Author Topic: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)  (Read 15854 times)

ohana

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #50 on: January 28, 2016, 07:30:31 AM »
Buying a certain size house because "people will visit sometimes/often" seems a waste.  Buy the house you need for the majority of the time -- in this case no more than 4 BR -- and make due when others visit.  Your kids can sleep on the floor when gramma and grampa come.  I did!

We just downsized to what is essentially a 1 BR tiny condo, and have told our folks that if they visit, they'll just have to stay at a hotel.  For 1 week a year (they are not local), that's just gonna happen.

justajane

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #51 on: January 28, 2016, 07:37:07 AM »
I don't understand why all the suggestions we've brought up have been considered by some of you as severe deprivation or that people who do with less are somehow now miserable fucks who sit around all day patting themselves on the back for being miserable fucks. Talk about a misrepresentation of what's going on here! That is a serious distortion of the lives that most of us who have shared our experiences live.

Buy the home you want, but I'm not sure what's the point of starting a thread then. Sometimes I think people come on here asking about whatever they want to buy or do for validation. They're looking for some frugal people on a forum sustained by a blog about minimalism and reducing your environmental footprint to tell them it's okay to buy a five bedroom house or whatever. Here's a suggestion - if that's what you want to do - buy it! God knows there are plenty of things I do that people on here would think are crazy wasteful or a huge volcano of wastefulness. Guess what? I don't care, and I don't really solicit ideas for doing things differently because I'm happy with the way things are.

I understand that the OP was looking for creative suggestions, but honestly, if you have to have a door, have Amazonian boys who can only sleep in full-sized beds, and you have to have a guest room, you should buy a 4-5 bedroom home. You have no other real options.

ender

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #52 on: January 28, 2016, 07:41:44 AM »
Yeah, the humble bragging -- I can make do with less than you, screw happiness and comfort -- gets bad here sometimes.
because this thread (like so many others on MMM) was getting out of hand.

Living in a 1000 sqft 3BR house is still better living conditions than the overwhelming majority of humans who have ever lived.


zolotiyeruki

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2016, 07:45:33 AM »
We used to live in a 1100sf house as a family of 6.  It was pretty cramped, but we *did* make good use of the space.  Here are a few thoughts:
1) Saving $100k @ 7% means $7,000/year that you could put towards hotels or Airbnb when you have guests.  So from a purely financial perspective, it's pretty clear.
2) I'm a strong proponent of kids sharing bedrooms.  They'll probably be sharing a room most of their entire lives--roommates in college, spouse if/when married.  Bunk beds are your friend, and you can get extra long twin mattresses.  Of course, I'm biased, since that's how I grew up.  I had a private bedroom for one year when I was in college, and while it was nice, it was definitely a luxury.
3) I agree with others who have said "combine the guest bedroom and office."  Alternatively, I like the idea of repurposing a walk-in closet as an office.  In our 1100sqft house, we used the formal dining room as an office, but that wouldn't work for you, since you need something separate.  At one point, we put a desk in the corner of our 14x14 master bedroom, and that was plenty of room.

So if I were you, I'd stick with a 3-bedroom and laugh all the way to the bank.  But you'll have to make that decision yourself.

StarBright

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2016, 08:31:23 AM »
I think something that might help is knowing how often "regular" means when it comes to guests.

I saw someone who posted regular visits 3-4 days a year and suggested a hotel for those times - that makes total sense, no one NEEDS a spare room for that. "Regular" visitors for my family average out to 4-5 nights a month (my parents will be here for two nights this weekend, in fact and my MIL will be here for a week in Feb).

I have seen people suggesting turning a large walk in closet into an office but cant remember if I've seen anything about buying a 3 bed house with a large basement and actually spending the money to segment the basement into two spaces: general basement and maybe an office with a closed door. That might be an option if the OP wants to really try for a 3 bed house.

If you have someone who will be working from home full time and long term, I think it is very important to make sure you have a nice space set up conducive to work. With our recent move, our new place has a less than sufficient work set up and I can really tell how it is effecting me - my mood and productivity.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #55 on: January 28, 2016, 09:43:38 AM »
I don't understand why all the suggestions we've brought up have been considered by some of you as severe deprivation or that people who do with less are somehow now miserable fucks who sit around all day patting themselves on the back for being miserable fucks. Talk about a misrepresentation of what's going on here! That is a serious distortion of the lives that most of us who have shared our experiences live.

