You’ve lived in your home for a while now, but maybe it's time for a change. Perhaps you’ve experienced a financial change that’s either affecting affordability or making the home you’ve got seem too small. Or maybe the kids are grown, and your house is just too much to keep up with. Moving residences is a mixed bag of excitement, stress, and sometimes even a feeling of loss. So how do you explore your moving options, or whether you're better off staying where you are?
The decision to find a new place to live isn’t easy for anyone. You've got memories with friends and family, and there’s something to be said for the comfort of pulling into your driveway after a day of work. Leaving that behind is a tough choice. (Read: Reasons for Moving Vary Widely: What's Your Reason?)
If a new home is something that’s on your mind, you’ll need to figure out whether it makes more financial sense to stay put or start a new chapter in your life. Here are a few things to consider that can help make the choice a bit easier.
Sometimes Moving isn't Really a Choice
There are some circumstances that make the choice about moving for you. The most common reason is a job in a new town. When a move is imminent, the decisions turn from “whether” to “when and how”. The moving options you then have are what type of community do you want to move to, the style of house and how much house can you afford.
Moving because you have to can be just as stressful as if you made the decision on your own. In some ways, it can be more difficult. When faced with an imminent move, all you can do is work through the decisions as quickly as you can, and focus on the benefits of the move for you and your family.
Moving Options – Finances Can Be the Deciding Factor
Household finances are a great determiner when it comes to staying where you are or finding a new place to live. Although you might look into the yard and remember family barbecues and kids playing, a change in family finances can make your current home less cherished and more of a burden.
When there's a nice increase in the budget, a new house can help improve your standard of living. More space can mean there are fewer people sharing one bathroom, and a bigger yard gives you and your family more room to spread out. Moving to a better neighborhood might make your time at home, more enjoyable and your children's education stronger.
Conversely, sometimes your current home might feel more like a challenge than a peaceful retreat from the world. If you're spending too much on utilities, repairs, taxes and upkeep, selling your house and moving to a less expensive neighborhood or smaller house could make life much happier again. If your budget is strained, there's something to be said for the peace of mind that fewer expenses bring.
Moving Options to Keep Up with Family Changes
Are you expecting a baby, or planning a larger family? Or maybe the kids are graduating and moving on to start their own lives. A change in family structure is one of the biggest reasons to move to a new home.
What is appropriate and comfortable for a young, single woman or a small family isn't the same as what's good for a growing family with a houseful of active teenagers. And when the kids are ready to launch from the nest, four bedrooms and three baths can become a bother.
Family size can help you decide what your next home move should be. If the number of people who live in your home is on its way up or down, a move to a larger or smaller home, can give you the right amount of square footage without being too much to take care of.
Making the Decision to Stay Instead of Moving
Sometimes the neighborhood where you live is so special or your home too treasured to think about moving anywhere. Staying can give you the chance to enjoy your home in a whole new way. This means alterations to make it suitable for the life you lead now. (Read: Renovating to Stay in Your Current Home)
If the kids are growing up and need more space, it's often possible to finish an attic or put an addition on your home. This can be costly, so check around to be sure you can't find a much better home elsewhere.
If you're single or living as a couple with no kids at home, all that extra space might seem like a waste. Why not reclaim some of those rooms for yourself? An empty bedroom can easily be transformed into a craft or hobby room, or even a home office. A basement rec room might be a perfect spot for a home theater. What about taking down a wall between bedrooms to create the master suite of your dreams? Renovations can make the home you love into the home you'd never consider leaving, no matter what.
The decision to move can't be taken lightly. For some, finding a new home is the smartest way to go, and can lead to less stress and a more relaxing lifestyle. For others, the idea of moving is one that doesn't have to happen at all. You'll need to examine what you've got and what your other options are.
Thinking about moving to a new home, or trying to decide whether to stay where you are? We would love to hear your stories.