Susan Coleman's Blog
If you ride through the suburbs of America, you’ll likely notice that the houses just seem to get bigger and bigger. Like our taste for large trucks and SUVs, Americans tend towards the idea that bigger is better.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who feel quite the opposite. From this minimalist mindset has emerged the “tiny house.” What exactly is a tiny house?
There is no exact definition. However, most tiny houses are built on wheels--to adhere to local building code--and typically don’t exceed 500 square feet in size.
You might be thinking that’s a bit extreme. And you wouldn’t be alone--Americans have taken advantage of small homes in the form of modular homes, and cottage-style houses for decades.
With the cost of heating and powering a home rising year after year, it’s beginning to make sense to downsize.
So, in this article we’ll talk about what it means to live in a smaller home to help you decide whether it’s a good choice for you.
Barriers to building small houses
If it’s your dream to someday build a small house on a hilltop in your hometown, you might have to face-off with the local zoning committee first. Some of the biggest barriers to building smaller houses are local regulations involving minimum house sizes.
This isn’t a new problem, with towns struggling with the idea of minimum square footage as far back as the 1970s. In spite of this barrier, small house and tiny house proponents have been finding loopholes.
One such workaround involves simply building your house on wheels. However, that isn’t easy to do and it doesn’t always look great either.
Depending on your hobbies and philosophy, living in a small house can be a good or a bad thing. Those who seek to become more minimal in their belongings often find that small houses help them achieve this.
The more things we own the more we have to worry about storing and maintaining them. However, if you value experiences more than objects, living in a small house could save you money and therefore leave you with more funds for traveling and other experiences.
Family is another thing to consider when living in a small house. If you have a large family or pets, living in a small house can be difficult. However, there is something to be said about growing up in a small house (it makes it harder for kids to avoid their parents by playing video games in their room or the basement!).
How to decide if you can manage living in a small house
If you’re downsizing from a larger home it can be scary to lose all of that extra space you were used to. There are a few ways to see if you can adapt to a smaller home, however.
You could rent a small apartment while you search for a new home. This will allow you to acclimate yourself to living in a smaller environment.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of signing a lease, there’s always renting a small property through AirBnB or a camping cottage for a few weeks. Then you’ll have time to notice what you like and dislike about the smaller space and will be able to plan for how to want to deal with those changes if you decide to move into a smaller house.
Deciding whether to accept a buyer's offer to purchase your house can be exceedingly difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you assess the pros and cons of a homebuying proposal and ensure you can make an informed decision.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine whether to accept an offer to buy your home.
1. Examine the Current Housing Market
The current housing market may play a role in your ability to stir up interest in your house. In addition, the real estate sector may impact whether you're able to receive multiple home offers at or above your residence's initial asking price.
To understand the present state of the housing market, you should look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. If houses are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market. Or, if houses linger on the market for many weeks or months before they sell, you may be operating in a buyer's market.
Ultimately, a seller's market may lead to many offers on your house in the foreseeable future. If you receive an offer that fails to match your expectations when you're operating in this type of market, you may want to decline or counter the proposal in the hopes of receiving superior offers down the line.
On the other hand, it usually requires hard work and persistence to sell a house in a buyer's market. And if you receive a competitive homebuying proposal in a buyer's market, you may want to accept this offer.
2. Consider Your Home's Condition
The condition of your house may prove to be a critical factor as you debate whether to accept an offer. If you assess your house's condition closely, you may be better equipped than ever before to make the best-possible decision about a homebuying proposal.
If you feel a home offer is fair based on the current condition of your house, you may want to accept the proposal. Conversely, if you feel a buyer has submitted a "lowball" proposal based on your home's condition, you should not hesitate to reject or counter this offer.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to evaluating a homebuying proposal, it generally is a good idea to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of accepting an offer and determine the best course of action.
Typically, a real estate agent will present a buyer's offer to you and offer recommendations about how to proceed with this proposal. As you assess all of your options regarding a homebuying proposal, a real estate agent will be able to respond to any concerns or questions that you may have too.
Ready to take the guesswork out of reviewing a homebuying proposal? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of deciding whether to accept an offer to purchase your home.
Offer date strategy should always be determined in consultation with the seller. With low rates,low inventory and strong appreciation for the last six or seven years,outstanding sales results have been achieved after as little as one week of exposure on the Multiple Listing Service. Strong attendance at open houses,frequent showings and multiple requests for information are all indicators of successful exposure.
As with anything, this decision shouldn’t be made in a vacuum. Be sure to take current market conditions into consideration. In a hot market, the most motivated buyers see the property in this first week, and will often compete, producing multiple offers for the property. Reviewing offers as they come can be advisable in slow markets or when a property will have more limited appeal. The first offer is often the best offer in these situations.
For sales of properties held in trusts, trustees will typically wait 10 to 14 days to review offers, to demonstrate to beneficiaries that the property was sufficiently exposed to the market before accepting an offer.
Like any aspect of home maintenance, keeping your house safe for family and visitors requires awareness, planning, and attention. If you don't prioritize home safety and security, then there's a greater chance "Murphy's Law" will come into play when you least expect it.
Realistically speaking, the concept that "If something can go wrong, it will (and at the worst possible time)" certainly does not have any basis in fact. Everything that happens is the result of "cause and effect."
Fortunately, we can exert control over cause and effect and use it to our benefit. Here are several safety tips to keep in mind and implement to increase the probability that your home will be a safe place to live, visit, and perhaps grow old in.
- Fire safety is of paramount importance. It runs the gamut from making sure you have working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers to having second floor escape ladders and designated meeting places and exit plans.
- Proper lighting, both inside and out, can not only discourage burglars, but it also reduces the risk of mishaps, such as tripping, falling, or twisting an ankle.
- Shower and bathtub safety is important for everyone, but it's especially crucial for senior citizens and households that have elderly visitors, such as grandparents. A combination of safety railings and non-slip safety decals, stickers, or appliques on the tub floor would be your first line of defense against slips and falls in the bathroom.
- Stair safety is also well worth focusing on. It can be improved in your home in a number of ways, including the installation and reinforcement of hand rails. Making sure stairs are properly illuminated, especially at the bottom, can also help prevent falls and stumbles. Another preventative measure is to put a strip of brightly colored tape across the bottom step in your basement so that people realize there's one more step to go before they reach the floor. Any momentary confusion about that can result in falls and injuries.
- Protective equipment, such as goggles, work gloves, dust masks, and other safety gear may be necessary for certain types of cleaning, home repair work, tree pruning, or construction activities around the house and yard. Ladder safety and awareness is another important topic when it comes to reducing falls and injuries around the house.
- Ensuring child safety is a challenging priority, and can include everything from preventing access to dangerous household chemicals and medications to locking up gun cabinets and placing barriers around swimming pools, windows, and hot stoves. Hardware stores and other retail businesses often carry baby gates, child-resistant cabinet locks, toilet bowl safety clips, electrical outlet covers, and even rubber cushioning for the edges of coffee tables and fireplace hearths.
While this list of safety tips is not all-inclusive, it will hopefully encourage you to become more vigilant and attuned to all the different potential hazards in and around your home and property. If you're concerned about a specific area of home safety, there are free checklists, pamphlets, and articles available through government agencies, educational institutes, non-profit organizations, and the Internet.