Author Topic: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.  (Read 16546 times)

Prairie Stash

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #150 on: December 04, 2018, 09:14:15 AM »
This conversation on house sizes reminds me of driving speed.  Everyone that drives slower than me needs to get out of the way and everyone that drives faster than me is obviously a maniac.  To translate that into this conversation, "My house is just the right size and I can't figure out why you don't have a house like mine."
The variation on sizes of homes people seem to think is enough is much larger than the +/- 20% speed variation I see drivers regularly choosing on highways.

Agreed but the concept itself is isomorphic.
Its a decent enough analogy.

Carrying it farther, is the trend of getting large houses after the kids move out the same as having a mid life crisis and getting a Corvette?

zolotiyeruki

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #151 on: December 04, 2018, 01:10:08 PM »
This conversation on house sizes reminds me of driving speed.  Everyone that drives slower than me needs to get out of the way and everyone that drives faster than me is obviously a maniac.  To translate that into this conversation, "My house is just the right size and I can't figure out why you don't have a house like mine."
That's a fair point.  I guess I'm an anomaly--while my home is very functional, it's also bigger than it needs to be and is under-optimized for space.  It could easily have another (very generous) bedroom and two bathrooms upstairs without making anyone feel squeezed.

DreamFIRE

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #152 on: December 05, 2018, 05:28:35 PM »
...But when I look at possibly relocating to a home like that in my LCOL area, I'm not seeing much of a savings to me in home prices or property taxes for a nice smaller home in a decent neighborhood like the neighborhood I currently live in.  If the savings aren't significant by downsizing to a nice smaller home in a decent neighborhood, I would just as well have around 2000 sq. ft.
That's a fair point--home value doesn't always scale strictly with square feet.   Two similar 4-bedroom houses of 2,800 and 3,500 sq ft are not going to be 25% different in price, assuming all else is equal.  Of course, bigger houses often are built with nicer finishes, which can drive up the cost dramatically.
The smaller houses I have looked at vary - some lower quality and some better quality than my house.  I've looked over dozens, and all things considered, I'm not seeing the savings to justify moving and downsizing, even when I FIRE.  Since I might be relocating when I FIRE anyway, it's just casual curiosity looking at this point.  I don't want to buy a house somewhere else unless I'm pretty certain I'm going to want to stay in the area for a long time.

DreamFIRE

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #153 on: December 05, 2018, 05:41:40 PM »

As a single person (no pets, either), I have about 2500 sq. ft., plus a two car attached garage, and a full basement.  I think I would be comfortable with as little as 1300 sq. ft. of finished living space, a two car garage (preferably attached), and at least a partial basement.  But when I look at possibly relocating to a home like that in my LCOL area, I'm not seeing much of a savings to me in home prices or property taxes for a nice smaller home in a decent neighborhood like the neighborhood I currently live in.  If the savings aren't significant by downsizing to a nice smaller home in a decent neighborhood, I would just as well have around 2000 sq. ft.   3000 sq. ft. is getting excessive, though.  And I don't want to live in a crappy house or bad neighborhood (crime, noise, etc) just to save a little money.
That all sounds so spectacularly large to me. As a single person my apartment was maybe 400 ft^2 (I donít really have any real idea except it was rather small). As a family of four we have 1100ft^2 and about 200 of that is mostly only used by our guests when we have them. I would love a garage,  if you canít have everything where we are.

Yeah, that doesn't surprise me for the Bay Area.  I live in the midwest, smaller city, more of a LCOL area, although property taxes are high as a percentage of home values.  My first house was a little under 1000 sq. ft.  It felt too small for me, especially considering it didn't have a basement, either.  1300-1500 would probably feel fine to me.  My 2500 sq. ft. is more than I need, so if I FIRE and relocate, I'll settle for something smaller.

ysette9

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #154 on: December 05, 2018, 09:30:05 PM »
Out of curiosity as I have never had one, what does one do with a basement and why is it important? Is it just another place to store junk?

couponvan

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #155 on: December 05, 2018, 09:57:11 PM »
Out of curiosity as I have never had one, what does one do with a basement and why is it important? Is it just another place to store junk?