Buy the home you want, but I'm not sure what's the point of starting a thread then. Sometimes I think people come on here asking about whatever they want to buy or do for validation. They're looking for some frugal people on a forum sustained by a blog about minimalism and reducing your environmental footprint to tell them it's okay to buy a five bedroom house or whatever. Here's a suggestion - if that's what you want to do - buy it! God knows there are plenty of things I do that people on here would think are crazy wasteful or a huge volcano of wastefulness. Guess what? I don't care, and I don't really solicit ideas for doing things differently because I'm happy with the way things are.

I understand that the OP was looking for creative suggestions, but honestly, if you have to have a door, have Amazonian boys who can only sleep in full-sized beds, and you have to have a guest room, you should buy a 4-5 bedroom home. You have no other real options.

Funny that the next sentence after the bold talks about misrepresentation when the bolded sentence is a misrepresentation of what I posted.

All I'm saying is that people on here often attempt to out-frugal one another and somebody in OP's position should take their opinions with a grain of salt.

The funny thing is that I have almost the exact same setup as you--I have an 1100 square foot house with three bedrooms and a finished basement. We also have an office in the basement (although mine is finished) and we are looking to finish the bathroom down there eventually as well.

But my family has different needs and wants as OP, and I was only pointing out that people in this thread were projecting their own needs and wants onto OP rather than taking his/her needs and wants into consideration.

MerryMcQ

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #56 on: January 28, 2016, 09:55:07 AM »
My DH "office" is in a corner of the garage. He has a heater thing (like a space heater, but aims heat at him, not heating entire space) for the winter. It is quiet and secluded in our little house.
Work in a corner of a garage with a space heater?  I think I'd rather make the trip into the office.

We lived for 3 years in San Diego, in an area where practically every 2nd home had converted their garage into a bedroom. We looked at homes to buy that listed "3 bedrooms" where the 3rd bedroom was an un-permitted garage conversion or a screened-in porch, and the listing agent had no qualms about considering it a bedroom. I guess when you come from that type of mentality, putting a desk, lamp, a few book cases, a rug, and a comfy chair in a corner of a dry, insulated garage (in the temperate climate of Seattle) isn't that big of a deal.

Around us up here in Seattle, most people use their garage to store their boxes of useless stuff, or use it for a man-cave/kid play room. No one actually parks a car in their garage. I'd rather turn the garage into a home-office than use it to store rubbermaid totes of junk like many of my neighbors.

justajane

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #57 on: January 28, 2016, 09:57:02 AM »
@ReadySetMillionaire

I was referring to MrsPete's post -- "Yeah, the humble bragging -- I can make do with less than you, screw happiness and comfort -- gets bad here sometimes."

I thought my rephrasing of her was pretty on point, albeit with some expletives added for extra effect.


ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #58 on: January 28, 2016, 10:01:30 AM »
@ReadySetMillionaire

I was referring to MrsPete's post -- "Yeah, the humble bragging -- I can make do with less than you, screw happiness and comfort -- gets bad here sometimes."

I thought my rephrasing of her was pretty on point, albeit with some expletives added for extra effect.

Fair enough, thought you were referencing my post.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #59 on: January 28, 2016, 10:20:03 AM »
I don't understand why all the suggestions we've brought up have been considered by some of you as severe deprivation or that people who do with less are somehow now miserable fucks who sit around all day patting themselves on the back for being miserable fucks. Talk about a misrepresentation of what's going on here! That is a serious distortion of the lives that most of us who have shared our experiences live.

Buy the home you want, but I'm not sure what's the point of starting a thread then. Sometimes I think people come on here asking about whatever they want to buy or do for validation. They're looking for some frugal people on a forum sustained by a blog about minimalism and reducing your environmental footprint to tell them it's okay to buy a five bedroom house or whatever. Here's a suggestion - if that's what you want to do - buy it! God knows there are plenty of things I do that people on here would think are crazy wasteful or a huge volcano of wastefulness. Guess what? I don't care, and I don't really solicit ideas for doing things differently because I'm happy with the way things are.

I understand that the OP was looking for creative suggestions, but honestly, if you have to have a door, have Amazonian boys who can only sleep in full-sized beds, and you have to have a guest room, you should buy a 4-5 bedroom home. You have no other real options.

Hahaha so true.

If you ask for advice on this forum and then get mad when people give it to you there has been a failure to understand how a "forum" works. ;)

I drive a clown car. I don't post questions about it because I am not looking for feedback on it. If I did post about it I would not be shocked and appalled to be told I could get by with something else that took less fuel and was lower cost. Those suggestions are true!

