“Just the thing for Entertainment” or something similar is a common theme in house builder’s brochures and estate agent descriptions.
It’s really a way of trying to upsize you into a bigger (more expensive) house.
Before you get sucked in with these statements for your new house here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
How often do you actually “Entertain”?
Once a month?
Or hardly ever?
Will you be trying to impress. . . . or just aiming to have a good time?
How many is it really going to be?
Is it going to be one or two couples around for brunch or dinner or;
A party for 30 or 40 people?
Is a barby your normal way of entertaining? It is for most Australians. . . . .In that case you are more likely to need plenty of outdoor areas, which probably include plenty of space for children to run around. . . . .Not easy if you have filled your block up with a house that has big rooms for “Entertainers”.
For family occasions most people won’t mind if the garage is pressed into service for a meal if it is presentable. If it isn’t perhaps you can just cover the front of the shelves with some fabric.
Think back to the parties you went to that you really enjoyed. Some of the better ones that I went to were in small houses and flats. . . you would normally find me, along with half of the other people there, packed into a tiny kitchen.
Alternatives for Entertaining
When our children were young we used to live in small houses so when it came to birthday parties we used to hire a village, or community hall.
You can normally hire a big room including a kitchen for half a day at very reasonable rates.
That meant lots of room for kids to run around and play games.
You don’t need good weather.
Just put paper tablecloths on the provided trestle tables, afterwards roll it up with the paper plates and plastic cutlery and in the bin.
No worry about damaging your carpet, just brush the floor and mop any spills and go home.
What are some of the parties you have enjoyed and what was the place were you held them?
Budget has more posts about finding a house the right size for you
Our first house was around 6 squares (approx 56m2).
Two rooms downstairs and two rooms with a bathroom upstairs, and a single garage in the back garden.
We lived happily in the house for 6 years including after my daughter was born.
After that we went up in size as our family grew to two children plus two dogs.
It peaked at 22 square.(approx 186m2) plus a double garage.
Now we are back to the two of us and a retirement unit at 100m2.
Many Australians on retirement join the legions of grey nomads on the trip round Australia and live for months or even years in caravans or motor homes that would range from less than 1 square (say around 9.3m2) to the very largest which might be 2.5 square (say around 23m2)
If you want to see how small some people are prepared to go why not look at the TinyHouseBlog ?
For the rest of us here are some thoughts when considering the size of the house.
Do you need a breakfast table area and a dining room when you probably eat most of your meals at the breakfast counter or on your knee in front of the TV?
Now almost everybody has laptops do you need a study or home office?
12 sqm makes a very reasonable sized master bedroom.
Do you really need a ‘parent retreat’.
10 sqm is a reasonable size for other bedrooms. You will get two singles or a double for a guest bedroom. (If you are going to use it as a child bedroom it should fit a bed and a desk with room to spare for other furniture)
Do you need all three of; family room, living room and lifestyle room? (As well as the cost of building these rooms you have got the cost of buying the furniture to fill them)
Since 1988 SI, or metric units, have been the sole legal units of measurement in Australia.
However many builders and real estate agents still quote property in squares, which is an Imperial measurement.
Are they trying to confuse you or just slow to change?
Squares to Square Metres Conversion
Basically one square is 100 square feet, for example; a square with sides of 10 feet in length.
In metric that is 9.3 square metres so make sure that you don’t confuse a square with 10 square metres.
One square metre is usually written as 1m2 and is equivalent to 10.75 square feet or 0.1075 of a square.
Points to Remember
You also need to bear in mind is what is included in the dimensions quoted for example:
Some people will quote the overall plan area which means that it includes the volume of the external walls which are typically 0.25m thick. That can mean a figure between 10 and 20m2 (that’s up to 2 squares) is external walls which is unusable space.
Some will quote the area under the roof which if you have full eaves can amount to another 20 to 40m2
If you are looking at a 2 storey house fhe documents will probably be based on doubling the ground floor area even though the stairs and stair void lose livable floor area.
Some include the garage and others don’t.
I have also heard of qualifications in sale offer documents saying variations in dimensions of up to 10% are acceptable.
How often do you think that you would get a bigger house?
The best advice I can give if you are comparing plans from new home builders Sydney is to measure the plans yourself rather than relying on quoted documents.
When it gets down to signing a contract check that the dimensions on the contract document match your original understanding.