McMansions no more: a move toward small houses
If you’re from Florida, you know what a McMansion is. It’s an embarrassingly large (3,000+ square feet), yet somehow mundanely generic house, usually built for just two people – often a second home that is only lived in for part of the year. They are the epitome of conspicuous consumerism and the apex of wasteful and greedy excess. There is no sensible reason to own a McMansion other than “because you can.”
With the emergence of green building and the LEED certification, more efficient housing is becoming “cool” and therefore desirable and socially acceptable, even for wealthier individuals. Instead of the size of the home, people are basing their sense of worth on how much newfangled environmentally-friendly technology they can incorporate into their new home. The key to soothing fragile egos is bragging rights – if they can’t say, “My home is this big” at least they can say, “My home has the newest LED lighting on the market.”
According to an article in GOOD Magazine, a two bedroom, two bath house for two people can comfortably be as small as 900 square feet. Different people have different needs, however, so this number may not work for everyone. If you’re going to build or buy a house, consider the space you actually NEED and would use. Don’t just shoot for the biggest house you can get.
It just so happens that I house two people and a cat in 950 square feet quite nicely, and my house is indeed a 2/2. I don’t feel as though I’m lacking any space at all. And cleaning it is a breeze.
If you’re in the market for a house, try sitting down with pencil and paper and analyzing your true house needs. What areas do you use the most? Which ones don’t you use at all? What spaces would you use if you had them? Be honest.
Buying a smaller home is not a representation of your “fall from grace.” Small houses are easier to maintain, have lower taxes and insurance, and give you extra time and money for the fun things in life like travel and entertainment.