People can rationalize why they "need" anything from a 5 bedroom house for 4 people to a 20 room mansion. One thing I like about this forum is the way these assumptions are questioned. For sure it can be uncomfortable to be the target of that process, but presumably the reason you posted a personal question about your life here was to be challenged and informed. If you just wanted a pat on the back you came to the wrong place.

The title of this post in particular is "Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)". Not surprisingly there were some answers that were pretty minimal.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #60 on: January 28, 2016, 10:31:09 AM »
I don't understand why all the suggestions we've brought up have been considered by some of you as severe deprivation or that people who do with less are somehow now miserable fucks who sit around all day patting themselves on the back for being miserable fucks. Talk about a misrepresentation of what's going on here! That is a serious distortion of the lives that most of us who have shared our experiences live.

Hahaha so true.

If you ask for advice on this forum and then get mad when people give it to you there has been a failure to understand how a "forum" works. ;)

I drive a clown car. I don't post questions about it because I am not looking for feedback on it. If I did post about it I would not be shocked and appalled to be told I could get by with something else that took less fuel and was lower cost. Those suggestions are true!

People can rationalize why they "need" anything from a 5 bedroom house for 4 people to a 20 room mansion. One thing I like about this forum is the way these assumptions are questioned. For sure it can be uncomfortable to be the target of that process, but presumably the reason you posted a personal question about your life here was to be challenged and informed. If you just wanted a pat on the back you came to the wrong place.

The title of this post in particular is "Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)". Not surprisingly there were some answers that were pretty minimal.

I think we see a lot of example of confirmation bias:
The Misconception: Your opinions are the result of years of rational, objective analysis.

The Truth: Your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information which confirmed what you believed while ignoring information which challenged your preconceived notions.

That would also be consistent with anger and personal attacks / name calling when those beliefs are called into question, since the interesting and unfortunate thing is the related effect that often when your beliefs are challenged by contradictory evidence, your original beliefs get stronger instead of you altering your opinions to incorporate the new opinions.

TL;DR: Humans suck and our brains are full of cognitive biases.. we want to believe what we already believe, and that what we do and think is right. We'll attack people who challenge that.

mm1970

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #61 on: January 28, 2016, 11:06:56 AM »
Quote
Yeah, the humble bragging -- I can make do with less than you, screw happiness and comfort -- gets bad here sometimes.

A lot of this is going to depend, completely, on where the OP lives.

I live in Coastal So Cal, where my teeny tiny 1100 sf house costs about $750,000.  An extra bedroom is a little over $100k, and that's another $1k per year in prop taxes.  Making do with "less" is pretty much a necessity here, and would be true in other expensive areas in the country. (Added to that, there are a lot of older homes that are small.)

When it comes to "what works" and "what you can afford", another factor is "what is available". Some towns are mostly newer builds, which means you cannot even FIND a 2BR house.  Some towns are full of 3 and 4 BR houses with basements.  My town has a lot of 2BRs, and basements don't exist.

jeromedawg

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #62 on: January 28, 2016, 11:32:15 AM »
Quote
Yeah, the humble bragging -- I can make do with less than you, screw happiness and comfort -- gets bad here sometimes.

A lot of this is going to depend, completely, on where the OP lives.

I live in Coastal So Cal, where my teeny tiny 1100 sf house costs about $750,000.  An extra bedroom is a little over $100k, and that's another $1k per year in prop taxes.  Making do with "less" is pretty much a necessity here, and would be true in other expensive areas in the country. (Added to that, there are a lot of older homes that are small.)

When it comes to "what works" and "what you can afford", another factor is "what is available". Some towns are mostly newer builds, which means you cannot even FIND a 2BR house.  Some towns are full of 3 and 4 BR houses with basements.  My town has a lot of 2BRs, and basements don't exist.

My brother in law's partner owns a loft (around 1200sq ft) in SF right near where they're building the new arena for the Warriors (GO DUBS!). Apparently it's valued at over a million dollars which is just insane.

sjc0816

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #63 on: January 28, 2016, 11:51:02 AM »
Quote
Yeah, the humble bragging -- I can make do with less than you, screw happiness and comfort -- gets bad here sometimes.

A lot of this is going to depend, completely, on where the OP lives.

I live in Coastal So Cal, where my teeny tiny 1100 sf house costs about $750,000.  An extra bedroom is a little over $100k, and that's another $1k per year in prop taxes.  Making do with "less" is pretty much a necessity here, and would be true in other expensive areas in the country. (Added to that, there are a lot of older homes that are small.)

