Author Topic: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing  (Read 5624 times)

AMandM

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"Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« on: September 22, 2019, 08:30:43 PM »
Or why you should buy a luxurious house instead of downsizing:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/why-many-older-home-buyers-are-smart-sizing-rather-than-downsizing/2019/09/18/70a86b56-cb3c-11e9-be05-f76ac4ec618c_story.html

Money quote:
Quote
Robin and Stefanie Wohnsigl, a couple who recently moved to the Four Seasons at Kent Island active-adult community in Chester, Md., have been on a four-year journey to find the right place for their retirement.

ďWe sold our big house in Great Falls four years ago and downsized to an apartment in Reston,Ē says Robin Wohnsigl, a retired Air Force colonel and airline industry executive. ďThe apartment was great, it had indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and we loved Reston, but we had downsized too much plus we wanted a backyard for our dog.Ē

The Wohnsigls moved from an 8,000-square-foot house to a 1,500-square-foot apartment before their recent transition to a 3,700-square-foot single-family home on Kent Island.

Their "too small" apartment was bigger than the house that holds our family of 5 (and used to hold two more before the older kids moved out). I would hat that much space for just two people!

RFAAOATB

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2019, 09:51:19 PM »
When you move down from an 8,000 sqft house, 3,700 looks just slightly upper middle class.  Iím more concerned can they afford to pay the housekeeper and their long term care aids when they need it because these donít seem to be the types to want to have the same elder care as those who are dirt broke.

What is Tricare gonna cover for them?

But yeah buying a luxurious house when youíre old sounds like a great idea.  Youíre retired, probably going to decline and die soon, so who cares if your surviving spouse has to go to a more modest place after if your other option was to be in the more modest place anyways.  It will be your last chance to get it, and maybe you can convince your kids to move in and help you so the grandkids can keep you young.

Cassie

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2019, 04:27:41 PM »
In our late 50's we downsized to 1400 sq ft on a single level with a low maintenance yard preparing to age in place. They aren't going to be able to keep up with the place but maybe they have lots of money to pay people. I couldn't read the article without paying. five of lived in 1600 sq ft just fine and one bathroom.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2019, 08:03:43 PM »
It's amazing how all the dying legacy media desperately trying to survive by getting people to pay a lot of money for things are all pushing for people to pay a lot of money for things.

socaso

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2019, 03:44:03 PM »
Our house is about 2000 sq ft and we both say we wouldn't want more space than that! Too much work. We would like to see the space distributed a bit differently but that's it.

Zikoris

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2019, 09:25:50 PM »
Man, 8000 square feet is freaking HUGE! I guess I would seem like a mole-person to them, here in my cozy 400 square foot place (shared with boyfriend + cat). This size is absolutely perfect for us. We downsized from 600 square feet because it was too big. Our first apartment together was about 250-300, which was also fine.

Travis

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2019, 09:29:55 PM »
When you move down from an 8,000 sqft house, 3,700 looks just slightly upper middle class.  Iím more concerned can they afford to pay the housekeeper and their long term care aids when they need it because these donít seem to be the types to want to have the same elder care as those who are dirt broke.

What is Tricare gonna cover for them?

But yeah buying a luxurious house when youíre old sounds like a great idea.  Youíre retired, probably going to decline and die soon, so who cares if your surviving spouse has to go to a more modest place after if your other option was to be in the more modest place anyways.  It will be your last chance to get it, and maybe you can convince your kids to move in and help you so the grandkids can keep you young.

Don't know about his executive compensation, but his Air Force retirement is worth almost $70k/year.  That doesn't go away until he dies, and if they're paying for the SBP coverage she'll continue to get a portion of that if she outlives him.  I'm going to take a stab and say they've got the money for this.  I can't read the article, but if they went from 8000sq ft to 3700sq ft, that's still a substantial reduction in their lifestyle, even if it's still excessive to us and they probably paid cash for the new home.

elliha

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2019, 02:47:56 AM »
I can't even make my mind understand what a 8000 sq feet house looks like. I get an image of something like a school or something, I can, for real, not imagine a person owning a house like that. 1500 sq feet is a pretty normal house in Sweden for a family of 2-3 kids and we live in apartment that is smaller than that with two kids and I find that to be a pretty OK size, our apartment would be roomy for two adults, much more than bare needs. I would say that a retired couple could easily live in an apartment half that size and still thrive. The only thing I can relate to is their desire to have a garden, I would love to have that myself but a garden does not have to come with a 3700 sq feet house.

Linea_Norway

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2019, 06:01:16 AM »
I would love to smartsize, as our current house is both too big for us and not smart in shape. We are selling it and will move into a smaller place with less to clean.

I would for example like the warm water boiler to sit in the vicinity of the kitchen and bathroom. I would like to have fewer outer walls. The latter can be reached by living in a apartment, in the middel of a block, but then you also start hearing your neighbors to a certain degree. And I want a house with smart ventilation systems and high insulation windows. And of course a warmth pump.

