Post # 1
Fi and I have been renting a townhouse in a really awesome neighborhood for the past three years. The rent is good and we generally like living there, except the place is really old and in desperate need of renovation, and the kitchen is TINY. There is zero storage space in the kitchen and no dishwasher. Our lease ends pretty soon and we are trying to decide whether to stay where we are or move to an apartment in a less hip location, but with newer appliances and a bigger/better kitchen. What’s more important to you? Space or location?
Post # 3
For right now, location is more important to us. We’re young, it’s just us, we’re in grad school, so being in a hip neighborhood close to downtown and close to school was our priority. Also, we wanted to be walking distance from everything. We don’t need a ton of space. So, we have an AWESOME, brand new condo, with a stunning kitchen, and we love it. HOWEVER, once we’re ready to have kids, in a couple of years, space will be much more important. Kids need room to spread out!
Post # 4
In my opinion, in NYC, it’s all about location. I KNOW that we could afford a bigger place in Queens or Jersey, but I want to live in Manhattan. I’m not set on a “cool” neighborhood per se (we live on the Upper East Side) but being in Manhattan and accessible to things is WAY more important to me.
Post # 5
I think location is obviously really important but at some point you have to decide when to grow out of your current space.
Post # 6
I think if the choice was really between tiny house/great location and great house/terrible location I’d go for the good location because I’d be thinking about resale…. but I’m not sure that dichotomy is exactly correct always because sometimes there are compromises. FI and I live about 20 min drive from downtown which is a totally reasonable commute in a newer community that I really like, but its definitely NOT the ritzy area of town. Its just young professionals and people with little kids mostly. We could afford a really great brand new house here that we LOVE, or we could afford a small and really outdated house in a ritzy area. For us it was a no-brainer.
Post # 7
I would try to balance the two. When we signed our new lease we had to pick between the tiny places where were walking distance to work and school, or the really nice one about 3 miles away. (For our city, 3 miles might as well be another country!) We chose the nicer place because it’s the first place we’ll have together and we wanted to have a more “grown up” place, rather than a closet sized “student” apartment. There’s always mass transit 😉 We did decide not to go for the even nicer, and much cheaper place 10 miles away though, because the mass transit in our town doesn’t go out that far.
Post # 8
We live in Chicago, and for a while, we always thought that location mattered more. If your choices are between a nice, safe neighborhood and a slightly sketchy one, that’s true. BUT, my husband and I are ALL about the ‘burbs now. We’re so sick of tiny bathrooms the size of closets and bedrooms that barely fit our full-sized bed. It’s awful. When our lease is up in a year, we’re going to look into areas outside the city so we can have a larger place.
Post # 9
@mrs chapstick- you make a great point about location. there is a huge difference between unsafe and ‘burbs. I would not buy a house in an unsafe area for any cost or awesomeness of home… but the burbs rock 🙂
Post # 10
If you’re in DC, I’d say Location, i.e. are you near a metro? How will moving to a different area affect your commute and life in the area? Ugh, traffic is a nightmare! Oh, and safety. Is is a safe area?
For us, it was kind of a mixture of both. For my town house I’m in a eh neighborhood in a GREAT location. When we bought our house we knew space was important because I work from home and he hopes to as well one day… plus we wanted space for growing. BUT, we also wanted a good safe neighborhood. We wound up getting into an AWESOME neighborhood of “big” houses for our area… but it’s a foreclosure that needs lots of love. It has a big kitchen and laundry room (which was key for me) but it’s not a “nice” kitchen. It’s old and dated. lol. BUT, that can be fixed. The location and neighborhood can’t. And to some extent.. adding more sq ft space isn’t really cheap, so we didn’t want to have to do that 🙂
Post # 11
I said location. We have a list of “acceptable” neighborhoods that we made for apartment searching. They’re all on the north/west side, and we look within those neighborhoods. Of course, there are some that are more residential and less fun, but have more space. That’s definitely something we weigh in our decision, but thus far they’re all in walking distance of coffee shops, and that’s what’s really important. 😛
Post # 12
I said space, it’s the reason we just bought a house in the ‘burbs!
Obviously though, if the choice is between a great/safe area w/small housing and a horrible/unsafe area with lots of space, I’d definitely choose the safe location!
Post # 13
It really is a personal decision. FI and I lived in tiny small apartments down town for the majority of our twenties. As we got older and when we started looking for a home to buy we wanted OUT of the student neighbourhoods!
We moved out to subdivision in the outskirts of town where we got a great deal on 3 bedroom townhouse that we own. I know have a 20min commute instead of 5. Not a big deal for us and we got everything we wanted out of the move.
Are you ready to leave your “hip” location for space? Or are you still willing to sacrifice everything for the hip location?
Post # 14
I’m going say location, but also – Don’t settle! with a lot of networking and digging around the papers and internet you might be able to find a better place in the same neighborhood. Just rack up some good karma somewhere else for an extra boost 🙂
Post # 15
Location all the way. It has much more of an impact on your lifestyle than your storage space ever will. With a good location you can get (depending on what you consider a good location) more time with family because of less commute, a stronger sense of community, and access to cultural assets (IMHO, a Applebees is not a cultural asset), just to name a few. With a bigger house, you get more storage space to put stuff in, and more physical separation from the people in your house.
I’m not saying live in a matchbox if you hate it. I chose to move about a half mile out of my favorite neighborhood to go from 800 square feet to 1200 square feet. But if I had moved to one of the brand new suburbs, I could have bought 2500 square feet. And, not all suburbs are bad, there are plenty of real communities with good restaurants, parks, arts organizations, etc., in the suburbs. But think hard about abandoning a location you love just for more space. Owning and storing more stuff won’t ever compare to good neighbors and culture.
EDIT: the collapse in the real estate market in most of the country really bears this out, too. Big houses out in suburbs with not ammenities and long commutes have tumbled, while smaller places in great small towns and in good urban neighborhoods have lost very little value.
Post # 16
Though it’s still a good area in the ‘burbs, we both miss living in town. We both work out in the boonies so our house is near our work. We appreciate the fact we won’t have to go through the hassle of selling and upgrade later and we can just permanently settle in. We married in our 30’s and we pretty much know what we want and what we were willing to give up in our big picture decision.