Author Topic: Our house sucks  (Read 11998 times)

Lentils4Lunch

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Our house sucks
« on: September 16, 2016, 07:25:58 AM »
Hi Mustachians,
Would love to hear some advice on our current housing situation. We are unsure about whether to add-on or move. Here are the details:

We love our neighborhood and don't want to move out of this hood. We have two small children and the schools are great.

We don't love our house. It's small. 1492 square feet, spread across three floors (post-war cape cod in DC area). When our second kid was on the way, we needed another bedroom, so we converted our living room on the main floor into another bedroom. (This was the original layout of the house when it was built in 1947.) Now we have no living room. We want a living room. 

If we move, the houses in the DC area are very expensive. We would probably have to pay at least $475K - $500K to stay in this neighborhood and move to a * slightly* bigger house with a better layout. We have about $250K worth of equity in the house now. We about $150K on the mortgage. If we stay, we'll have our house paid off in nine years, when our oldest is in middle school.

On the other hand, we could add a room onto the back of the house. This would probably set us back about  $60K, but it would correct a major deficiency of the house.

Would appreciate some opinions. Are we thinking logically?
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 07:34:13 AM by wetblanket »

Case

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2016, 07:44:00 AM »
Hi Mustachians,
Would love to hear some advice on our current housing situation. We are unsure about whether to add-on or move. Here are the details:

We love our neighborhood and don't want to move out of this hood. We have two small children and the schools are great.

We don't love our house. It's small. 1492 square feet, spread across three floors (post-war cape cod in DC area). When our second kid was on the way, we needed another bedroom, so we converted our living room on the main floor into another bedroom. (This was the original layout of the house when it was built in 1947.) Now we have no living room. We want a living room. 

If we move, the houses in the DC area are very expensive. We would probably have to pay at least $475K - $500K to stay in this neighborhood and move to a * slightly* bigger house with a better layout. We have about $250K worth of equity in the house now. We about $150K on the mortgage. If we stay, we'll have our house paid off in nine years, when our oldest is in middle school.

On the other hand, we could add a room onto the back of the house. This would probably set us back about  $60K, but it would correct a major deficiency of the house.

Would appreciate some opinions. Are we thinking logically?

Orginally from NoVA myself.

Your post doesn't give enough information for anything to make a decision for you, so instead use the below info as factors to consider:

I would say upgrade the house and add the extra room.  The DC area always astounds me whenver I come back to visit; while the rest of the country is puttering along, it is continually growing and expanding at an unbelievable rate.  My main point is, your house is investment whose value will continue to grow with the property value.  I highly doubt the DC housing market will crash anytime soon.

Moving to a new place will have moving expenses and especially getting a new place will be hugely expensive and you wont get that much more space unless you spend a lot more money.  Plus there are the intangibles; you like your current neighborhood, and a new hood brings unknowns.

The other possibility is that you sell and try to move to a different area with lower cost of living (e.g. leave DC and move to a suburb on the edges of NoVA or MD). Obviously would require a larger life change but probably the best way to get more square footage without paying way way more.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2016, 07:57:32 AM »
I'd do the add-on, though I'd see if you can make it less than $60k. There are builders and other experienced people on this forum that could help come up with alternatives if you showed some photographs and possible plans.

The standard real estate commissions from selling your house would come to $24k by themselves.

Fishindude

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2016, 08:01:23 AM »
I live in a home of similar square footage that has three bedrooms which would be more than adequate for a couple and two kids.   It also has a living room and a family room.
Only one bath, but we manage and could have added another half bath had we really felt the need.

I suspect what you have is a layout problem, rather than a square footage problem.  I would talk  to someone in home layout / design business, show them your home, tell them what you would like, and see if there is potential to rearrange and remodel within your existing square footage.

J_Stache

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2016, 08:14:23 AM »
Can you build up?  Often more expensive than building an addition on the back, but if you will need a new roof soon anyway, you can combine expenses.  Especially in a cape, building up can get you a lot more space just from getting full use of the top floor.

topshot

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 11:26:57 AM »
That must be a bad layout or is the lowest floor really a basement? We have the same sq ft in 2 floors - 4 bd, 2 full baths - but also have a full unfinished basement.

I'd be inclined to have MMM come visit for a while and expand your current place. ;)

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 12:22:35 PM »
Also, to ShoulderThingThatGoesUp, Great suggestion on talking to other builders to see if we can do this for less than $60K. We are going to talk to a few local contractors first, then post again with more specifics of the project. Thanks!