This....I just got rid of one. But here are a couple other items:

1) Home gym-assumes you actually work out (my DH did-I should have).
2) Save your life in a tornado. This is legit. I spent a lot of hours down there during scary storms, but hating it.
3) Deep freezer/pantry and wine storage.
4) Spider nursery!

We just moved to a less tornado prone area. I am putting in an interior room with no windows on the main level, but no basement. Youíre probably better off paying gym fees, and not buying freezer items on sale for the cost of heating and cooling the space. Our attic will be the new basement equivalent.

sol

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #156 on: December 05, 2018, 11:37:24 PM »
Out of curiosity as I have never had one, what does one do with a basement and why is it important? Is it just another place to store junk?

In some parts of the country (mostly northern parts) basements were a traditional part of all house construction.  They wanted to put the foundation below the frost line, so they had to dig it down deep.  In places where local geology makes that easy, why not?  They were cool and damp and a good place to store food and wine.

Then we started adding fridges to our kitchens, and dehumidifiers and sump pumps to our formerly damp basements, and suddenly they became giant utility closets.  The basement in the house I grew up in housed the furnace and the water heater and the washer/dryer, and a toolbench and a little pantry where we kept canned goods. 

Some parts of the country, mostly the southern parts, typically don't have basements because there was no need to avoid frost heave on the foundation, or because the geology didn't allow it.  It's a total bitch to dig a basement in limestone.  Swampy areas like the everglades would keep a basement flooded at all times.  Desert areas like Arizona can give you clay displacement that's worse than frost heave.   You avoid all of those problems by just building on slab, and if you don't need the depth for frost reasons anyway then why bother?

Huge portions of our built environment are designed the way they are because of interactions between local geology and climate, in ways that most people never see or understand. 

Linda_Norway

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #157 on: December 06, 2018, 01:22:30 AM »
We have a basement where the water heater stands. The rest of the room has storage racks that are off the floor. We keep paint cans there and some outdoor stuff, like tents, in large, closed, plastic crates. There used to be some bicycles too, but those are sold now.

Our basement has been flooded (untechnical construction error by previous owner) and has been invaded by mice (DH's fault for storing food in the basement and presuming mice can't climb).

Cranky

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #158 on: December 06, 2018, 05:25:40 AM »
My basement contains the furnace/water heater/laundry, plus a bathroom. (It's a pretty standard basement, not a fancy walk out.)

It's got tiled walls and indoor outdoor carpeting.

When my kids were little, it was the playroom, and they could make as big a mess as they wanted. The toddler could ride her trike and paint and use play dough. We had a big party for the department every winter and hired babysitting teens to keep the kids downstairs. It was awesome!

Now it's the Room Where We Do Stuff - dh has his winemaking stuff set up there (the pottery is out in the garage, but they do bring some things downstairs in the winter), the treadmill is down there, and my sewing "room" is at one end.

There's a storage area for out of season things. It makes a huge difference in our usable space.

A mom

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #159 on: December 06, 2018, 07:07:34 AM »
In my neighborhood every fifth house has been upsized, most doubling the square footage.  Itís created serious drainage problems as more yard has been built on and trees have been cut down. What really troubles me about large houses is the same thing that troubles me about large SUVs: they have a serious detrimental effect on the environment. Houses are going from one large AC unit to two or three. Three refrigerators?  I bet theyíre drinking bottled water.   Sigh.

Thank you. I canít believe I got so far into this thread without reading a mention of environmental impac. Thatís the number one reason we wonít move to a bigger house.

I'm a red panda

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #160 on: December 06, 2018, 07:51:48 AM »
Out of curiosity as I have never had one, what does one do with a basement and why is it important? Is it just another place to store junk?

