Sell Your Home or Stay?

Sold Home For Sale Sign & New HouseHow do we decide if we should sell our home or stay put? At some point in your life, you will probably ask yourself that question. What are the factors that you should weigh to make a decision?

My spouse and I are currently pondering this issue. We are trying to peer into our crystal ball to figure out if we will still be satisfied with our location in 5 or 10 years.

Here are the questions and considerations that we are trying to answer and analyze to help us with our decision. These may be different for you, depending on your age, stage of life and motivations.

What bothers you about your current home?

Do you love your home, but hate the neighborhood? Are the schools good enough for your kids? Are there just too many projects to be done and too much ongoing maintenance? Are you out of space or do you have too much space to heat and cool? Is the climate what you want? Are the taxes too high for the services you get?

What will be an issue if you stay another 10 – 15 years? Will the area decline? Will the maintenance be too much for you? Will you have too much or too little space? Are other changes coming that could impact your quality of live?

Can those things be fixed?

Generally, if what ails your house is under your control, you could theoretically fix them. But, if you hate the busy street and the airplane or train noise, or the neighborhood is in decline, you have to decide if you can live with those things if everything else is satisfactory.

How will moving to a new home benefit you?

Will you be safer, happier, closer to work, healthier? Will your relatives and friends still be within visiting distance (but not too close for comfort)? Will the home and area still suit you in 10 – 15 years or will there be too much yard work or too long of a drive to shops and services?

What are the drawbacks of moving somewhere else?

How will you get to know the neighbors and become part of the community? Will the taxes be higher? What about the services like internet and cable – will you have to pay more for them. Are you up to getting all new service providers, banks, favorite gasoline stations, finding local entertainment venues and etc.

What work is involved if you would move?

Selling a home is no easy task. You will need to repair, redecorate, declutter, stage and list your home, keep it clean, show it and more. You will need to pack (or sell) all your things and furniture and arrange to have it moved. You’ll have to figure out where to put everything in the new place and perhaps buy other things to get everything up to snuff.

You’ll need to let everyone know that you are moving, changing addresses with all of the companies and people with whom you do business.

What costs are involved if you would move?

You not only have the cost of buying (or renting) the new home, but also all of the associated costs of buying and selling (commissions, closing costs, points, fees, interest, staging costs, packing and moving fees). You may have to carry the old house for months until it sells, paying the expenses (mortgage, utilities, taxes and etc) on both it and the new home.

What would convince you to stay?

Of the things that bother you about your current home, what would have to happen to get you to be able to live with them? How much would those things cost to make happen?

What non real estate considerations are there?

Will your age, health, or stamina impact your decision? If you move now, will you have to move again in a few years for any reason?

What if your current home doesn’t sell?

Are you financially able to carry two homes or are you willing to become a landlord to a renter for awhile? Will you be close enough to care for the old home or would you have to hire a management firm to assist?

My spouse and I are not experienced at moving. We have only owned and lived in two homes – including our current one.

Deciding to move the first time was pretty much of a no brainer. Our first home was too small for our growing family, in a rapidly declining neighborhood, and was not convenient to either of our work commutes. In addition, the public schools weren’t all that great and we wanted some land around our home.

After spending 25 years in our current home, the location is being threatened with rapid development, heavy traffic and higher taxes. All things that bother us. However, we love our home and our immediate neighborhood isn’t really changing (yet). Our school district is highly rated and likely to remain so and the proposed developments are fairly high end.

We are both wondering if we should start thinking about selling and moving to another, less developing area, or stay. We need to decide because we have several fairly large renovation projects that need to be done in the near future and how we handle those will be different based on our decision to stay or sell.

Our main considerations don’t relate to resale value, but rather to quality of life. We wonder what the increase in traffic will do to our ability to get out of our driveway. Whether it will cause the state to widen the road and shorten our yard frontage. We wonder if the increased density will lead to greater trespassing and more crime in the area. We fear that the green spaces we so love will end up in chipboard developments, even as our own 6+ acres stays the same.

If we don’t move now, will we be too old in 5 years when we are in our seventies. If we move to a less developed area, will we still be close enough to medical, retail and other services. If we move will our family still find it convenient to come visit.

Obviously, no one can tell what the future brings. Trying to figure out the answers to these questions is nearly impossible for us. At some point, we will just need to go or stay and deal with the consequences!

How did you decide whether or not to move?


Sell Your Home or Stay? — 8 Comments

  1. We’ve decided to stay in our current home until the mortgage in paid off in less than 4 years and then we will downsize. We’ve agreed to reevaluate periodically because honestly i don’t enjoy my home anymore. It’s too large, too much upkeep, too much yard work. My husband is happier here than I am. Since we are putting all of our extra money towards the mortgage, we don’t have the money to do the renovations we feel are needed before we sell. That will happen the year we are debt free.

  2. Anytime we considered selling our home, we just thought about all the work involved in moving and selling it. Now we rent it out and travel around the world as the military pays to move us. Some call it cheating, we call it strategy! 🙂

  3. What a timely subject! DW and I are starting to consider this very thing. Last child is finishing up with college and will soon be on her own. So why do we need this place and all the “stuff”? With me, it’s about “sunk costs”… We have been here a long time and appreciation has been kind. And it’s getting ready to be kinder as new homes are being built up the road STARTING in the $600K’s. Why not take the dough from the sale of our home and the two adjoining building lots and …RUN…put the bulk of the proceeds in a balanced mutual fund and then buy a “quaint fixer upper” a little further out or move to a more tax friendly locale…like say Delaware. Thanks for the article and the nudge it provided for us to start coming up with a “plan”….

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