This strategy is designed for The Sims 2 but can work approximately same way in The Sims 1 and 3 too. This is NOT really best strategy, but usually give nearly best results, maybe it can be improved a little… if you have more time for gaming than me to test variations of strategy.
Create a family with 4-8 adult Sims. More Sims is better in getting a richer family, but is harder to control especially in first days when $20.000 is not enough to buy furniture for large families.
Create a 2×2 lot and build a simple house, can be about 100 squares for 4 sims or 180 squares for 8 sims. Avoid foundation and stairs as it raise costs unnecessarily, keep number of rooms at minimum, use the cheapest doors and windows, or you can even keep most of “house” in open air, only the beds, toilet and shower / bathtub needs to be indoor. Add furniture for purpose of planning then sell it and leave it unfurnished.
Move family into house. DO NOT move family into an empty lot then build the house, because only 80% of Build Mode costs are added to home value. With other words, a house that cost $10.000 to purchase would cost $12.500 if you build it with sims on lot, or even more if you build, demolish and rebuild, because deleting build mode items give back 80% of value.
You can also download one of my highly-efficient Starter Homes and sell all or most of furniture, this will make Sims to have basic wants, like Buy a couch, Buy a TV set, easy to fulfill, improving aspiration bar and helping getting promotions in career very fast.
Start furnishing the house by buying the furniture items that are on the Sims’ wants list. Additionally you can sell them shortly afterwards and repeat the process. Be sure to sell before midnight, buy mode items lose 15% of value each midnight, reaching terminal value of 40% in 5th day.
Buy the cheapest items for non-functional items: counters, table, windows, floors, wall paint (these items do not affect Sims mood). Avoid buying plants, paintings and other decorative items. Spend the bulk of money to get best couch and TV set, then kitchen appliances, bathroom items, beds, dining chairs, etc.
Do not copy my strategy on other sites. This article is copyrighted by Teoalida and its original URL is /thesims/.
Get a job in Military or Law Enforcement career tracks, these have highest salaries in early levels (in The Sims, salaries are inverse proportional, career tracks with high salaries at entry positions have lowest salaries at top positions). Use a computer instead of newspaper for more variety of jobs.
Life is short in The Sims 2 so reaching top position in career is difficult under normal conditions (playing only inside one lot), personally I never succeeded. But there is a secret: time do not pass when you are not on your lot. Go to community lots to earn skills, for example to get body skill go to a community swimming pool, to earn logic skill go and play chess on a community lot, etc. If you play a single family you may have trouble maintaining friendship over 50% with more than 10 sims and still do a job and housekeeping, you need to play several other families where you do not care about their mood, and spend their time to maintain friendship with the main family you intend to get in top position in career.
Once your wealth reach $100.000, move to a bigger house. Again build an empty house then move family in it, of download one of many highly-efficient houses built by me. Avoid making modifications in Build mode once the family is on lot.
Start making babies or adopt them, aim them to Business Career (requiring charisma, logic, creativity) or Criminal Career (requiring mechanical, body, creativity) because body, logic, creativity skills are usually earned automatically during childhood if you have a pool, chess table or piano in the house. For more details see The Sims 2 Career Tracks.
Starting from second generation, your family will be very rich!
How to make a good efficient home in The Sims
DO NOT copy floor plans of real life homes in The Sims. Real homes usually have too many rooms, narrow hhallways, U-shaped staircases, and other elements that do not work well in The Sims. You can copy external shape of real homes, but design floor plan according The Sims rules.
Single-storey homes are most efficient in The Sims, two-storey is also OK, but avoid making homes with more than 2 floors of livable space.
One square in The Sims equals 3 feet, 0.91 meters, but you should design house according number of Sims you intend to put in the house, NOT according the size of real house you are copying. The optimal size for a house for 4 sims is 150-250 squares, for 6 sims 200-300 squares, for 8 sims 250-350 squares. Of course you need a bigger house if you want a disco room or bowling alley inside your house, but that will be NOT an efficient house.
In Europe a 3-bedroom house for a family of 4 average 100 square meters, but in The Sims you need about 150 squares for a family of 4. You need extra space for things that in real life do you not need, for example chess board. For a double bed you need a room of at least 4×4 squares, but in real life bedrooms can be smaller than 3.6 x 3.6 m. A two-car garage is 6×6 meters in real life but in The Sims 2 you need 10×8 squares.
Keep number of rooms at minimum. In The Sims you need ONE room for noisy items (TV, stereo, computer, piano, etc) and ONE room for quiet items (beds). Kitchen appliances, dining table, chess board, pool table, easel, workout bench can be placed in either room, they do not make noise to wake up sleeping sims. You also need ONE bathroom for every 3 sims.
In The Sims is NOT required to make separate bedrooms specifically for parents, boys and girls, as they go to sleep to nearest bed. You can even keep all items outdoor to lower building cost (unless you have Seasons EP).
I tested the open-air home with a family of six sims (1 elderly, 2 adults, 1 teenager, 2 children) for more than 30 sims days, aging -off, and improved it constantly to make the best home, originally made in 2010 on a 3×2 lot, I remade it in 2011 on a 2×2 lot.