Malcat

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2019, 06:15:49 AM »
I would love to smartsize, as our current house is both too big for us and not smart in shape. We are selling it and will move into a smaller place with less to clean.

I would for example like the warm water boiler to sit in the vicinity of the kitchen and bathroom. I would like to have fewer outer walls. The latter can be reached by living in a apartment, in the middel of a block, but then you also start hearing your neighbors to a certain degree. And I want a house with smart ventilation systems and high insulation windows. And of course a warmth pump.

I hear my neighbours much less in my high-rise apartment building than I did living on a ground level. My former neighbours have two toddlers, I often work from home and had to keep the windows closed all day to avoid hearing the piercing screams of raging temper tantrums.

It's all relative. Also, some buildings have much better sound proofing than others.

Linea_Norway

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2019, 06:24:20 AM »
I would love to smartsize, as our current house is both too big for us and not smart in shape. We are selling it and will move into a smaller place with less to clean.

I would for example like the warm water boiler to sit in the vicinity of the kitchen and bathroom. I would like to have fewer outer walls. The latter can be reached by living in a apartment, in the middel of a block, but then you also start hearing your neighbors to a certain degree. And I want a house with smart ventilation systems and high insulation windows. And of course a warmth pump.

I hear my neighbours much less in my high-rise apartment building than I did living on a ground level. My former neighbours have two toddlers, I often work from home and had to keep the windows closed all day to avoid hearing the piercing screams of raging temper tantrums.

It's all relative. Also, some buildings have much better sound proofing than others.

I know. DH is sort of an expert on this kind of thing and he says the regulations in our country only provide minimum soundproofing, meaning that you can still hear for example sub woofers from movies. So apartments need to be built with more than the minimum regulations to be really soundproof. He says lots of people who buy a high end apartment are disappointed with the sound proofing they end up with, because often there is not more done than the minimum to follow regulations.

You seems to be lucky with your apartment.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 12:29:59 AM by Linea_Norway »

Malcat

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2019, 06:41:47 AM »
I would love to smartsize, as our current house is both too big for us and not smart in shape. We are selling it and will move into a smaller place with less to clean.

I would for example like the warm water boiler to sit in the vicinity of the kitchen and bathroom. I would like to have fewer outer walls. The latter can be reached by living in a apartment, in the middel of a block, but then you also start hearing your neighbors to a certain degree. And I want a house with smart ventilation systems and high insulation windows. And of course a warmth pump.

I hear my neighbours much less in my high-rise apartment building than I did living on a ground level. My former neighbours have two toddlers, I often work from home and had to keep the windows closed all day to avoid hearing the piercing screams of raging temper tantrums.

It's all relative. Also, some buildings have much better sound proofing than others.

I know. DH is sort of an expert on this kind of thing and he says the regulations in our country only provide minimum soundproofing, meaning that you can still hear for ample sub woofers from movies. So apartments need to be built with more than the minimum regulations to be really soundproof. He says lots of people who buy a high end apartment are disappointed with the sound proofing they end up with, because often there is not more done than the minimum to follow regulations.

You seems to be lucky with your apartment.

For sure, newer buildings here are made of basically tissue paper. That's why I favour much older buildings because of the materials they used to use: amazing sound proofing and massive balconies.

jinga nation

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2019, 07:30:57 AM »
When you move down from an 8,000 sqft house, 3,700 looks just slightly upper middle class.  Iím more concerned can they afford to pay the housekeeper and their long term care aids when they need it because these donít seem to be the types to want to have the same elder care as those who are dirt broke.

What is Tricare gonna cover for them?

But yeah buying a luxurious house when youíre old sounds like a great idea.  Youíre retired, probably going to decline and die soon, so who cares if your surviving spouse has to go to a more modest place after if your other option was to be in the more modest place anyways.  It will be your last chance to get it, and maybe you can convince your kids to move in and help you so the grandkids can keep you young.

Don't know about his executive compensation, but his Air Force retirement is worth almost $70k/year.  That doesn't go away until he dies, and if they're paying for the SBP coverage she'll continue to get a portion of that if she outlives him.  I'm going to take a stab and say they've got the money for this.  I can't read the article, but if they went from 8000sq ft to 3700sq ft, that's still a substantial reduction in their lifestyle, even if it's still excessive to us and they probably paid cash for the new home.

From my experience working around military personnel, mostly officers, is that they don't save anything beyond what they put in the TSP (and that's if they do, and if they do, it's the bare minimum generally). They like their big/fast cars, the peer pressure on this is epic. They spend like crazy. At my workplace they have financial counselors and classes for this reason. I'd venture a guess that most of their net worth is in their home.

I've known of career officer couples, who after 20 years service, retire to become civil servants/contractors, don't have 10-20% to put down on a home (which has to be humongous). They brag they qualified for a VA loan. Their spending hasn't changed, they'll spend more... drawn into then trapped in the vicious debt vortex.