When it comes to "what works" and "what you can afford", another factor is "what is available". Some towns are mostly newer builds, which means you cannot even FIND a 2BR house.  Some towns are full of 3 and 4 BR houses with basements.  My town has a lot of 2BRs, and basements don't exist.


Definitely not California.  This is the burbs of a medium sized midwestern city that we are talking about here. Average house is around 300k....with a few options (not many) in the lower 200's.....TONS of options in the 400-800k range. These are all pretty much cookie-cutter type neighborhoods with not a ton of variations with floor-plans, etc.  We could go with a different suburb and have more lower-cost options for housing...but the quality of schools takes a significant drop. 

galliver

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #64 on: January 28, 2016, 11:55:17 AM »
The title of this post in particular is "Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)". Not surprisingly there were some answers that were pretty minimal.

I was about to post the same. The topic was not "Is it absolutely crazy for us to buy a 5BR house" or "Will we lose our frugal card if we buy a house over 3BR" etc. It was asking, what is the MINIMUM.

Of course, the post itself elaborated on the situation prompting the question, and I believe included the phrase "I just don't see how..." so people shared their experiences and how they use their space to demonstrate "how" as well as sharing opinions on specific aspects of the situation ("I don't think you need a guestroom" etc). It's not a condemnation, it's a reality check. It's not "you can't do this" but "admit that doing  this, removing all friction from your life, is a luxury." Of course the OP and family will do whatever they want. But this is how discussion works; people sharing opinions.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #65 on: January 28, 2016, 12:11:02 PM »
For the 5 of us, we have a 4-bedroom, 3000-sq ft house, which I think is way too big for us.  The only reason I bought a house this size is because it only cost us $215k, and it was brand-new with the latest and greatest energy savings tricks so our utility bills are way lower than when we had a house 2/3 of this size.

I've never had a home office with a door - our home office is an open game room next to the stairs, and I tend to work in the living room downstairs anyway.

I don't have a lot of problem with my kids when I'm on conference calls.  When they are home and I am working the rule is they have to be on the opposite floor from where I am (or they have to be outside).  No exceptions.

When I'm about to take a call I yell upstairs that I am going to be on the phone so "ZIP IT" and they mostly do.  Or else.  My internal clients and coworkers know that occasionally they'll hear a kid or a dog or the bird, and they're okay with that.

This works great for the after-school hours, especially because they sit and do homework when they first get home anyway.  For longer breaks (like Thanksgiving week), this is not ideal.  After two days, my productivity plummets.  My solution is to send them to day camp, take a few days off myself, or find another place to work.

Part of the determination of the house size is how long you intend to live there.  We'll be in this house until all of our children are out of the house, then we'll downsize.  The house will be paid in full by then.

zarfus

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #66 on: January 28, 2016, 12:53:02 PM »
Yeah, the humble bragging -- I can make do with less than you, screw happiness and comfort -- gets bad here sometimes.

Thank God someone else was thinking this, because this thread (like so many others on MMM) was getting out of hand.

OP: this forum sometimes turns into a dick measuring contest to see who can be the cheapest person on the planet.
-Threads about buying an engagement ring often completely ignore the OP's request and turn into a philosophical debate about diamonds, and then people start bragging, "I made my wife an engagement ring purely from solidified dust from the attic and it's BEAUTIFUL."
-Threads about buying a treadmill or elliptical turn into "Buy used olympic weights off Craigslist and work out in your garage."
-Hell, any time somebody posts a case study and state that they have a car nicer than a used Honda Civic, it's inevitable that someone suggests "ditch the car!!!!"
-The latest one where I was called "lazy" was because I pay for cable TV because GF and I absolutely love sports and it's worth it to us.

The same BS is going on in this thread. You've stated your needs and wants. I say the most important thing you can do is buy a home that you will live in until you retire. There's a ton of money involved on the front-end of home ownership--moving into a new home and selling your old home is a huge expense that will cost more than the difference between a three bedroom and a four bedroom.

So do what makes you happy and comfortable, and buy a home that fits your family's needs. If your husband needs a dedicated office space, buy a house with a nice office space. If you don't want your kids to share a bedroom, buy a house with enough bedrooms so everyone can have their own. All this said, I think it might be silly to have a dedicated guest room. That room in my house growing up got used maybe 20 times in eighteen years.

I agree to a point. But when OP comes to the mustache forum asking for ideas and suggestions on how to make MORE work with LESS (which is the spirit of mustachism imo), then scoffs at anything less than 3br...well, case closed. OP knows what she wants, go get it.

