Small is Beautiful (and affordable!)


Great post over at the Madville Times today about home builders scaling back their McMansion community plans for something home buyers can actually afford.  These new plans are angering some who have already purchased homes in communities where they believed they’d be insulated from neighbors who didn’t want or couldn’t afford a couple thousand square feet more than they could actually use.

Cory writes that his community of Madison (and apparently many others) has minimum square footage limits for new construction, and surprisingly (to me, anyhow), many of those limits would preclude the building of a house just like mine, measuring in at a cozy 940 square feet.

One of his commenters noted that these regulations are to keep some sort of consistency of housing sizes in neighborhoods, and others note that smaller houses next to bigger ones decrease the value of the bigger ones.

Gee, I wonder if my neighbors on either side (whose houses encompass about three or more times the square footage of mine) would like to see me throw on a huge addition in order to “keep up appearances” and drive up their property values (and taxes)?  I kind of doubt it.  They probably just want me to scrape and paint (don’t worry, that’ll happen this spring).

If you’re not familiar with the small house movement, pick up a copy of Sarah Susanka’s The Not So Big House.  Not only will you likely drool over the houses pictured, you’ll probably wish you had a nice tidy little cottage that wouldn’t break the bank every time you had to do a little repair-work.  You’ll probably be envious of those who live in easy-to-keep, easy-to-clean, quality-constructed homes like, oh, like mine.  🙂

See the Reuters article that sparked part of Cory’s post, “Homebuilders Shrink American Dream, Spark Wrath” here.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for reading, Rebecca! Big or small, your house is your castle. If you think you can get by on 940 — or 490! — square feet, it’s not my place to tell you that you have to buy more lumber, pour more concrete, and take up more land… especially not if my only motivation is to make my own house worth more money.

  2. Posted by Claire on December 6, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    It would only lower value in the “comps” estimates, which really just assume that everyone lives in tract housing anyways. I hate cookie-cutter neighborhoods and I would gladly pay more to live in a neighborhoods with a variety of sizes and styles and colors of house!

  3. I love having a little house.

  4. Ditto to Magpie: I love our little house.

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