Just Joe

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2019, 10:09:30 AM »
I can't even make my mind understand what a 8000 sq feet house looks like. I get an image of something like a school or something, I can, for real, not imagine a person owning a house like that. 1500 sq feet is a pretty normal house in Sweden for a family of 2-3 kids and we live in apartment that is smaller than that with two kids and I find that to be a pretty OK size, our apartment would be roomy for two adults, much more than bare needs. I would say that a retired couple could easily live in an apartment half that size and still thrive. The only thing I can relate to is their desire to have a garden, I would love to have that myself but a garden does not have to come with a 3700 sq feet house.

I think it depends on how that space is used. 8000 sq ft of furnished rooms? An 8000 sq ft ranch house? That would be alot to heat and cool. I wouldn't know what to do with it either. We have several huge houses in our town and there is no way a family of four or five occupy all the rooms regularly.

We have a three story home. Its played out the same as every other couple we know with a home like this. Everyone lives on the main floor. The top floor is occupied by the kids' bedrooms. The basement is where the kids play when the weather is poor or its dark. The basement is a big room or a couple of big rooms. Not furnished quite as densely or nicely as the main floor. A playroom where nice things might get broken so nice things aren't put there.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 10:12:02 AM by Just Joe »

TomTX

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2019, 07:27:26 AM »
I can't even make my mind understand what a 8000 sq feet house looks like.

OtherJen

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2019, 12:18:10 PM »
Here's one just under 8000 sq. ft. a few miles from my home. It's on a border between two cities and the neighborhood immediately across the street is standard middle-class inner-ring suburb (mostly bungalows and small colonials at <2000 sq. ft.), so it looks very out of place even in a line of other fairly large homes on the same side of the street.


TomTX

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2019, 02:16:37 PM »
Here's one just under 8000 sq. ft. a few miles from my home. It's on a border between two cities and the neighborhood immediately across the street is standard middle-class inner-ring suburb (mostly bungalows and small colonials at <2000 sq. ft.), so it looks very out of place even in a line of other fairly large homes on the same side of the street.

That does look out of place - even the houses on the same side of the street are much smaller.

jinga nation

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2019, 11:45:21 AM »
I've been in 7,000-12,000 sqft homes. My cousin had "friends" who lived in such houses. These homes were in an enclave that was part of a master-planned community that included townhomes, and single-family homes starting around 2,500 sq.ft.

Those massive buildings are not homes, they are cold, empty, and have a museum feel. You don't want to touch anything, you're in awe of expensive art and sculpture and furnishings.

I don't know how people would sleep in there... I'd be seeing ghosts. And I haven't mentioned the utility bills; they interior is around 73F in the peak of the Florida Summer. I hope they installed solar panels.

Maybe downsizing comes naturally to people who don't need much in the house.

mm1970

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2019, 12:40:19 PM »
I can't even make my mind understand what a 8000 sq feet house looks like. I get an image of something like a school or something, I can, for real, not imagine a person owning a house like that. 1500 sq feet is a pretty normal house in Sweden for a family of 2-3 kids and we live in apartment that is smaller than that with two kids and I find that to be a pretty OK size, our apartment would be roomy for two adults, much more than bare needs. I would say that a retired couple could easily live in an apartment half that size and still thrive. The only thing I can relate to is their desire to have a garden, I would love to have that myself but a garden does not have to come with a 3700 sq feet house.
My city lot is only 5300 sf.  A little less. 

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2019, 02:48:07 PM »
I don't think you need much over 1000 square feet for a couple, no kids.

Actually, you could make do with much less - 1000 square feet is my "all the space to do what you want" number.

Just Joe

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Re: "Smartsizing" instead of downsizing
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2019, 08:35:54 AM »
Just depends on how much stuff a family has.

Our previous house was ~1800 sq ft and had a 24x24 garage. The garage was always a mess b/c I was trying to use it as a garage shop with table saw, drill press, work bench, etc plus store the family bicycles, kayak, canoe, and other things. Working out there required reasonable outdoor weather b/c part of the garage contents would need to be moved outside for the area to be used as a shop.

It was garage tetris.

Inside the house was okay but not idea b/c of how it was laid out. I have seen other spaces that worked much better for the same number of sq ft. Perhaps if it had been more square. Fewer rooms and hallway attached to the family room so it was not a crossroads with all those doorways.

Today we have a larger house that is "just right" in some ways and ridiculous clown house territory in other ways. The two story foyer is silly. We're not trying to impress anyone. There could be a second story room in that space. We're not doing anything about it though either. The next owners someday will want that foyer. Our master bath is twice as big as the master bath we had before. No real need for that much bathroom space. We don't use the "glamour" jet tub. We get in and get out. Not spa people.

However we do like the extra storage space the larger home provides. The kitchen is right size but needs to be rearranged a little someday when we R&R it. The laundry room is a good size but also needs to be rearranged. Take away the bedrooms upstairs that belong to our teens - and ignoring the basement - the house is the right size for daily living for us. 

Our goal right now is to improve things that the previous owner apparently ignored. Make the home more energy efficient. Its not bad now, could be better.

I can see a day way in the future when we might want to smart size (down size) again when the kids are gone and the house is empty more often. Maybe then we'll be ready for a townhouse.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 08:38:34 AM by Just Joe »