I dont think 3br 1500sqft is unreasonable, but I'm not the one buying a house for her.

MayDay

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #67 on: January 28, 2016, 01:29:26 PM »
I ponder this a lot.  No working from home currently, but we have 2 opposite gender children so that puts us at 3 bedrooms to start.

What we have been doing so far is having the kids sleep on our flood when we have guests.  Both kids have twin beds, but one room has a trundle, so it sleeps 2 guests (or a kid plus a guest). 

The issue we have, and this is somewhat minor, is that when we have guests, the kids sleep like CRAP.  This of course translates to significantly more whining and bad behavior.  And since we do not live local to any family, we have guests quite a lot.  The other issue is that I am not going to have my elderly grandparents (and my parents and IL's are approaching elderly as well) sleep on a twin trundle on the floor.  Which means now H and I have to give up our bed.  That makes ME crabby.

So, long story short, I think we will be looking for a house with either a basement that is dry (finished or not) or a room that can be used as an office/guest bedroom/etc.  And if the kids' bedrooms are large enough, we might put our old queen bed in one of their rooms too, for added flexibility.  I know the common wisdom is that it is cheaper to pay for a hotel once a year when you have guests, but we have guests A LOT.  So I don't really know that a hotel is a better choice.
Are you rural?  I ask, because pretty much, the only person who stays with us when they visit is my MIL.  Everyone else stays in a hotel.  It's just too cramped.  (If people come for a day or two, they may stay, but not longer stays.)

Sometimes we pay for their hotel.  I also have friends on the street who tend to leave town during holidays, and they've offered up their homes for guests (in exchange for caring for their dog).  That's a good option too.

The main reason that I try to avoid the sofabed for guests is because some nights I just can't sleep, and I end up on the couch.  It's completely my own selfishness.  Plus, I wake up early, and I want to go get coffee, etc.

Small town, it is about 20 minutes to a normal hotel, or 5 minutes to a 200$/night B&B. 

mm1970

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #68 on: January 28, 2016, 01:44:03 PM »
Quote
Yeah, the humble bragging -- I can make do with less than you, screw happiness and comfort -- gets bad here sometimes.

A lot of this is going to depend, completely, on where the OP lives.

I live in Coastal So Cal, where my teeny tiny 1100 sf house costs about $750,000.  An extra bedroom is a little over $100k, and that's another $1k per year in prop taxes.  Making do with "less" is pretty much a necessity here, and would be true in other expensive areas in the country. (Added to that, there are a lot of older homes that are small.)

When it comes to "what works" and "what you can afford", another factor is "what is available". Some towns are mostly newer builds, which means you cannot even FIND a 2BR house.  Some towns are full of 3 and 4 BR houses with basements.  My town has a lot of 2BRs, and basements don't exist.


Definitely not California.  This is the burbs of a medium sized midwestern city that we are talking about here. Average house is around 300k....with a few options (not many) in the lower 200's.....TONS of options in the 400-800k range. These are all pretty much cookie-cutter type neighborhoods with not a ton of variations with floor-plans, etc.  We could go with a different suburb and have more lower-cost options for housing...but the quality of schools takes a significant drop.
Well, my home school district completely sucks, so I can't offer much help there. If I wanted a decent school district, my 2BR/1BA house would be about $950k+

CanuckExpat

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #69 on: January 29, 2016, 03:29:32 PM »
OP, somewhat related to your request, there's a nice example here of a turning a pretty crappy space into a nice looking home office. Apparently it was DIY and only took 8 days, but if you have unused space in some capacity you can use that as inspiration and also contract it out. More info here.

MsPeacock

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #70 on: January 29, 2016, 05:42:55 PM »
I occasionally work from home, and I don' t have to make phone calls often, so my advice may not apply.

I have a very small 3 bedroom home (<1200 sq feet) BUT it has a finished basement w/ a guest bedroom, a family room, and a study nook (which I think was a workout area previously). All of these spaces are adequately insulated from the rest of the house that they can be used for office space. The nook was carved out when the basement was finished (by prior owners) and is very small and located more or less behind the laundry room.

I bring this up because a small house w/ 3 bedrooms may be adequate if there is other available space in the house that can be repurposed in some way. I am likely to rent out my guest room for a tenant soon and guests will be accommodated by: inflatable bed in basement family room, inflatable bed in living room, using my bedroom and I will sleep on the couch, or sleeping in the kid's room and kids double up somewhere. I guess this also depends on how frequently you have guests and if that bedroom could be used regularly for an office.

