With the bubble bursting in the housing boom, folks are looking at their McMansions and the optional-ARM mortgages that got them into those bloated edifications, and they’re feeling burned, barely able to keep up with their minimum monthly mortgate payments.
And, as folks here in hot, summer states like Texas have found out, keeping that McMansion cool in the 100-plus heat may incur a monthly electric bill as high as their mortgage payment. That’s not including the other maintenance costs of owning a McMansion — water, gas, lawn upkeep, etc.
Moreover, the daily and weekly household chores increase with a ginormous house. Unless one can afford regular housekeeping and lawn services, vacuuming or sweeping a McMansion and watering its lawn can become a Herculean task in themselves.
All of these things came to my mind when I was doing weekend chores today — sweeping floors, vacuuming, cleaning out the garage, etc. etc. For a three-bedroom, two-bath house, my house is small: about 1300 square feet, spread out in an “L” shape. My garage is a one-car job that’s multitasked as a home gym, laundry room, and toolshed. So the two vehicles sit on the driveway. The indoor garage door opens into my kitchen, a galley with a tiny breakfast nook at the other end. My living room sits at the vertex of the “L,” with the front door and back door as dual-access to it. My “formal” diningroom area serves as the home office/library. The three bedrooms — including the “master” one — are small. Until we have kids, the other two bedrooms serve as a guest room and the Hubby’s music room.
When we have kids, the guest room will be the kids’ room, and I already have space-efficient Ikea bedroom furniture in my head to look into when the time comes. If we need the other bedroom as well, perhaps the garage can also be converted into an official room, for the Hubby’s music room, to free up the extra bedroom. The open, back patio can become an enclosed sun room, for my home gym as well as access to the back yard.
As you can tell, “moving into a bigger house” is NOT even an option in my head. I like having a reasonable mortgage, so reasonable that the Hubby and I can achieve 50% equity by year’s end, even though we’ve moved into the house two years ago. I like having predictable utilily bills that range between $15 (for the gas water heater in the summer) to $200 (for the electricity in the summer) — those values switch almost exactly in the winter.
I like needing only 30 minutes — tops — to vacuum my entire house. And with a house this small, also being able to find stuff that gets misplaced without too much Sturm und Drang. Also, with a house this small, the stuff I have in it I not only like but even remember why I liked it, which is why I have it around, unlike some folks I know who fill their McMansions with their stuff and even forget what they have.
These are definite advantages of having a small house. And even though my life is too full — hobbies, friends, marriage, pets, active jobs, future kids — for me ever to live in one of those cool micro homes, I find a 1300 square foot 3bed/3bath house is just perfectly sized for me and mine.