Longwaytogo

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2016, 12:38:07 PM »
Also, to ShoulderThingThatGoesUp, Great suggestion on talking to other builders to see if we can do this for less than $60K. We are going to talk to a few local contractors first, then post again with more specifics of the project. Thanks!

Don't know what size your thinking, but I'd be very surprised if you could do ANY size addition in the area for under $60K.

Generally for a 1 story over crawl space your a minimum of $200 per sqaure foot. So a 20' by 20' addition at 400 sq. ft = $80,000. Add more if it includes a kitchen or bath or requires it's own HVAC or upgrading capacity of existing.

I also HATE crawl spaces and have flat out refused to do them the last 10 years and even lost a job or 2 because of it. For another $8-$10K you can get a full basement for storage. Or for another $10K you could even finish that space as well.

Now you've got ~ 800 sq. ft for $100K. much better value IMO.

We've also done a few roof raises on Cape Cods and Split levels. They are probably 100-120 per sq ft depending on finish quality and how many baths. So say your house is 25 X 40 = 1000 sf meaning $100-$120K. So addition vs expanding 2nd floor may be roughly the same cost. But if you already have 2-3 beds and bath crammed upstairs (What it sounds like based on your description) then it may be the extra living space your really after. Although if you did the top maybe you could re-convert that 4th bedroom downstairs to living space.


a1pharm

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2016, 01:10:06 PM »
Force your kids to share a room.

MsPeacock

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2016, 01:18:30 PM »
I live in the DC area in a neighborhood of 1950s center hall colonials, cape cod, Amd the rare rancher. Houses tended to be in the 1200-1400 sq foot range. Many 3 bed / 1 bath configurations. The majority of houses now have additions in one form or another. Bumping up seems common for the cape cod. You'll need to check set back and spacing rules to determine if you can bump up or bump out. The houses in this area that don't have additions are generally sold for much less per square foot because they are regarded as tear downs or guts. If you are planning to stay put in your house in the longer term it may be worthwhile to regain your living room and make the house more habitable. The layouts are generally pretty poor and the third bedrooms are tiny (like 8x9).


Talk to some builders in your area. They will have ideas and recommendations about how to configure the space to meet your needs. You spshould be able to get consultations and bids for free. A talented builder or architect will have a lot of good ideas about making the house work that may not otherwise occur to you. Once you have this information you can start figuring out budget and how you would pay for the addition. 

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2016, 01:21:15 PM »
Force your kids to share a room.
This.  1,500 sq ft sounds like *plenty* for a family of four, at least to me.

Jack

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2016, 01:30:57 PM »
I live in a home of similar square footage that has three bedrooms which would be more than adequate for a couple and two kids.   It also has a living room and a family room.
Only one bath, but we manage and could have added another half bath had we really felt the need.

I suspect what you have is a layout problem, rather than a square footage problem.  I would talk  to someone in home layout / design business, show them your home, tell them what you would like, and see if there is potential to rearrange and remodel within your existing square footage.

+1

My house is similar: "post-war cape cod" (a.k.a. "American Small House") that now has 1500ft2 after the previous owner put an addition on the back. The difference is that it's all on the same level and that two of the three bedrooms are pretty small -- 11.5'x11.5' each -- which means that the common areas feel relatively spacious. I've also got a separate "living room" and "family room" (one at the front and one at the back, separated by the kitchen and dining room). It's plenty big, and although I don't have kids yet, I don't foresee that opinion changing much when I do.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from wanting to renovate my house anyway. Some of the layout isn't as open as I'd like and there are no stairs to the basement (you have to go outside and around). Also, I hate the way the roof looks from the outside. Ideally, I want to add a... I guess "half story" (rooms upstairs with sloping ceilings) or at least an attic with ceilings tall enough that it could be finished later, but I want to do that not because I "need" the space but because I want to fix the house architecturally and because the extra space would be good for resale. (Is that crazy? I think it's a little crazy, but I want to do it anyway.)

I also HATE crawl spaces and have flat out refused to do them the last 10 years and even lost a job or 2 because of it. For another $8-$10K you can get a full basement for storage. Or for another $10K you could even finish that space as well.

+1000

The original half of my house has a basement and the area under the addition has a crawlspace, and it's completely stupid that the previous owner didn't bother to spend the little extra bit of money. It's also a vented crawlspace (and is connected to the unfinished basement), so it causes all sorts of maintenance and environmental problems.