LouLou

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #71 on: January 29, 2016, 07:28:28 PM »
I think that layout matters more than number of bedrooms in this scenario.  Look for an attic or basement for the office - something on an entirely different floor.  Even if the space is unfinished, spending some dough on smart ways to make a great workspace on an unfinished floor makes more financial sense than buying a bigger home.

There are some homes where the master bedroom is on a different floor or removed from the noisiest parts of the home.  In that case, working space in the master would work great.  I'm also a fan of combining the guest bedroom and office.  Desk + extra bed. 

Whether having a dedicated guest bedroom makes sense is completely dependent on how long people stay with you.  I once had sixteen relatives stay in our last house  - 3 bedrooms in 1200 sq - for a weekend.  Adults got the bedrooms, kids slept in sleeping bags in the living spaces.  It was great!  But it would not have been great if they were staying for two months. 

If I were working from home, voices and noises would be unacceptable so options like working at the kitchen table would not fly.

AMandM

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #72 on: January 29, 2016, 09:35:02 PM »
The size of bedrooms really matters.  Our family of 9 fit more comfortably in our old 4BR house with no basement than in the current 4BR with semi-finished basement.  The old house had a huge master bedroom (17'x17') that the five girls shared.  The two boys shared a small bedroom, we parents had a smallish bedroom, and the medium-sized bedroom was the office/TV room/guest room. Guest space is important for us. My father visits 3-4 times a year for 2-3 week at a time, our college kids bring friends home, out-of-town relatives and friends visit.

The current house has much smaller rooms, so sharing is much harder, and so is making a room double as guest room.  Now, when my father comes, we give him our room and we sleep on the futon in the basement.  We no longer have office space, and my husband finds it way harder to get work done from home.

In your shoes, OP, I'd look for a 3BR with large room sizes.  One master bedroom, one boys' room, one office/guest room.  I've seen lots of new houses where the master bedroom has a sort of "sitting area" that could also become an office.

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #73 on: January 29, 2016, 10:42:10 PM »
If I'm reading everything right, in your shoes I'd look at 3 plus den or 4 bed houses. Depending on layouts, you could even find something with 2 upper and two basement bedrooms. I would put the boys in 2 rooms, close to each other, not too big. Then a guest room and your bedroom. Your bedroom doesn't have an office, so it isn't too big. Use the guest room as your home office, and slightly inconvenience guests if you need to work when they are visiting. Give husband his own home office.

Here is the trick though. A lot of 4 bed homes have an eat in kitchen, dining room, den, living room, and a finished basement. This, rather than your list of needed spaces, is what turns it into a mcmansion.

If the 3 bed homes don't have an enclosed office, and the 4 bed homes have too many rooms, get a 3 bed house and convert a space like a dining room into a guest room. Put in glass doors plus curtains and it will look lovely. Or refinish the basement so there is a guest room down there. 

Or buy a 6 bed house, but the heating costs make me cringe.

randymarsh

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #74 on: January 30, 2016, 11:33:04 PM »
I would try to find a large 3BR. Maybe the master has a den area for one of your work areas. A basement, even semi-finished, is enough for guests and another office area. This is all easier said than done because of the way homes are built and who they're built for.

Doesn't the fact that both wage earners don't have a commute give them some wiggle room on the house size/price? There are so many direct and indirect financial benefits to working at home, I don't think getting a "better" house is that big of a deal.

MrsPete

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #75 on: February 01, 2016, 11:39:39 AM »
I don't understand why all the suggestions we've brought up have been considered by some of you as severe deprivation or that people who do with less are somehow now miserable fucks who sit around all day patting themselves on the back for being miserable fucks. Talk about a misrepresentation of what's going on here! That is a serious distortion of the lives that most of us who have shared our experiences live.
No, the point is that when the OP says, "We have small kids, and a door on the office is really necessary".  Why argue that he or she doesn't really need that door, insinuating that if he or she were really frugal the door would be unnecessary?  The OP knows best whether a door is necessary or not. 
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 11:42:42 AM by MrsPete »

AZDude

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #76 on: February 01, 2016, 12:25:18 PM »
Deciding something is "necessary" is too often the financial downfall of otherwise intelligent, hard working people. I worked from home full time with a two year old. I made it work without a locking door. It was not that hard.

If the OP wants a locking door, I'm not judging, but do not claim it is a necessity when it clearly is a luxury. Lots of threads derail because insists that something cannot be done when it clearly can. Things like insisting you need data on your phone, or that you must have that organic store bought single serving yogurt package. Or that you need the SUV instead of a small car. That you cannot bike in certain areas or during certain times of the year.