Mostly hide from tornadoes. That's why I wouldn't have a house without one where I live now.

But our basement is finished and included in the square footage of our house (2,500 square foot with basement; 1,400 without) Our basement has 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a living room, so it's basically where the kids live. Upstairs has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room, and kitchen. In the basement, there is also an under the stair closet, like many 2-story houses have (we have a 1-story with basement) and a utility room that has the furnace and water heater.  We do store stuff in that room, as we don't put anything in the attic to prevent disturbing the insulation since it gets so cold in the winter.

When I lived in Texas we had a 2-story house that was essentially the same, except the 2nd story was above ground instead of underground, and the attic was used heavily since there were no storage rooms. Where I lived there,the water line (and need to dynamite to dig) did not allow basements.

ysette9

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New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #161 on: December 06, 2018, 08:07:15 AM »
The tornado thing is not something I had remembered and makes total sense. If I lived in tornado country I’d probably want most of my house to be underground. :)

KBecks

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #162 on: December 06, 2018, 08:32:25 AM »
There aren't that many tornadoes in my area, but when there is a tornado, it needs to be taken very seriously.  They are also seasonal, so it's not a constant worry.

MMMarbleheader

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #163 on: December 06, 2018, 10:29:59 AM »
My Italian grandparents had a small ranch. Upstairs was just for sleeping. The kitchen, dining room and living rooms were just basically decoration.

They lived in the basement pretty much year round. My grandfather built a second kitchen so my grandmother could cook the messy food. They had a wood stove for the winter and it stayed cool in the summer.

Even holidays we spent in the basement because everyone couldnít fit upstairs.


Cassie

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #164 on: December 06, 2018, 10:36:48 AM »
When we lived in Kansas we bought a house with a basement because we had a lot of tornados. The upstairs was 1100 sq ft and the basement had family room, 2 bedrooms, bathroom and office area. The kids were teens and hung out down there.  Now in the West very few homes have basements.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #165 on: December 06, 2018, 11:59:14 AM »
Out of curiosity as I have never had one, what does one do with a basement and why is it important? Is it just another place to store junk?
A basement is the best place in the house for a home theater system. A lack of windows makes it easy to control lighting levels, and you only have to be concerned with sound proofing the ceiling.

sol

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #166 on: December 06, 2018, 12:02:53 PM »
A basement is the best place in the house for a home theater system.

Also the best place for any other activity that requires privacy, darkness, and sound proofing.  Like a band practice space, or a sex dungeon.

Chris22

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #167 on: December 06, 2018, 12:34:33 PM »
I had a basement in my last home, an 1800sq ft (plus basement, ~1k finished space/rest unfinished) and in my current home I don't really (have an English basement, ~500sq ft, 90% finished + mechanical room, and a crawl space).

Basements are fantastic for storage.  Things like seasonal decorations (Christmas tree), off season clothes (bulky sweaters/coats), baby stuff (my kids are 5 years apart in age, I've got bins upon bins of clothes and toys that my youngest will age into over time), outdoor stuff in the off season (bring in the patio furniture so it lasts longer), and bulk purchases (nice to have a place for the Costco sized TP/paper towels/Etc.) as well as a pantry for canned goods, etc.  They're also good for giving kids a place to go nuts and not disturb the adults, especially in the winter.  Also, in my last house we had our home office in the finished part of the basement, so someone could work (WFH, grad school, pay bills, whatever) and not be disturbed by others in the rest of the house.  In my current house, I don't really have a place to work that is separate from the rest of the house, especially when the kids are running around. 

I do think there are a couple other things going on with this trend that people might not consider:

-A 4k house in, say, FL, is not that different than a 2k sq ft house with basement in the North.  A house on a slab means either inconvenient attic storage (okay for small seldom used stuff, but not really for the big pack of TP or trying to shove the Christmas tree up the ladder) or you stick it somewhere in the main living space (or, I suppose, clutter up your garage and potentially have to park outside). 

