Location V size

House A is circa 1,500 sq ft, four bed semi in a good estate, just needs some cosmetic work and average size west facing rear garden. However not in walking distance of schools, parks, restaurants, pubs, family etc, about 5 mins drive.

House B is circa 1,000 sq ft, 3 bed terrace with attic conversion on a quiet road, good condition however no downstairs WC and small kitchen which would need extending but bigger rear garden. However close to all the above.

2 adults, 16 month old and hopefully 1 more.

Both roughly the same price. Which would you choose?

Definitely house B, myself; not being able to walk anywhere sounds like a nightmare. Very much a personal preference thing, though.

Isn’t a 5-minute drive in Dublin suburbia about a 15-20 minute walk? That’s “walking distance” to me. (And I’d go for a semi over a terraced house anytime.)

I’d be with WP, especially with young kids.

Nice to have shops and green area that bit closer. In summer you don’t mind that walk but in winter you might feel a lot more trapped in the house.

You’d want to be sure on the neighbours in both but much more so in terrace (as you’ve twice as many).

The fact the 3 bed terrace is 1000 sq ft to include atttic is a little offputting - boxy rooms.

We were in almost exactly the same position a few years back and went with B. No regrets.

Arithmetic will change in due course when kids are a bit older but we’ve never taken the view that a house is for life.

This is very true. The problem is that unless it’s a new estate it’s probably fossilised with few young families. You could actually have more families in B if there is higher turnover, more rental, etc. That has been our experience.

Anyway, compared to back in my day (never thought I’d use that phrase but hey!), parents are much less likely to let the kids run free these days.

We bought last December and had a similar choice (although we’re about 20 months behind you on the child front). We went for B as we felt it would be sufficient for at least a decade and would be a higher quality of life in that period.

I would lean towards B as I love being able to commute without having to use the car. However, I’d also factor in the direction the gardens are facing. Where we rent now has a south-facing garden, and the difference compared to our previous house with a north-facing garden is eye-opening. That north-facing garden was the same size but was constantly wet even in summer. You couldn’t put a blanket on the ground, and the grass just churned up any time that the kids were out playing. It was pretty much unusable.

Pretty much what we did too (though semi not terrace).

We may ultimately extend or upsize but the house is fine for 10years.

5mins walk to centre of town, quiet cul de sac for kids to play, green around the corner and school very close (walking distance for when they are old enough).

Alternative was bigger and better house but no green area and driving for milk, school etc.

If the ‘A’ house in your scenario had big green area it might have been a much closer call. I want my kids to grow up playing outdoors not stuck in their rooms/the house.

You’ve a 16 month old so most likely pubs, restaurants aren’t a consideration.
Also, it’s Ireland so it’ll rain at annoying times so you will need a car. Does B have dedicated parking?
Does house B’s 1,000 sqft include the attic conversion? If it does it might be tight. If you can afford to extend now then maybe you can make it workable.

Unless house B is 5 mins walk from a major town/village (Dundrum, Dalkey, Howth, Rathmines) rather than just a pub and post office at a cross roads, I’d be tending toward the estate like Mantissa suggested.

There’s no right answer. Lots of people choose location over size, and vice versa. For me, location almost always wins, but it depends on your personality, lifestyle etc.

Thanks for all the replies.

The estate house A is in is a very settled estate with a mix of families and has a green for kids to play on. However once you go outside the estate you have busy roads on all sides.

House B is 5 minutes walk to biggish village with all amenities and a school we would like to send our child(ren) to (less choice as not Catholic). Also has a very big park and beach within walking distance. Garden is north facing however quite long so gets sun pretty much all day in summer. Also has mature trees at the bottom so not over looked apart from houses on either side.

Both have a driveway however we would be using public transport from either house.

Without being a smartarse, wouldn’t this make any ‘driving’ distance only notional?!?

Currently am 5 mins drive away from work/school. This equates to 15-20 mins walk. Most kids around walk it one way (if not both ways) including both primary and secondary. And it means that if the weather is poor then it is only a short drive. Worked out well so far (work colleagues from further away leave the house when I’m getting up), and helps me (and the family)be fitter than they had been for a while.

For me, proximity to school much more important than shops, restaurants etc.

Once our kids got old enough to propel themselves to school on their own (about age 8 IIRC) it saved us loads of time/hassle in the morning and they love the independence. They’re out the door at 8.30 which means we can get to work for 9, whereas we used to be with them until 8.50 when school started. That extra 20 mins makes a big difference at the start of the day.

OTOH, if we lived further away we could kick them out the door even earlier. :smiley:

I drive (or cycle) to the shop even though it’s a couple of hundred metres but cycle to work. Walking is just so slow.

Sorry meant that we would be using public transport from both houses to get to work however would have to drive from house A is want to get to amenities, school etc.

House B for the win. There doesn’t seem like a huge difference in the two houses to me. Being close to amenities, public transport etc. really improves your quality of life.

Also, something you might not have considered with a terrace - they can actually be warmer and quieter. Yes, you have neighbours on two sides but (taking as a given they’re normal neighbours and not excessively noisy) you don’t have as much road/ traffic noise in a terrace as you’re insulated on both sides. Also, terraces are less likely to be burgled than semi-d’s.

Would be a 40/45 minute walk at adult pace. There is another school about 20 minutes walk in the opposite direction however this would be our second option.

Definitely potential to extend as rear garden is quite long. A house two up has done a double height extension out the back. Depending on cost, probably wouldn’t be in a position to extend for at least a couple of years.

There are three dimensions to a property that cannot be changed or that can only be changed with considerable difficulty:

Location - the location is fixed. The areas may get better or worse, be served by better or worse public transport over time, new building in the area may affect traffic but the location and by association the distance to points of interest stays the same.

Aspect - whether its faces north, south, east or west. You may be able to relocate the entrance or make other changes. The back garden generally faces the same way no matter what you do.

Plot Size - you may be able to acquire more land for some properties but in urban areas the plot size is generally very difficult, if not impossible to change.

Most other elements of a property can be changed, albeit at a cost - size (through extensions up and/or out, though out at the loss of some plot), layout (through relocation of internal walls), light (through the addition of windows), insulation/energy efficiency, external noise.

So, for each property, look at the elements that cannot be changed and rate their importance to you. Then look at the elements that can be changed and that you want to change and estimate their cost.

Then go with you heart.

Thanks; interesting way of looking at it.