Thursday, May 9, 2013

Smaller is the New Bigger

I find it so interesting that one little long weekend trip, that I wasn't even present for, can provide so much material to write about. In fact, it may take several posts!

My husband left last Friday morning for a meeting with his future employer. Or at least that is the reason that he claims he went. I contend that he went to find our dream home, or rather he went to see the dream homes that I picked out for us. All in the name of research, of course.

And that is where things begin to get complicated, as things always do when it involves family. What does any of this have to do with family? Well first, our realtor happens to be a family member (uncle) and since the process was going to take two days the parents were also going to tag along. What was I supposed to do, beg him to ignore his parents for two days? I am not heartless or entirely selfish. And the uncle is a great realtor, a valuable resource that I want to keep.

So now they know how much we are looking to spend and how big we are looking to buy. Information that I wasn't really going to share. Some of the comments I heard second-hand indicate that perhaps now we should tell them what his salary is so they can stop worrying about whether we can afford what we are looking at. Do they really think we are going to buy something that we can't afford to keep? Don't they know me?

I sent them all over the city and into the suburbs. They toured homes from 3,000 sf to 5,500 sf. They toured homes from $500,000 to $1.4 million. Incidentally, the $1.4M is way over our price range, but the interior and floor plan is exactly what I want so I had to make sure they saw it. Research:-)

My husband told me that his dad was telling him all about the trend towards smaller homes. Smaller is the new bigger!  Really? I haven't seen that anywhere. Yes, I am familiar with the 200 sf apartment in NY - but I hardly call that a trend. At certainly not for families of six or more. I am painfully aware that all of the homes they saw were at least twice as large as the house they live in. But they are retired! I can see that for singles, newlyweds, urban center dwellers, empty nesters, and retirees. I hope he wasn't suggesting that we look to buy something that size!

Not that we couldn't do small, but I don't know if I could do smaller than 2,500 sf. We have done small, and are preparing to do small (that's another story). But I am not looking for a small dream house today. I'm not looking for a mega mansion, or a mini mansion, I just want a house that fits my family comfortably and gives us all a little elbow room, along with about 30 other things on the list. And maybe even one with room to take care of aging parents, or maybe not.

This is a picture that my mother in law sent me after the first day of house hunting.

Is there a hidden message? The only message I am going to take away is that housing costs have sure increased!

So is smaller bigger? Is less more? Does your dream home have a dream size?



  1. Even your smallish house at 3000 sq ft is almost twice the size of mine. :(
    I hope you find something lovely, but homey!

    1. I noticed something interesting while looking. We could get a smaller home closer to the hospital for the same price as a larger one in the suburbs. But if you wanted a smaller house in a good neighborhood/school district that was also close to the hospital and in a reasonably updated state the costs exceeded the bigger homes in the suburbs. I am pulling my hair out trying to find something in the "just right" range. Maybe I'll know it when I see it:-)

  2. Ha! I feel like you're moving to DC (You don't have to say it if you are!) I think my parents would probably spazz if they knew how much The Lawyer and I pay for housing. It's the consequence of living in or near a big city, though. The Lawyer showed me a house that one of his friends (a partner at the lawfirm) was looking at. It was $1.2 M for 1800 sq. ft. So...yeah. I get it. At least you're going to get at least 3000 sq. ft. for your money! I'm sorry your in-laws are in the know about how much housing costs, though...that sounds super stressful!

  3. I don't believe in mixing family with business. I know it sounds harsh BUT relatives will have opinions about everything from the moment you start dating to the moment you die and reveal your estate holdings. I don't believe any relative realtor could be more valuable and helpful worth the cost of straining your relationship with your in-laws. Every culture is different but unless your inlaws make as much money as you make it's really none of their business. You can go about it two ways, be modest and let them lay down the inquisition on you or throw the first punch: we earn $X,00000 and we will spend how we see fit, mind ya' own damn business ya hear?:) .... but don't ever tell them you will never need their help/money. My FIL did that to his mom in residency and low and behold 25 years later he DID in fact need her money...for one of his kids. And for the record my DrH has already told his parents the salary range of jobs he qualifies for upon graduation. His parents were both SILENT. (That's not normal). Can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip. House hunting is exciting.

  4. I hope you find a house you love! :) I DO think that the houses in America are a tad ridiculous in size (and price!!). Most people don't really need all that space, BUT!!! You should buy a house you desire and that you AND your family would be comfortable in, obviously! :D Myself, as long as I have space for myself to get away, my desk and my computer, I'm good. Oh yeah and a decent sized kitchen :D Everybody else can enjoy the rest of the house, haha.

  5. Oh man! This made me confirm why we decided to move AWAY from family ;) I hate the whole money & family thing. It's awkward and I'm not just talking about big doctor salaries...I mean anyone. So sorry that happened though...kinda a bummer. And as far as living close to the hospital or not, we have always lived in the suburbs. More house for your money! And with 4 kids running around, I'll take the space any day. My hubs currently has a 25-30 commute. He's not a fan of the drive, but loves where we live. Good luck!!!

  6. That would be so challenging having the in-laws weighing in on buy a house. I wouldn't even tell my parents our rental budget! I don't think small is the new big.... You have put in your time. It is time for a bigger!


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