Goldielocks

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2016, 05:49:03 PM »
First, check your local rental homes (in the neighborhood) and see if there is something decent, close to your price range. 
Around here, rentals cost the same or less than buying a home.  (for interest + taxes + insurance).

If you can find something, I would just choose to sign a long lease, and move and rent for 5 years.  I found that we had different neighborhood needs once the kids were in high school.   

Moving is a great excuse to declutter kid things, too.

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2016, 10:14:55 AM »
Thanks for all these replies, guys. This has been very helpful.

I'd just like to respond that our kids already share a room, by the way. We added that room when the second one was on the way because we wanted to sleep on the same level of our house as the kids. Before that, we had three bedrooms on three separate levels.

On Friday, after I posted, we got a quote from our first contractor. He came in at about $65K-70K with an 11X16 addition. So I think that's about in line with what Longwaytogo said about the expense.


nottoolatetostart

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2016, 10:28:40 AM »
I would do the addition. You see yourself there long-term, right?

We just moved to a better location (walking to everything), MUCH better school system....and it improved our quality of life drastically. Since you already like everything, the easiest thing to do change is your home. You will find between all the set up fees (like utilities, taking care of things in the new house over time, new mortgage costs, surprises with the new house, etc) and then costs to sell your home (your buyer wants $x,xxx to take care of something silly), you will be about $20-$30K there. Let alone the stress of doing all of that stuff. You already love where you live.

Do you really need the space? Can you organize things a bit better? Use more vertical storage? Declutter?

Good luck!

Longwaytogo

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2016, 10:59:30 AM »
It's plenty big, and although I don't have kids yet, I don't foresee that opinion changing much when I do.

I don't know, maybe.

But I'll just say my 1500 square foot Cape Cod felt MUCH bigger before adding the dog and two kids.

I'm still fine with it and no plans to go bigger, just saying kids do change it some.

Are you in MD or VA?

Longwaytogo

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2016, 11:33:56 AM »
I know a couple who raised 6 kids in a 1400 sq ft rancher in a middle middle class neighborhood --- they are in their 90's now--- bunk beds in the basement--- it's about needs vs wants and ability to deal with things.......

I bought my Cape Cod from My Great Grandparents estate and they raised 6 kids here prior to an addition they did in the 80's when they needed a first floor bed/bath to age in place so it was only about 1200 square feet then.

So of course it can be done, just priorities needs/wants as you say.

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2016, 11:38:52 AM »
I know a couple who raised 6 kids in a 1400 sq ft rancher in a middle middle class neighborhood --- they are in their 90's now--- bunk beds in the basement--- it's about needs vs wants and ability to deal with things.......

Okay, if you boil it down to needs vs. wants.... of course, we don't NEED a living room. However, we WANT to have a couch to offer people to sit on when they come into our house without having to shuffle them downstairs to the couch in our basement. Okay, I get it, we can certainly make do without and it would be fine. We've been living with this layout for the past two years. We've been making do...

A 1400 sq ft rancher actually sounds ideal. Our similar size house is split between a basement, main level, and an upstairs so not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

I guess I'm frustrated because people are confusing size with layout. The size is not really the problem, it's the layout.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2016, 11:42:32 AM by wetblanket »

pbkmaine

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2016, 01:26:14 PM »
I would suggest that, before you commit to an addition, you have someone come in and give you suggestions for improving the layout. We had a contractor do that when we lived in Maine. A little reworking gave us a lot more functionality.

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2016, 07:27:26 PM »
I would suggest that, before you commit to an addition, you have someone come in and give you suggestions for improving the layout. We had a contractor do that when we lived in Maine. A little reworking gave us a lot more functionality.

Yes, I think that's a great idea. We have some contractors stopping by next week, so definitely going to ask their opinions. We had been kind of approaching this problem as only having two solutions: add an addition or move; but after reading the comments, I've come to realize that maybe there are other possibilities that we haven't thought of yet.

Thanks so much for all your help everyone. So rare to have an online community that is filled with such positive interactions!   

pbkmaine

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2016, 08:18:17 PM »
In the meantime, jot down your thoughts about what does and doesn't work now, and what you need from the house that it does not presently offer you.

Pigeon

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2016, 06:20:47 AM »
I know a couple who raised 6 kids in a 1400 sq ft rancher in a middle middle class neighborhood --- they are in their 90's now--- bunk beds in the basement--- it's about needs vs wants and ability to deal with things.......

