What is your definition of a small home? How much living space do you need and/or want?
As a Realtor, I always have this discussion with my buyers before we start looking for homes. One person’s cubicle is another person’s mansion.
Aside from personal preference, affordability figures into the equation prominently. Whether renting or buying, once we move out of mom and dad’s home, most of us face a reality check concerning how much space we would like vs. how much we can afford. The calculations becomes even more complex when you fold in factors such as location and condition. Again, when starting to look for a home — especially a first home — I ask my clients to prioritize A) location B) price C) condition, and D) size (sq. footage). It’s usually not an easy task.
Most couples tell me that they can’t imagine living in a house that is less than 1000 sq. ft. Interestingly, many single individuals feel they need about that same minimum just for themselves.
Many of the houses that were built in the first half of the 20th Century (at least, in this part of the country; I don’t know about other areas) were very simple and plain-looking 2 bedroom/1 bathroom homes averaging about 750 sq. ft. Brokers often refer to such homes, built in the mid 1940’s, as “war boxes.” They were intended as affordable housing for all the men (and women) returning from WWII. Presumably, most would get jobs, get married, start families and then move into bigger houses. Thus these houses were dubbed “starter homes.”
Of course, much of the time, the amount of space we think we “need” is influenced by the amount of space we are used to. I worked with one couple who moved here from Hawaii. They were amazed by how much more square footage they could get here in Seattle for what they paid in Hawaii. Europeans, I’m told, are also used to living in much smaller spaces than Americans are. It’s hard to argue that we are not spoiled.
So, back to my original question. What is your definition of a small home?
I am about to list a property that is host to perhaps the smallest free-standing (as opposed to a condominium, co-op or townhouse) house in West Seattle… just 380 square feet! That’s about the size of many RV’s and studio apartments! The house is situated on a large 7,560 square foot lot, however, so the potential for building a bigger home is there.
Originally built in 1920, the house was rebuilt from the studs out in 2004. It’s in great condition, move-in ready and absolutely adorable. The challenge for me, as the broker, will be to find a buyer who is comfortable in such small living quarters. Who do you know who might fit that description?
Just out of curiosity, what is the smallest space you have ever lived in?