-features; a small house is probably not going to have a walk in closet, an eat-in kitchen, a separate home office, etc etc etc.  I may not want a 3k sq ft house, but I might want those features and if it takes buying a 3k house to get them, fine.  Sure, you can probably custom build a small home with premium features, but building your own home is not likely going to be cheaper than buying something existing that's bigger. 

-Finally, quality of space.  My current house is decent sized (1200 + 500 finished basement) but there are some exceptions.  The bathroom is small, so it's a pain to give the kids a bath.  The MBR is small, so my wife and I bump into each other when we put laundry away, or get ready in the morning trying to get to closets, dressers, etc.  The kitchen is a good size, but there's one awkward spot in front of the fridge meaning if two people need to get stuff from the fridge (cleaning up after dinner, getting the kids breakfast in the AM) it is difficult to move around.  None of these are life changing problems, but when we buy our next house, we will seek to remedy them, and it likely means adding square footage.  Just because I want an extra 20 sq ft in my bedroom doesn't mean I want 500 more sq ft in my house, but they probably come together, even though I don't need a bigger living room than I have now. 

patchyfacialhair

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #168 on: December 06, 2018, 01:24:37 PM »
I had a basement in my last home, an 1800sq ft (plus basement, ~1k finished space/rest unfinished) and in my current home I don't really (have an English basement, ~500sq ft, 90% finished + mechanical room, and a crawl space).

Basements are fantastic for storage.  Things like seasonal decorations (Christmas tree), off season clothes (bulky sweaters/coats), baby stuff (my kids are 5 years apart in age, I've got bins upon bins of clothes and toys that my youngest will age into over time), outdoor stuff in the off season (bring in the patio furniture so it lasts longer), and bulk purchases (nice to have a place for the Costco sized TP/paper towels/Etc.) as well as a pantry for canned goods, etc.  They're also good for giving kids a place to go nuts and not disturb the adults, especially in the winter.  Also, in my last house we had our home office in the finished part of the basement, so someone could work (WFH, grad school, pay bills, whatever) and not be disturbed by others in the rest of the house.  In my current house, I don't really have a place to work that is separate from the rest of the house, especially when the kids are running around. 

I do think there are a couple other things going on with this trend that people might not consider:

-A 4k house in, say, FL, is not that different than a 2k sq ft house with basement in the North.  A house on a slab means either inconvenient attic storage (okay for small seldom used stuff, but not really for the big pack of TP or trying to shove the Christmas tree up the ladder) or you stick it somewhere in the main living space (or, I suppose, clutter up your garage and potentially have to park outside). 

-features; a small house is probably not going to have a walk in closet, an eat-in kitchen, a separate home office, etc etc etc.  I may not want a 3k sq ft house, but I might want those features and if it takes buying a 3k house to get them, fine.  Sure, you can probably custom build a small home with premium features, but building your own home is not likely going to be cheaper than buying something existing that's bigger. 

-Finally, quality of space.  My current house is decent sized (1200 + 500 finished basement) but there are some exceptions.  The bathroom is small, so it's a pain to give the kids a bath.  The MBR is small, so my wife and I bump into each other when we put laundry away, or get ready in the morning trying to get to closets, dressers, etc.  The kitchen is a good size, but there's one awkward spot in front of the fridge meaning if two people need to get stuff from the fridge (cleaning up after dinner, getting the kids breakfast in the AM) it is difficult to move around.  None of these are life changing problems, but when we buy our next house, we will seek to remedy them, and it likely means adding square footage.  Just because I want an extra 20 sq ft in my bedroom doesn't mean I want 500 more sq ft in my house, but they probably come together, even though I don't need a bigger living room than I have now.

