Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How big is too big?

When I got pregnant with my first daughter, my husband and I decided that it was time to start saving for a house of our own. Neither of us felt/feel comfortable taking out a large mortgage, so we really wanted to put as much of a down payment as possible.

I am from a VERY expensive area of California. I grew up in a house that was 3000 square feet, just me, my parents and a brother. My husband is from the south of Israel, and grew up in 1000 square feet with his parents and four siblings. Now that we have been looking at places (both to rent and to buy) it amazes me still how much culture plays a role in housing.

Here in Israel, land is at a premium and salaries are generally small. Because of that, it is very common to own a condo, and not a private house. In my city, the average condo size is around 1000 square feet, and the average house size between 1500-2000 square feet. Where I come from, no one owns a condo unless they live in San Francisco, and the average house size is much larger.

Even forgetting the actual house size, the layout of houses always amazes me. In Los Angeles we rented a 1 bedroom nearly 700 square foot apartment. Here we rent a nearly 600 square foot 2 bedroom. Israelis seem to like to squish as many rooms as possible into their spaces.... and as few bathrooms. It all seems rather counter intuitive to me. When we were discussing building our own house, I told my Mother in Law that I would like 2000 or more square feet... her first reaction? "But how will you clean it???" I guess the sand does make it harder...

So I am still debating. How big is too big? How small is too small? And can a family really live with only one bathroom? (I'm going to say NO on that last one...)

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