Or you could move your family into a nice, spacious refrigerator box or locate an unoccupied underpass.

Dh had very frugal parents who raised 5 boys by warehousing them in an attic bunk room.  It completely sucked.  Dad was an anesthesiologist. I wouldn't recommend it.  The sons do not have pleasant childhood memories.  Now that mom is in her 90s, most of them don't want to step up and help with her.

chrisgermany

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2016, 06:34:50 AM »
If your location is good, stay. Location is the only item of a house that cannot be changed and the main value builder.


Take your time to find the right arcitect-/ builder. The one who can show you what he/she has done to similar houses.
Look into the books on small houses by Susan Susanka. Great ideas to improve structure and add on.
Enjoy your new home!

Longwaytogo

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2016, 06:40:41 AM »
Look into the books on small houses by Susan Susanka. Great ideas to improve structure and add on.

LOVE her!! Used a bunch of her principles when re-designing my Cape in 2004.

Tjat

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2016, 10:14:41 AM »
Another idea...Could you turn the basement into a bedroom for you and move the kid int he living room to the bedroom you two are currently in? The kids would be on the same floor, but you'd have a bit of distance between you (which can be addressed via baby monitor). The other option is that older kid can move into the basement bedroom, but it sounds like your kids are on the younger end.

May not work, but I don't really have a sense from your posts what the layout is and the purpose of each floor/room.

justajane

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2016, 02:58:14 PM »
In a cheaper area, we added 400 sq ft to the back of our house for 75K. This included a dug and poured basement, a deck, a regraded yard, a bathroom, and another roughed in bathroom in the basement. I would probably add 10-15% for DC prices.

Yes, I would definitely "splurge" on a basement if you do the addition. It's priceless space for not much more money.

a1pharm

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2016, 06:37:20 AM »
That 11x16 addition for 70k comes out to about 400/ sqft.  That seems high, but I don't live in a HCOL area.  Given that you are a mustachian, you could DIY parts of the addition and save lots-o-cash.  I just finished drywalling my garage, and saved about 2k AND I learned a skill in the process.  (Instead of buying a drywall screw gun, I got one of these http://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-Drywall-Screw-Setter-DW2014B/202579696 for $0.94 - it worked wonderfully).

Avoid the knee-jerk reaction to throw money at the problem, be creative.

If you are actually serious about getting help w/ your layout, post a schematic of each floor (use MSpaint if you have to), there are a lot of smart folks on here with free advice...

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2016, 07:11:08 AM »
Google Sketchup is a fantastic free way to model a house. I know I'd have fun with it Sunday morning before my family wakes up if you posted it...

h2ogal

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2016, 07:32:08 AM »
We faced a similar choice several years back.  I wanted to sell/move, DH wanted to stay and fix house.   When re ran the numbers it made sense to remodel.   
Lets do one for example - your actual estimate may vary:
  • RE Sales Commission 6% or 24K
    Bank Closing Costs on old and new homes - 8K ( see www.myfico.com/loancenter/mortgage/calculators/closingcosts)
    Cost of moving - DIY Rent a truck or hire a moving company - assume 1K
    Cost of getting the old house in shape to sell (this may mean temporarily converting the kids room back to LR, staging, cleaning, miscellaneous repairs, etc. - 5K
    Costs of making the new house yours - your old furniture/curtains, etc may not fit - 2K
    Legal fees - 1K
    Difference in RE tax old (less assessed value) house vs. New (presumable higher assessed value) - 2K
When we ran the numbers we were way ahead by staying and remodeling.   Because we have been in our house for over 20 years the tax assessed value is much lower that what it would be if we moved into a similar house with same amenities.

Also, DH is in construction industry and we can do many things ourselves and/or "trade" services with others also in the industry.

Fuggled

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2016, 08:08:07 AM »
Thanks for all these replies, guys. This has been very helpful.

I'd just like to respond that our kids already share a room, by the way. We added that room when the second one was on the way because we wanted to sleep on the same level of our house as the kids. Before that, we had three bedrooms on three separate levels.

On Friday, after I posted, we got a quote from our first contractor. He came in at about $65K-70K with an 11X16 addition. So I think that's about in line with what Longwaytogo said about the expense.
I just want to offer a sanity check here.  Are you saying you had three bedrooms and then added a fourth when your second child came along? So now you have 4 but actually only use 2 as bedrooms?  One for you and one for the kids?

