With all the talk of being energy-efficient, and eco-friendly, and greener than your neighbor there is a shift happening in real estate. It has been slowly growing over the years, and with the stimulus package money it is building momentum. I think the high gas prices had nudged a few people to consider these issues also…
Rightsizing in this context is a conscious, practical and psychological evolution in the way one lives one’s life, a process that enables people to create new surroundings that will profoundly impact the way they feel and behave. It leads to simplifying, de-cluttering, perhaps even redesigning one’s environment. It may even prompt a move – either to smaller, more practical quarters or to a home (or homes) more suited to your needs. The transition will, if executed properly, liberate you from many real-life burdens and free you in ways you cannot now imagine.
from Rightsizing Your Life by Ciji Ware
There is a lot more to this concept than what we normally think of as “downsizing”, but in the real estate world the application of rightsizing determines the house you live in – how large, how far from work/family it is, and how much land or what kind of view you need.
Building “Gem” homes
The median size of homes in the U.S. peaked in 2006 at 2,237 and has dropped slightly each years since then.
Builders are catching on that bigger isn’t always better. Many people are happy to live in a smaller house when it is as functional as a larger alternative. A good floor plan is golden, and I have seen many homes where there were hundreds of square feet of unusable space – like long halls leading behind a kitchen.
The bonus to this is that smaller homes are usually more efficient to heat and cool, and to update down the road. Everyone loves saving money on monthly costs.
Because smaller homes cost less to build, owners can afford to include the upgraded finishes they hoped for. This can include luxury materials like stone or “Green” upgrades like wood floors and low VOC paint.
Sara Susanka, author of The Not So Big House
“It was a mass thump on the head (after 9/11) as we realized that things are not as certain as we assume. It has made everybody stop and question, ‘Is this what I really want?’
What they really want — in real estate terms — is more intimacy and more manageable energy costs, she said, after talking with consumers. They’ve shared similar sentiments with builders, some of whom are starting to build smaller.
from USA Today
In a recent NAHB survey, 89% of builders said they were constructing or planning smaller homes than they were before the recession.
What about you?
Stop for a moment and consider what you want in your life versus what you have accumulated.
Big difference, right?
There are several options to find your “right” house in Alachua County.
Consider Remodeling: Do you need to move or can you make changes to your current home that will keep you happier? Maybe remodeling is an option that can work for you, and decorating can help re-purpose rooms to fit your lifestyle.
Buy an Existing Home: Are you looking for a home to move into soon, and maybe has most of the kinks worked out already? There are several “Gems” for sale right now if you can find them.
With homes more affordable now than they have been in years many buyers are using the cash they save to upgrade systems right off the bat – like installing insulated windows or a high-efficiency air conditioner.
Find a New Home: Several local builders are responding to new shifts in how people want to live. For example, in Longleaf there are several efficient and upscale homes being built by Robinshore and by Tommy Williams. Town of Tioga has always been designed around the efficient use of space.
Kathleen, I agree completely that there is a very clear shift in the marketplace today. In our experience, smart home buyers are looking for efficiency not only from an energy standpoint but efficiency in the use of space. We have devoted a huge effort to creating floorplans to meet these demands. At the same time retaining an outstanding curb appeal and value.