And, when the weather gets blizzard-like, kids can ride bikes or play around roughly in an unfinished basement while being cooped up. It's why we plan to keep ours unfinished at least for another decade plus.

mm1970

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #169 on: December 06, 2018, 02:01:43 PM »
Out of curiosity as I have never had one, what does one do with a basement and why is it important? Is it just another place to store junk?
As everyone already said: tornadoes.  I grew up in an area that would have them occasionally.  Every 10 years or so.  We didn't have a basement.  If I moved back to that area, I'd want one.

People with basements in the northeast, where I grew up:

- Water heater, heating oil, furnace
- laundry, including lots of space to hang dry
- second kitchens, for beer making or canning
- food storage
- spare bedroom/ play room
- general storage
- off season stuff

I live in So Cal, in 1100 sf with no garage, basement or attic.  So: basically no storage.  We have an 8x10 shed in the back yard, and that's where we store our bicycles, Thule box for the top of our car, and power tools.

We've improvised - our front porch has its own foundation.  So my husband put leftover bricks under there.  So we unscrew the small screen and crawl in there.  That's where our camping gear and our Christmas tree and decorations live.

If you live where it gets cold, you may have more gear.  Skiing stuff if you ski, winter clothing even if you don't.  If you go to lakes in the summer, then maybe some blow-up type things.

I played outside as a kid, but I do see where a full finished basement is nice in the winter to let the kids run.  Even now, if it's a rainy day and my kids don't get recess, they get a little wild and crazy.

I think many of us Californians have just adjusted downward because of lack of space and affordability.  It helps that we don't need as much in the way of multi-season gear.

soccerluvof4

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #170 on: December 06, 2018, 02:31:23 PM »
Out of curiosity as I have never had one, what does one do with a basement and why is it important? Is it just another place to store junk?
A basement is the best place in the house for a home theater system. A lack of windows makes it easy to control lighting levels, and you only have to be concerned with sound proofing the ceiling.





To answer you question as to why are they important- Primarily in the Midwest most places require a 4' Freeze wall for the foundation. For the added cost of to go to 9' to have 8' of finished ceiling height (Give or take) as long as you have 2 exits of which one can be a window that meets local code requirements it can count as square footage and you can include (with the right widow requirements) bedrooms as true bedrooms. So for the cost to add the 4' and to finish the basement you can add alot more value for a lower building cost. Plus for all the other reasons people mentioned its great to store all your mechanical s as well as other things.

Kahooli

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #171 on: December 06, 2018, 03:26:46 PM »
And to have steam heat you need a boiler pit anyway! So basements are great!

DreamFIRE

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #172 on: December 06, 2018, 09:01:58 PM »
Out of curiosity as I have never had one, what does one do with a basement and why is it important? Is it just another place to store junk?

It looks like you already got a lot of good answers.  I also have an 8' pool table in my basement with plenty of room to take edge shots without any walls getting in the way.  But, I'm not into that as much these days and will probably just let it go with the house.

ysette9

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #173 on: December 07, 2018, 04:06:15 PM »
Interesting. I feel like we have to be so much more vigilant about our crap collection with no basement or garage or attic storage space. It makes me feel like one person’s 1200 ft^2 living space is not necessarily equivalent to someone else’s. My husband default is to keep stuff in case we need it later. My default is to toss anything we aren’t actively using because it is clutter. We do have two sheds in our yard for tools and bikes and camping gear but we can’t keep a lot of the stuff described upthread as others do. Fortunately we don’t need a bunch of weather gear as someone else mentioned or it would be an untenable situation.

dustinst22

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #174 on: December 09, 2018, 11:41:12 PM »
I wish we had basements here in socal, I love them.  Just the absolute quiet makes them a great place to read, study, or like mentioned above, home theater/man cave.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2018, 11:42:55 PM by dustinst22 »

Miss Prim

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #175 on: December 12, 2018, 03:11:02 PM »
We have a walk out basement.  We finished it when our kids were teenagers and it gave us another bedroom, living area. small kitchen and bathroom.  My son lived down there when he was going to college in the area.  He had his own little apartment and it didn't cost us any money.  Now we have it rented to a single guy in his 30's.  I would love to downsize and move to something easier to take care of, but would lose the money the rental makes and chances are our taxes might be higher (we have been here 25 years.)  I'm kinda stuck here!  But at least my house is only 2250 sq. feet (plus basement is 1100).  Still it is too big for us now.