If I'm understanding that correctly, it definitely sounds like you have a layout problem, not a space problem.  If you really think you need to expand, I'd advise you wait until you save up for it and not dip into existing accounts. 

I'm definitely not as emotionally invested in this decision as you are, but I think you need to challenge how you prioritize this.  Is it really a need or a want? There's no safety issue or regulatory/legal driver, so it feels like a want. Will this change actually make you happier in the long term, after the newness wears off? Based on research, probably not. Your overall satisfaction with life will be right where it is now within 6-12 months. Is there another way you can achieve the same happiness (repurposing another bedroom, creating outdoor space, selling a child)?

I say all this as a father of two in a 1600 sqft, 3/2 with a crap layout that we've been tweaking for years.

Jrr85

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2016, 08:32:09 AM »
Also, to ShoulderThingThatGoesUp, Great suggestion on talking to other builders to see if we can do this for less than $60K. We are going to talk to a few local contractors first, then post again with more specifics of the project. Thanks!

Don't know what size your thinking, but I'd be very surprised if you could do ANY size addition in the area for under $60K.

Generally for a 1 story over crawl space your a minimum of $200 per sqaure foot. So a 20' by 20' addition at 400 sq. ft = $80,000. Add more if it includes a kitchen or bath or requires it's own HVAC or upgrading capacity of existing.

I also HATE crawl spaces and have flat out refused to do them the last 10 years and even lost a job or 2 because of it. For another $8-$10K you can get a full basement for storage. Or for another $10K you could even finish that space as well.

Now you've got ~ 800 sq. ft for $100K. much better value IMO.

We've also done a few roof raises on Cape Cods and Split levels. They are probably 100-120 per sq ft depending on finish quality and how many baths. So say your house is 25 X 40 = 1000 sf meaning $100-$120K. So addition vs expanding 2nd floor may be roughly the same cost. But if you already have 2-3 beds and bath crammed upstairs (What it sounds like based on your description) then it may be the extra living space your really after. Although if you did the top maybe you could re-convert that 4th bedroom downstairs to living space.

Damn that is a crazy high number per square foot.  A nice master bedroom and master bath addition would be just a little over half that where I live.  That would be hardwood floors, nice molding, high end finishes in bathroom, custom closet organization, etc.  What in the world is driving that cost?  Wages in the D.C. area aren't twice what they are where I live.  I wouldn't think materials would be a huge difference.  I would think it would be competitive enough that builders wouldn't get to price additions by bumping them up to the cost of buying new (which includes a heft $/sq ft for land costs).  What are the costs driving that? 

FrugalFan

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2016, 08:35:57 AM »
I'd like to know more about the layout too. Can you briefly explain what rooms are on each floor? If the kids are sharing a room, is there no way for you and the kids to be on the second floor in two bedrooms so that you can have a living room on the main floor?

mm1970

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2016, 10:55:37 AM »
Hi Mustachians,
Would love to hear some advice on our current housing situation. We are unsure about whether to add-on or move. Here are the details:

We love our neighborhood and don't want to move out of this hood. We have two small children and the schools are great.

We don't love our house. It's small. 1492 square feet, spread across three floors (post-war cape cod in DC area). When our second kid was on the way, we needed another bedroom, so we converted our living room on the main floor into another bedroom. (This was the original layout of the house when it was built in 1947.) Now we have no living room. We want a living room. 

If we move, the houses in the DC area are very expensive. We would probably have to pay at least $475K - $500K to stay in this neighborhood and move to a * slightly* bigger house with a better layout. We have about $250K worth of equity in the house now. We about $150K on the mortgage. If we stay, we'll have our house paid off in nine years, when our oldest is in middle school.

On the other hand, we could add a room onto the back of the house. This would probably set us back about  $60K, but it would correct a major deficiency of the house.

Would appreciate some opinions. Are we thinking logically?
I just want to say, I hear you.

I live in a HCOL place (coastal So Cal).  My house was built in 1947.  2BR, 1BA, 1146 sf, no garage.

I don't want to move and leave the neighborhood.  I really value the tribe that I have.  Though I'd love to have more space.
Trading up to a bigger house would cost a bit. 

Adding on would probably cost $100k (1BR, 1BA), if we could even do it.  Our house is "non-conforming" to the current zoning laws, so maybe the city would just say no.