These things are false. A person could easily bike through Ohio during the winter while carrying a prepaid phone with no data plan while not eating organic yogurt for breakfast, or at least not the single-serving cups (s)he prefers. It is possible. So just admit you do not want to and we can move on.

I watch sports and thus spend an average of $30-$40 a month doing so. Its a vice and a luxury and I try to keep it under control, but I admit its not a necessity and if I ever insisted it was a need, you shoud immediately give me a facepunch.



talltexan

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #77 on: February 01, 2016, 01:28:26 PM »
The basement factor seems to really matter here. Where we live (in the SE) basements are not common.


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sjc0816

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #78 on: February 01, 2016, 01:30:21 PM »
Good grief!  It's not a NECESSITY. We could also fit all four of us in a one-bedroom apartment and my husband could work at the kitchen table....but WHY do that?  He works his ass off and deserves a small amount of comfort. I'm starting to think maybe I don't belong in this forum. Or I need to find a less extreme version that focuses on high savings rate, simple-living without a pissing match on what is considered "necessary". 

mm1970

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #79 on: February 01, 2016, 06:30:35 PM »
Good grief!  It's not a NECESSITY. We could also fit all four of us in a one-bedroom apartment and my husband could work at the kitchen table....but WHY do that?  He works his ass off and deserves a small amount of comfort. I'm starting to think maybe I don't belong in this forum. Or I need to find a less extreme version that focuses on high savings rate, simple-living without a pissing match on what is considered "necessary".
Wait, your husband WOH full time, right?  (or mostly)  And you have kids?

Dude...(sorry I've been in CA too long)...a door that shuts is a necessity!

ender

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #80 on: February 01, 2016, 06:47:50 PM »
Good grief!  It's not a NECESSITY. We could also fit all four of us in a one-bedroom apartment and my husband could work at the kitchen table....but WHY do that?  He works his ass off and deserves a small amount of comfort. I'm starting to think maybe I don't belong in this forum. Or I need to find a less extreme version that focuses on high savings rate, simple-living without a pissing match on what is considered "necessary".


Starts thread asking for people's opinions on, "What would be your minimum needs for housing under the following circumstances?"

Gets pissed off when people give minimum needs.

Sigh.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #81 on: February 02, 2016, 02:34:11 AM »
Can you look at houses with 1/2 rooms fewer than you need, but with big rooms that you can divide (either with screens or put up a wall and new door)?


SomedayStache

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #82 on: February 02, 2016, 05:45:08 AM »
We made two twin xl loft beds using plans from oploftbed.   This solves the tall boy problem.  We also have xl sheets now to send with them to college dorms.

Here's a pic of our living room with a screen divider to give us a pseudo office space.

LouLou

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #83 on: February 02, 2016, 08:50:01 AM »
Deciding something is "necessary" is too often the financial downfall of otherwise intelligent, hard working people. I worked from home full time with a two year old. I made it work without a locking door. It was not that hard.

If the OP wants a locking door, I'm not judging, but do not claim it is a necessity when it clearly is a luxury. Lots of threads derail because insists that something cannot be done when it clearly can. Things like insisting you need data on your phone, or that you must have that organic store bought single serving yogurt package. Or that you need the SUV instead of a small car. That you cannot bike in certain areas or during certain times of the year.

These things are false. A person could easily bike through Ohio during the winter while carrying a prepaid phone with no data plan while not eating organic yogurt for breakfast, or at least not the single-serving cups (s)he prefers. It is possible. So just admit you do not want to and we can move on.

I watch sports and thus spend an average of $30-$40 a month doing so. Its a vice and a luxury and I try to keep it under control, but I admit its not a necessity and if I ever insisted it was a need, you shoud immediately give me a facepunch.

Yes, but people have different necessities.  For me, data on my phone is really a necessity.  My job has an official policy requiring smartphones for all attorneys, and the firm immediately buys smartphones for attorneys who do not already have one.  If I posted a case study with that information and people kept insisting that I just get a dumb phone, I would be irritated too!

Some jobs allow for noise in the background, others don't.  Also, some people work well with noise, while others perform poorly.  If someone needs a quiet space to work, the helpful thing to do is to recommend lower cost ways to accomplish that goal (like people talking about basements, or using a portion of a master bedroom away from the kids).

MrsDinero

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #84 on: February 02, 2016, 09:23:20 AM »
Deciding something is "necessary" is too often the financial downfall of otherwise intelligent, hard working people. I worked from home full time with a two year old. I made it work without a locking door. It was not that hard.