DreamFIRE

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #176 on: December 12, 2018, 03:21:30 PM »
But at least my house is only 2250 sq. feet (plus basement is 1100).  Still it is too big for us now.

That's 3350 sq. ft. then.  Indeed, that's a pretty big house.

My basement is a walk-out also.

Awesomeness

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #177 on: December 12, 2018, 05:16:55 PM »
My house is quite perfect for me. 1947 2 bed 1 bath, 918 sq ft. Totally renovated to the studs. I initially wanted the basement to stay unfinished but one thing led to another and lots of money went into the basement. Itís now a legal bedroom, I added an egress window.  I did put extra w/d connections and zoned the hvac separately during the construction. It also has a water proofing system and three sump pumps.  Itís a stand alone apartment that I rent to my daughter and her husband.  So basically my home is a 3 bed 2 bath 1800 sq ft. 

If I lived here while itís empty I could see spending hot months down there to save on utilities.  Itís a nice space.

I didnít insulate between the floors well enough so that was a miss, I was thinking at most one of my kids may live there but wasnít thinking full apartment. I divorced and needed more income so I spent more to tweak it and make it safe to sleep in then I planned to find someone to share the house with. I was open to living down there but ended up taking the first floor when my daughter said she wanted to rent it, everything worked out well. 

Itís a nice flexible house. Would be a great family home and if ever both my kids need to live w me Iíll rent them the upstairs and take the basement.   

I also have many great features that even new expensive homes donít have and my taxes are a third of theirs. Iíve got tile and wood floors, a 5x5 foot walk in shower and 42in all wood kitchen cabinets. The last two homes Iíve bought donít have tubs or dining rooms and I donít miss them. Iíve used ikea islands or contertops to make large work/eat spaces. Right now the island I have will seat 4 comfortably, pretty nice for a ďsmallĒ home. 

Of course all this was very expensive and fixing all the basement water issues was stressful.  I actually fixed one myself, dug down to a pipe that was leaking, they had caulked around it, I replaced it w hydraulic cement and it was fixed. Felt pretty badass.  I got ripped by a contractor on another leak so I was determined to fix this in myself.  Anyway total I have in the house is probably 180.  Itís maybe worth 150 on a good day.  The basement rental project has broken even so itís nice to be in the profit phase.



powskier

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #178 on: December 12, 2018, 05:40:18 PM »
Out of curiosity as I have never had one, what does one do with a basement and why is it important? Is it just another place to store junk?
We have a small kitchen, 2 bedrooms and a living room in our basement. It brings in $1300/month. Basements are great.

ETwagon

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #179 on: December 13, 2018, 01:43:00 AM »
 I doubt this is actually a trend, besides what's to not understand? People are different. No one should give a shit what size house others choose and what so called 'clown' things they spend their money on? Have at it. That's why it's called their money and not your money. It's pretty simple. Oh but the 'More Mustachian Than Thou' crowd so enjoy looking over their Dollar General cheaters and down their noses pointing out the evils of not being like them. 

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Re: New Trend I am noticing that I do not understand.
« Reply #180 on: December 13, 2018, 07:11:06 PM »
Out of curiosity as I have never had one, what does one do with a basement and why is it important? Is it just another place to store junk?

Currently my unfinished basement stores extra toilet paper, is where my mechanical (heater, water heater etc.) are located.  Also it serves as my winter workout room with a treadmill and my bike up on a trainer. 

As a kid, out basement held the "rec room" basically a 2nd family room but also the place other than my room where one could leave one's Barbie village set up for play tomorrow.