So far, this means that we just try to keep getting rid of stuff and make do with the house as it is.

catccc

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2016, 11:21:07 AM »
I would stay where you are.  My family of 4 is in about 1,300 sqft, 3 bedrooms, but the kids share a room.  we barely use the 3rd bedroom.  It's perfectly adequate.  I think the choppiness of your house is going to be an asset when the kids are just a teensy bit older- maybe when the youngest is 5-6?  Everyone will appreciate some "away" spaces... I think that is what Susanka calls them.  And you might not need or care to be on the same floor as them after the youngest is maybe 2?

Someone else shared this great link in another post, it might help with increasing functionality:
http://5kids1condo.com/square-foot-hours-designing-24-hour-spaces/

Good luck, I hope you can make this work.  I think studies show that smaller spaces are good for families!

mm1970

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2016, 02:04:41 PM »
I would stay where you are.  My family of 4 is in about 1,300 sqft, 3 bedrooms, but the kids share a room.  we barely use the 3rd bedroom.  It's perfectly adequate.  I think the choppiness of your house is going to be an asset when the kids are just a teensy bit older- maybe when the youngest is 5-6?  Everyone will appreciate some "away" spaces... I think that is what Susanka calls them.  And you might not need or care to be on the same floor as them after the youngest is maybe 2?

Someone else shared this great link in another post, it might help with increasing functionality:
http://5kids1condo.com/square-foot-hours-designing-24-hour-spaces/

Good luck, I hope you can make this work.  I think studies show that smaller spaces are good for families!
Ooh, that was great.  I've been thinking of how to do things like this in our home.  Already the "office" is in our bedroom.  So my older son does homework on the computer, and often reads on our bed.

We don't have a home work space for the kids.  Every once in awhile we talk about swapping bedrooms and giving them the master. The smaller bedroom has no room for a desk, even considering they have bunk beds.

justajane

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2016, 03:21:46 PM »
Damn that is a crazy high number per square foot.  A nice master bedroom and master bath addition would be just a little over half that where I live.  That would be hardwood floors, nice molding, high end finishes in bathroom, custom closet organization, etc.  What in the world is driving that cost?  Wages in the D.C. area aren't twice what they are where I live.  I wouldn't think materials would be a huge difference.  I would think it would be competitive enough that builders wouldn't get to price additions by bumping them up to the cost of buying new (which includes a heft $/sq ft for land costs).  What are the costs driving that?

Where do you live that you can get that for 40K? Like I said, my number is for a relatively low cost area. 400 square feet with poured basement, bedroom/bathroom addition with a small deck. It was 75K. This was not high end anything.

crispy

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2016, 08:03:21 PM »
Can you post pictures? It's always get to have fresh eyes looking at the space.  Also, would it be possible to turn the dining room back to a living room? Maybe get a table that folds away go create a more multi-purpose space.

Glad your baby is okay!

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2016, 08:14:07 PM »
Okay, so I posted a photo that main room that we use as a dining room. You can see that we could probably fit a small couch in there, but it would have to be less than 5 feet. Yes, we could switch to a smaller table and shove a couch in there, but we really love that table. My parents gave it to me. It was the kitchen table from my childhood.

As noted in my previous comment, I realize it's not that bad and I've received a healthy dose of perspective.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 08:15:43 PM by wetblanket »

pbkmaine

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2016, 08:31:31 PM »
If you can do more of a drawing with dimensions, that would be better, but from these pictures I am thinking of the table in a corner with a built in banquette. If you make the banquette deep instead of narrow like a bench, that can give you sofa-like seating. If you make the top of the banquette with a hinged top, you would have a ton of storage, too.

pbkmaine

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2016, 08:33:08 PM »

crispy

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #40 on: September 22, 2016, 09:39:40 PM »
Another idea is to have the dining table butt against the sofa. I have seen that done in a lot of small spaces. You could only use 4 chairs that way, but it would open up a lot of the living room.

Here's a link to help visualize: http://www.myhomeideas.com/room-galleries/airy-holiday-living-room

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #41 on: September 23, 2016, 05:43:40 AM »
Good thing they're just baby teeth, right? Hope your little one is feeling good now. I just saw my seven-year-old niece with front teeth on top for the first time because she lost both falling while a baby, and I had only seen her as a newborn before.

What about just taking down that wall that you put up?

