Friday, April 13

So This is What Oversized Means in a Home?

I got an update from Zillow and decided to check out a house in my neighborhood. It was the same house as ours, but something seemed different. Exact layout and room sizes, it seemed, but it just felt like a different house somehow (in the photos). Let's see if you can tell (it took my daughter about a half hour).

 I know, they are flipped and there are some cosmetic differences. The house on the top looks more like our house in many ways, but there's a fundamental and huge structural difference that makes the photo on the bottom more like our house overall.

Do you see it? Look at the space above the pantry doorway. The same amount of space above the cabinets. Basically, you have the same house with one being about 18 inches taller than the other one. That was weird to me, and it's not reflected in any of the tax assessor's documentation. Zillow and the other home websites don't seem to have a qualifier for this, either, but the realtor who sold us the home wrote it up as "oversized." And it makes a difference, but I'm not sure what the real name is for this type of home.

When I toured the house, it felt bigger than other houses I'd seen, even if those had similar square footage. It WAS bigger, if you measure in cubic feet, I suppose. It's not like it's usable space in most ways, though we do have really high shelving units in our spare bedroom. And it's probably typical in Florida for the one-story homes to have high ceilings, but this is a two story house, which is why two ceiling heights in the same floor plan don't make sense to me.

The staircase needs to be longer in our house than the other one. By one or two steps. That throws off the landing area or upstairs hallway. Does that mean we have a bigger loft (next to the stairs) but smaller bedrooms (across from the hall)? Or maybe that house has an oversized landing at the bottom of the staircase? I'm not really sure, but I assume there's a shift somewhere, unless the rise of our staircase is just higher--that makes the most sense, but with building codes and whatnot, I'm not sure if that's how it works.

There are benefits to having the same floor plan and LOWER ceilings. It's easier to clean and cheaper to heat and cool, so more efficient with the same amount of space, technically. Overall, I'm glad we have the higher ceilings, at least in two of the rooms. I can fit a TV above the fireplace, but the house with less ceiling height would not. My wife can use our converted dining room to workout, even as a ceiling fan spins overhead. And we can store more in our storage room/spare bedroom.

If you ever have the choice between an oversized house and a standard sized house, consider all the pros and cons. I bet it cost more to build this house, and I like the feel of the extra space, but it's not reflected in resale value, and it ends up costing more.

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