Itís Your Money > Real Estate Information

How large do we need?

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Since size of apartments has come up in another thread, I wanted to share some thoughts. When my wife came to the U.S. I had a fairly large house, 3 bedrooms with the master being a suite, 2 bathrooms, a den, a large living room that basically never got used, an eat in kitchen, a pool and sitting on a decent lot, so I asked her how she liked the house and her answer was two words "too big" so we eventually found a villa which was a 3/2 at 1500 sq feet and found that we never used the third bedroom or second bathroom and hardly ever used the formal dining room, so when we decided to buy a condo in Cebu, we tried to be practical and buy only what we needed and ended up with 80 sq meters and to be truthful, over the years we have found that 40 sq meters would be enough and especially for our part time lifestyle and quite possibly for a full time life if we decided to live full time in the Philippines.

So I wonder if any of you have actually thought about what you actually use and need of your homes and of course if you have children then you need much more room, yet I have seen a local family of 8 living in a 38 sq meter condo unit in our building, so how much of your home do you actually use?

We are moving in to our Philippine home mid spring or late spring.  I will also be working from home there :)  It is about 400m.  I think we will use most of it most of the time because of kids and working there.

The US house we currently live in is about the same size +another building of the same size at the same property.  We use all of it most of the time although some for business.   

I think if without kids/dogs and a business that about 100m or even a bit less would be plenty.  But we certainly could be happy on less as long as there is fridge, bed, table, cr, and few other common things.  I got by fine for years before in about 2m in a war ship.

In the US many folks retire into large RV's and travel all of the time and love it.

My home here now is only about 50m.  Good enough for what we need.  Cramped compared to what I grew up living in.  Lived in more than 12 homes growing up from birth to graduation.  Dad did construction.  Owned his own company.  So our houses were always much nicer in build, layout and size.

In college dealt with a smaller living space.  Both the dorm and later my own tiny apartment.  But, soon as I got work and bought a house and went from there, all big again.  Plan to stick to that when we return to the US in the nest 2-3 years.

That said, my dad, who always made, or bought smaller and added on after, large homes.  My mother died, and when my dad remarried, my step-mom always grew up with nice big homes and lived in them when married to first husband.  But now, they both sold all their homes over 9 years ago, and moved into a refinished/remoded cottage on Lake Michigan(turned it into an all seasons home) that is half the size of what either of their homes was.  Then bought a motorhome and head to AZ every winter.  So a nod to FastWalk on that.  The motor home is half the size, at best, of their home now. 

I find it entertaining how people rationalize the size of home they need.  Dad sold 2 homes.  One a 4 bed/3 bath home the other a 2 bed/1 bath.  Step-mom a 5 bed/3 bath home.  Now live in a 2 bed/2 bath half the year.  A 1 bed/1 bath motorhome the other.  They went from both believing they needed the large homes and all the furniture in them and having reasons for all of that, to a whole lot less and say they are happier now than they were then.  I get a kick out of stuff like that.

This is just about as subjective as asking somebody why they drive a big expensive car, or a large SUV or truck, when all they NEED is a compact.  Surely life is not just about having what you need, but also enjoying what is available.  Of course, within ones personal budgets. 
I have stayed in condos in Davao rather than hotels,  on a couple of visits.  OK for a couple of weeks, but personally, I would go stir crazy in such a confined space for anything longer than that.  Hate the idea of closing the door and feeling confined, I need to be able to step outside and breathe fresh air. 
The concept of buying an RV and travelling the world, is not a like for like comparison as living in a condo.  In the RV you have a constantly changing landscape and can stop and step outside any time, so effectively you are enjoying a Bigger space than just the size of the RV.
At the end of the day it's all down to what each of us are happy with.

As far as the need to be able to step outside and breathe fresh air, our condos both have a decent size balcony and just as others might not be able to live in a condo, I could not live in one that did not have a decent size balcony to sit out on and so friends who visit can smoke on if they feel the need.

Now as far as a vehicle, I too drive an SUV rather than a compact car but that is so the wife and I can carry a few people comfortably in it as well as transport items and so as to have a comfortable ride but I do not need a $60,000 one when one that cost much less does the job for us and we can afford a much more expensive one if we wanted to own or lease one, so again it is not just about money for us, it is more about practicality.   

In case the topic came off the wrong way, I did not start this topic to put anyone down for their choices, we each have a right to pick what we want and can afford to live in or drive, it is just that my wife and I as an empty nest couple, that I find we do not need or want as much as I thought I  needed in the past to keep up with the Jones before I met my wife. Each of us has to enjoy our lives the way we want to, I just find as I age that I need less in a car, less in a place to live and less in toys overall but our condo in Florida is too big for us because we bought it as a foreclosure 5 years ago for less than we could have bought a much smaller one and so far the value keeps going up faster than the upkeep, yet I keep looking around for a deal on a smaller one and will likely downsize that one too.


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