Cromacster

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2016, 06:21:14 AM »
Sounds like my house is very similar to yours and we are also considering a remodel.  We have basically decided it's either remodel or move because, like you, we have come to dislike our house.  The problem for us is the stairway.  It's in the middle of the house and separates the kitchen from the living room.  The only way to improve the main living space is to move the stairs and expand the 1/2 story attic to provide an additional bedroom.  The few quotes we received for a kitchen remodel/move stairway/add dormer and bedroom upstairs have been between 100-150k..yikes haha.  We're taking a long hard look to whether its worth it.

It's a hard decision.  We have considered moving to a comparable to house to what we would have when we remodel.  One of the benefits of remodeling is that you can design it to your own taste, but you do have to live through the remodel.  The addition on the back would probably be easier to live through with kids, but I feel doing the upstairs might be better overall for your house (without seeing pictures or layout).

One thing that would be important is to discuss the remodel with a realtor or appraiser.  Resale should be a factor when considering any major remodel.

FrugalFan

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #43 on: September 23, 2016, 06:35:57 AM »
I'm sorry about your daughter. Those emergency room visits are always so scary and they do tend to put things into perspective.

Thanks for providing the additional layout details. That is a bit of a challenge, especially with just the one room upstairs in the attic! I have two very young kids as well and I can understand not wanting to be too far from them. We have a ranch house with the master bedroom at one end and the kids' rooms at the other end and it was hard for me to get used to them being so far, especially since they slept in our room for so long, but we did get used to it eventually, and we still use our baby monitors to keep tabs on them when they are in their rooms.

I do agree with another poster though that it might not be long before you would feel comfortable putting them upstairs and sleeping on the main floor, or vice versa. So my suggestion would be to try to make the layout work for now, while you save up money for the reno just in case (they might eventually want their own rooms when they're older). If you love where you live, the reno seems to make more sense, plus it is probably cheaper than upgrading to a bigger house and all the associated moving/selling costs. Even if you only save for part of the reno and use a HELOC for the rest, you would be coming out ahead of buying a bigger house (and getting a HELOC is similar to getting a bigger mortgage on a larger house anyway). I would not take money out of your retirement savings for this. 

There are a lot of blogs devoted to small space living and I am sure there would be a way to fit a dining table and a couch/seating area in that room. The banquette idea proposed by pbkmaine is a good one, and it doesn't need to be built in. For example, you could use a settee on one side of the table instead of dining chairs and could easily move it for extra seating when guests are over. Or the dining table against the couch proposed above can work really well too. You could also replace some of the dining chairs with a bench that could be tucked under the table when not in use. It's hard to tell from the photos, but you might also be able to switch the orientation of the table to find wall space for a small sofa.

Jrr85

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #44 on: September 23, 2016, 09:13:41 AM »
Damn that is a crazy high number per square foot.  A nice master bedroom and master bath addition would be just a little over half that where I live.  That would be hardwood floors, nice molding, high end finishes in bathroom, custom closet organization, etc.  What in the world is driving that cost?  Wages in the D.C. area aren't twice what they are where I live.  I wouldn't think materials would be a huge difference.  I would think it would be competitive enough that builders wouldn't get to price additions by bumping them up to the cost of buying new (which includes a heft $/sq ft for land costs).  What are the costs driving that?

Where do you live that you can get that for 40K? Like I said, my number is for a relatively low cost area. 400 square feet with poured basement, bedroom/bathroom addition with a small deck. It was 75K. This was not high end anything.

Southeast.  And when I say not much more than half that, I was referring to the $/ sq ft.  If you did a nice 20X20 addition, it would be a little more expensive per square foot, but still very nice for $120-130 per square foot.  A bigger addition and you could get the price per square foot down around 110 to 115 and it still be nice.  That would be on a slab or conventional foundation, no basement.  And by nice, I mean what I would consider the "builder grade" of of high end finishes.  If you have wide plank wood floors, it will be the engineered wood.  The countertops would be granite in the bathroom, probably not marble and probably on the cheaper options for granite, but still thick granite.  That would be tiled shower and separate soaking tub, not an insert, but again, stuff that looks nice, but not the highest end.   


10dollarsatatime

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Re: Our house sucks
« Reply #45 on: September 23, 2016, 07:16:33 PM »
I didn't see any mention of how much square footage is actually in the basement...  Would it make sense to finish it into two bedrooms and dig out window wells for proper egress?  My city currently has a grant program to help people do just that with their too small or non-opening basement bedroom windows.  That may be a possibility, though even if you had to pay for it yourself, it would certainly be cheaper than an add-on.