If the OP wants a locking door, I'm not judging, but do not claim it is a necessity when it clearly is a luxury. Lots of threads derail because insists that something cannot be done when it clearly can. Things like insisting you need data on your phone, or that you must have that organic store bought single serving yogurt package. Or that you need the SUV instead of a small car. That you cannot bike in certain areas or during certain times of the year.

These things are false. A person could easily bike through Ohio during the winter while carrying a prepaid phone with no data plan while not eating organic yogurt for breakfast, or at least not the single-serving cups (s)he prefers. It is possible. So just admit you do not want to and we can move on.

I watch sports and thus spend an average of $30-$40 a month doing so. Its a vice and a luxury and I try to keep it under control, but I admit its not a necessity and if I ever insisted it was a need, you shoud immediately give me a facepunch.

Yes, but people have different necessities.  For me, data on my phone is really a necessity.  My job has an official policy requiring smartphones for all attorneys, and the firm immediately buys smartphones for attorneys who do not already have one.  If I posted a case study with that information and people kept insisting that I just get a dumb phone, I would be irritated too!

Some jobs allow for noise in the background, others don't.  Also, some people work well with noise, while others perform poorly.  If someone needs a quiet space to work, the helpful thing to do is to recommend lower cost ways to accomplish that goal (like people talking about basements, or using a portion of a master bedroom away from the kids).

Another thing to consider is how much space a person needs for their home office.  I only require a laptop and a phone, so I took over a small (5'x4') nook in the master bedroom.  I found a small writing desk that fits perfectly and I have room for a small lamp and a second monitor. 

My SO works from home but his job required him testing and learning new hardware so he requires more physical space and storage.  Since he needs more space he took over 50% of the spare room and its walk-in closet.  We both have doors we can shut when on conference calls and we share 1 landline (although we are thinking about getting second).

sjc0816

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #85 on: February 02, 2016, 10:44:38 AM »
Good grief!  It's not a NECESSITY. We could also fit all four of us in a one-bedroom apartment and my husband could work at the kitchen table....but WHY do that?  He works his ass off and deserves a small amount of comfort. I'm starting to think maybe I don't belong in this forum. Or I need to find a less extreme version that focuses on high savings rate, simple-living without a pissing match on what is considered "necessary".


Starts thread asking for people's opinions on, "What would be your minimum needs for housing under the following circumstances?"

Gets pissed off when people give minimum needs.

Sigh.

Should have specified that the office needs a door...as part of the "circumstances". My bad.

Merrie

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #86 on: February 02, 2016, 03:26:35 PM »
Personally I would jettison the guest room first, of your desired spaces. Master bedroom, put your desk in a corner or walk-in closet. One boy has a full or queen bed in his room. The other has XL twin bunk beds. The fourth bedroom is hubby's office. When guests come, put the boys in together and the guests can sleep in the other kid's room. Or, 3 bedrooms and convert a den or formal dining room or "bonus room" or whatever for your husband's office. In our house hunt we saw houses where this could potentially have worked, and I think our housing market is probably somewhat similar to yours.

Larabeth

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #87 on: February 03, 2016, 03:52:36 AM »
I noticed you mentioned your boys would be big and you didn't think they would fit in one bedroom.

This is a possibility, but you could also let them have the master suite (or even some form of a MiL suite like some houses have) and then the room would be plenty big?

But I'm all about a comfortable living space.  We're moving from a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment into a 3 bed/2 bath house and it is just the two of us.  I'm not even cringing.  My SO has Crohn's and uses the extra bedroom as his office.  I am looking forward to being able to have my own space and also to get to a bathroom whenever I want!!!!

Mongoose

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #88 on: February 03, 2016, 01:47:36 PM »
Just to chime in on the possibility of a separate building for an office. We built a really swank (French doors, very well insulated, full electrical, tons of natural light, heat/AC) "shed" for around 10k (20'x24' building). No plumbing because we didn't want to fool with frost lines. It easily fit on our lot and we use it for running our business. Calling clients is easily done and the kids don't have to be quiet. On the rare occasion we do client calls in the house, the kids are capable of being quiet. But mine are young enough that falling down and subsequent screaming is fairly likely. We have found that a completely separate building keeps conflicts to a minimum. As a bonus, you could consider more houses if you were open to adding an outside facility.

Our 4 bedroom house is really too big (bought cheap fixer-upper so we took the best cheap place over our 2 bedroom minimum). We don't have a ton of visitors so our guest bedroom sits empty and unused most of the time.