For realism you can make one bedroom for each 2 beds, separate rooms for living, dining, kitchen, another room for hobby and fun items, but no more rooms than this because house lose efficiency.
Design house without dead ends, rooms with a single door, especially if you have more than 4 sims. Beware of bathrooms, which many players make them just 2×3 squares with a single door, and if a sim is in bathroom and another sim want to talk with him, will go after him, and if a third sim come to use toilet, will try to shoo other 2 sims away but they cannot leave bathroom because the only door is stuck with 3 sims, this can have severe consequences if it happens when carpool or school bus arrive. You can have a hallway with doors to each bedroom, but add also a door between bedrooms so each room will have 2 ways to exit. Make bathrooms with 2 doors too, for example by putting between bedrooms.
Avoid hallways (long narrow rooms with no furniture). put furniture aligned on walls and leave middle of room as passage. There is no problem for guest sims to walk through bedroom to go toilet. If you really want to have hallways, make them 2 squares wide to prevent sims getting stuck if they come from opposite directions.
Staircase should have lower end as close is possible to main door, and the main door should be close to road and in center of lot width or max 5 squares towards left, because carpool arrive slightly left from center.
Living room with sofa and TV is the most important part of house because allow sims to fulfill their comfort, fun and social needs at same time. Sometimes happens to have all your sims plus guests watching TV, so you need to provide enough seating. In The Sims 3 you can watch TV from seats at 45 or 90 degrees from TV, but in The Sims 2 only seating facing TV can be used for watching. Many players make mistake to not put enough seating facing TV. At 3-4 squares distance from TV you can have seating for 5 people per row, while at 5-7 squares from TV you can have seating for 7 people per row, centered on the rightmost square of TV. The below screenshot shows squares that can be used to watch TV.
Dining room should have 50% more seats than number of sims in your family because when one sim serve food, usually all sims in the house come to eat, and you need to accommodate guests too. Also sloppy sims do not clean dining table after eating, leaving seats occupied.
Fun room, depending by personality, sims have different ways to fulfill their fun needs. From my personal experience with families of 8 sims made with random astrological signs, most sims prefer TV, but computer, easel and piano are also used (they help children to maximize creativity skill before reaching adulthood), while stereo and telescope are not often used. If you have a large family with 8 sims is good to have 2 pianos and 3-4 easels in your house.
Homework & desk problem: child and teen sims can do homework on desk or dining table, or on the floor. When sims come from school they put homework on a desk or near it, but if the right side of desk is occupied by a computer and left side is desk is empty, they put homework on left side where they cannot do homework. You should always cover left side of desk with a phone or any decorative item and leave right side empty, you can have 2 desks, one for computer and one for homework.
Bathroom need to be one per 3 sims (in case of typical bathroom with bathtub, toilet and sink), but you can make also Japanese-style with separate rooms for bathtub and toilet, one half bathroom per 2 sims.
Garden can have trees and bushes, avoid flowers as they do not bring any benefits but just waste time of your sims to water them, also flowers contains large number of polygons and slow down graphics of your game.
Strategy for The Sims 2 Apartment Life
Renting an apartment may be a good option because starter families with $20,000 budget can enjoy high-end furniture, instead of purchasing a house with $100,000+ worth of furniture that will lose 60% of value in 5 days, you can rent an 150 squares apartment for $2,000-3,000 per week and never lose value.
Sadly Maxis did not made the option to rent furnished apartments without cheating. You need to activate cheat mode “boolProp testingCheatsEnabled true” then shift+click apartment door and click “Rent furnished”. You can also cheat and make money by selling buy mode items from apartment, evict family and rent again same apartment furnished like nothing happened.
Cover other tables with objects such as clocks, phones, plants, lights (after cooking, Sims will go to nearest free table, if the dining tables are full, they may go upstairs and serve food on bedroom nightstands, which is a waste of time).
Keep an eye on which furniture is most used and move it near the center or home, delete excessive furniture and reduce home size to minimum necessary (this depending of family size and their personality, some Sims prefers to have fun with TV, other Sims prefers doll house).
Enclose with fences the unused part of land, prevent Sims going away from center of home and waste time.
Controlling your sims
Some players love to control every action their sims are making. But sims have free will, choosing themselves what to do based on their needs.
Personally I play The Sims more as building game, playing in live mode only 2-3 sims days to playtest each house I build and make sure it is working before publishing for other players to download it. The sims do most actions autonomously, but there are a couple of things that need your intervention:
- Check food supply: new in The Sims 2, the fridge have a limited supply and when it gets empty, sims cannot prepare food anymore. You need to call service > delivery to fill up your fridge, or go to a community lot for shopping.
- Make sure the kids are not hungry, they cannot prepare food, some teenagers and adults prefers to have food (for themselves) rather than serve food (for entire family).
- Ensure that kids go to school (if they are in bad mood, they will not go automatically), ensure that kids do their homework (kids never do homework automatically), otherwise grades will fall and social worker will take your kids away.
- Pay bills, sims do not pay them automatically. Personally I avoid paying bills because I find funny to see what items Repo Man is taking from my home.
- Repair damaged items. TV, computer, microwave, washing machine, toilet, bathtub breaks quite often.