Choose Your Lifestyle




Homes are reworking spaces

Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka

Not So Big House

Reworking spaces in homes is a  lesson from the National Association of Homebuilders annual show that applies to remodeling older homes as well as building new ones. Read their comments about house design for creativity and cost savings.

Formal living rooms and formal dens are being used less. Even home offices are used less as many of us tend to use tablets elsewhere in the house or outside on the patio or dock.  So, more emphasis is placed on a combined activity area in homes: the kitchen, family room and eating area all as part of one large space where we can interact. An office space may be an alcove, a second pantry, or even a window seat.

All these ideas bring me back to Sarah Susanka’s series of books based on The Not So Big House. Her first book, back in 1998, was an eye opener. She advocated quality over quantity, useable space over more square footage. Charm and utility. She parlayed her first book into a series, but my favorite is still her original The Not So Big House.

What brings you happiness in a house? How can you be apart but nearby? How can views allow space to be shared?

As homeowners are more concerned than ever about expenses, from property taxes to insurance to utility costs – great design is more important than ever.

Would you like some help in finding your new home or suggestions for improving the one you have? Contact The Simms Team at ALVA International, Inc real estate.


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Consider downsizing now before you retire

Are you cliff living? Jeffrey Christakos uses this term when you stay in your big house waiting for retirement, then to change work, finances and home all at the same time.

Should you wait to downsize? Too many people compare today’s prices to those at the market high and hope that by waiting a few more years prices will return to that level. Not so fast. If the value has dropped 50%, it now has to increase 100% to get back to that level. There’s no guarantee how soon the economy will recover nor how long low interest rates will continue.

New homes being built are smaller than a few years ago. There’s been some cutback in the extent of luxury options.

Would you buy your current home today? That’s the magic question. If, due to family size, location, finances, changing interests, you wouldn’t – then consider right sizing now. It may also reduce your expenses, helping you transition to lower income when you retire or semi-retire. There are many options from a downtown St Petersburg condo to a waterfront home, from Snell Isle to Costa Rica.

If you aren’t ready to move, you may want to consider buying your retirement home today while prices are low and renting it out in the meantime.

Want to talk abut these options? Call the Simms Team at 727-898-2582 or email us.


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Is this a good time to downsize in St Petersburg Florida?

Downsizing in St Petersburg

 Yes, it’s a good time to downsize in St. Petersburg Florida. True, you won’t be able to sell your current home for as high a price as you could have in 2006-2007. I think it will be a long time before we see those prices again, and your cost of getting there may be much more than the difference in sales prices. You also should consider how the value of what you’re purchasing will change. 60% of buyers in the US are considering downsizing. If the demand is for smaller homes, the cost of those should rise faster than for larger homes.

Often downsizing means downpricing as well. If you’re going to spend only a portion of the proceeds from selling your current home, then you’ll have the difference to invest, save for a rainy day, or use for vacations or living expenses. Sometimes downsizing means decreasing the size of your home but increasing the amenities. In that case, you wouldn’t gain any cash, and may even spend more money on your new home.

There are still advantages to going smaller: your utility costs should decrease (you may even get a greener home that’s more efficient); your maintenance costs should decrease. If you also downsize your “stuff” you’ll have less to clean and maintain. It can be refreshing to clean out and live with less. You can increase your free time.

If you’re moving from a house to a condo, you no longer need to coordinate everything that needs to be done around your house and yard. You may save money because of group discounts on things like cable and internet. Common areas may provide activity space that you didn’t have or need before, such as a billiard room, a gym, library or card room.

If you’re thinking about downsizing but concerned about current property prices, let’s talk about your options. Call us or email us to set up a time to talk about it.


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