with an upstairs, we are wanting a main floor master along with a flex room for when new child is little, along with having some aging parents as guests, or using as a den or room for kids to use for projects, etc. That being said, with a ranch, the other 3 kids rooms would be in the walkout basement all clustered together with plenty of windows and higher basement ceilings, or alternatively, having 3 bedrooms upstairs, and having a extra bedroom in finished basement. I have been pro ranch as by the time the house is done sometime next summer, our children will be there full time for less than 10 years, leaving the upstairs empty (this has become very common layout here, saw many parade homes even in the million plus range that had this setup). I guess dollar for dollar, sorta feel like I can stretch the ranch a little bigger in some areas like pantry/mudroom/master closet and have a nice main floor by cutting out the upstairs, where the upstairs cost sorta keeps the main floor not quite as roomy, but still keep the above ground square footage a bit less in total. Any input from parents out there? Basically deciding between 1900 sqft main floor with about 800 sqft 3 beds up vs a 2300 sq ft ranch with the main floor master and flex and 3 beds in basement along with the rest of basement finished with first floor feel.
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Re: Walkout Ranch or 2 story with finished basement with kids?

Post by randomguy »

10 years is a long time and it sounds like the one kid will be there 17. Every basement I have been in still feels like a basement no matter how nice. Even 9’ ceilings and a wall of glass one side isn’t enough. But my bigger concern is noise. You tend to hear the people above you. Normally you ignore it but when trying sleep, it can be annoying. YMMV.
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Joe Nathan
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Re: Walkout Ranch or 2 story with finished basement with kids?

Post by Joe Nathan »

Ya I hear ya, think cheaper to do the ranch with a better main floor with expense of kids rooms as you describe, not sure if south facing would feel any better.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by LadyGeek »

Joe Nathan - In order to give appropriate advice, it's best to keep all the information in one spot. I merged your update back into the original thread.
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prncrakim
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by prncrakim »

We built a house six years ago. At the time my kids were 1, 3, & 5. Two story colonial with 4 bedrooms upstairs. At the time we wanted to be near the kids. Less important now that they are older but we are still young (30's) and the house was not built with the intention to live there forever. When we are empty-nesters 10+ years from now we'll consider moving to a ranch or follow the kids wherever they may end up. We finished the basement a few years ago to give the kids space during the winter and for family gatherings. It has all worked out well. I would personally be hesitant to put anything other than a guest bedroom in the basement. As already noted no matter how nice, walk-out or not, it's still a basement/sub-grade. Good luck!
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Sandtrap »

Joe Nathan wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:25 pm We have property with a walkout site. Kids will be 10, 7, 7 and 1 when this goes down. We keep going back and fourth on a ranch or 2 story, just deciding what people with multiple kids have found to work. The thought of having a upstairs when they are gone in 8-10 years feels sort of annoying, along with the safety/fire issues. Also probably unrealistic to have them all on the main floor in a ranch short of being huge which we are avoiding, so thanks for any input.
Single story, open floor plan ranch
VS 2 story
VS including basement

Like this:
Ranch designs with an open floor plan center and master bedroom "wing" and "other bedrooms" opposite the center open living/dining areas are an extremely practical design for a growing family. With the garage closer to the kitchen side pantry for convenience, and the master bedroom "wing" opposite the garage and "other bedrooms/guest rooms, etc) wing for privacy and "quiet!".
Teenagers have thier own hours and unique noises and level of being busy, and with their friends over, . . . . . :shock:

The thing about basements is that once the children leave and retirement sets in and the knees and hips and lower back start to stiffen up, the trip down stairs to the basement becomes arduous. It is also always much much colder in the basement. For multi level homes with basements, a zone heating/cooling system, 1 per floor, is efficient. There are also things like potential water leaks and other basement issues with a basement. The main floor is on TGI's so there's a thumping sound that's inveitable.
VS a single story Ranch with a slab on grade foundation that's very solid, and easy on knees and back should one want to stay after the kids leave.

The extra bedrooms can be turned into husband wife offices, study rooms, guest room, etc. They will indeed be used once the children leave.

Other tips. Make the pantry huge and close to the garage for grocery unloading.
Laundry room large, and on the utility room/garage/other bedrooms side for convenience.
Garage as large as possible, 3 car is best, make sure the garage doors are large instead of the modern dinky doors they put in.
Teenagers have a lot of "stuff". If you have enough lot area for a detached garage/shop, put it in at the beginning as it's cheaper.

Any home might feel huge at one time. But, once everyone settles into it and finds there place and zones. It is just fine.
For us, our home is 3 story and 4500 sf. 7 bdrm. 4 bth. The children are long long gone. Every room is used. :D
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unclescrooge
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by unclescrooge »

LuckBeALady wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:09 pm I would prefer to live in a cottage at least a few hundred yards away.
+1000
Hulu
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by Hulu »

I grew up as one of four siblings in a ranch. The kids were split two per floor. I’m much closer to the same-floor sibling. And would try for a layout to encourage the kids to work together and bond. And I’d second the advice that parental harmony and parenting skill/consistency are more important.
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Re: What would your housing preference be with 4 kids?

Post by GoldenFinch »

We have four kids and an old three-story house with a lot of bedrooms. We bought the house when we only had one baby and actually it was too big. Over the years we grew into the house. One kid has the whole third floor to himself. We love the house. HOWEVER, it was totally unnecessary. We could have raised these kids very happily in a very small house. I advise buying the house you like the best. If you are leaning toward a bigger house, consider how much you are willing to spend to care for and keep it up because big houses are definitely more costly and time consuming.
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