Moving from low price properties to higher ones?

booboo60February 21, 2011

Not sure how to "title" this question but maybe I can explain.

Dh and I moved across the state 3 years ago from a more populated, higher price market to a more rural, country, lower price market. We built a home on our almost 100 acres and have been enjoying our new home. The weather is more extreme here, meaning longer, colder winters and hot summers.

Our daughter and her family live close by and they have just announced that they want to move back across the state, basically to our "home town". Sad to see this but most of all, don't know how they will afford buying a home there since the house they are currently in will not yield them much money, if any! It made me think well, what if dh and I tried to sell and move back there too? Doesn't make much sense to me just putting this all down on paper. I'm sure the homes across the state are probably as low as they are going to get right now. How do people make something like this work? Just "settle" for a smaller property?

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Depends on the area. Where are you thinking of moving? There are many foreclosures in certain areas and you might find some great homes at good prices.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 12:52AM
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This isn't rocket science. People buy homes in expensive areas all the time. First time buyers have no equity to draw from but they still manage to buy. If your daughter has any equity to draw on, she'll be starting from a stronger position than any of those people.

And yes, most people just need to have smaller homes and less land if they want to live in an expensive area. That is the tradeoff. If you want to live in NYC, you can't have 100 acres.

As for what "makes sense" for you, that is up to you to decide. Many people are willing to pay more to live in a smaller place if it is close to the people and things they love. Others value the peacefulness of living far away from neighbors and the bustle of city life. There isn't a "right" answer here, just personal preference.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 9:19AM
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Let me play Devil's Advocate just for a moment. Why do you want to buy a higher priced property - besides being closer to kids?

Right now property taxes are not keeping up (down?) with rapidly falling values. I know quite a number of people whose assessed rates are 50% over the actual market value that appraisers and realtors are quoting for the same property.

Taxes on most of those properties will never fall far enough, fast enough to be "fair". Cities and counties are very resistant to cutting their budgets, and by extension, property taxes. In the meantime, the higher taxed homes are harder for their owners to unload because buyers aren't stupid, they don't want to pay the higher taxes, either.

Unless you REALLY NEED a more expensive place, I'd stay with the cheapest/lowest value/lowest taxed place I could live with. I know lots of folks will disagree with me, but in this economy moving upscale is just not prudent. Plan a road trip twice a year to visit. Trips can be scheduled when you have the cash on hand!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 8:10PM
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I know several older folks trying to work out a similar scenario. Basically that they have saved enough money to move into their dream home out of the city (mountain home or horse ranch or waterfront small town), but then after many years they realize that there are several issues related to aging (in general):
- Seasonal changes are more difficult to handle (as OP mentioned), have to hire folks to plow and shovel snow because it's just become too difficult, spring yard work to keep brush away from home (fire danger) more difficult, more frequent home maintenance (chimney cleaning, repairs, painting, etc)
- Tied into this is general home maintenance gets harder, whether seasonal or not. Bigger house needs more effort to clean, bigger yard mean more clipping and mowing and such. The older folks in our neighborhood have to hire services for everything: housekeeping, yard maintenance, pool service, weed/bug/fertilizer service - it amazes me how many service trucks are on my street every day, and we are smaller homes in the city.
- Out in the boonies, grocery & shopping may be more expensive and/or a longer drive. (My in-laws have to make a 1-hour trip every other week to spend a day shopping to be able to afford their lifestyle. And that takes good planning. Buying stuff in their small town is a budget-breaker.)
- This all alludes to health and accessibility issues that occur as we age. Assistance and health care is further away and more difficult to get and get to (doctors, specialists, excellent ER care). Fortunately, mail-order pharmacy is easy. But getting help, or even a visit from family in case of any long-term health problems will be a hardship for them. How close is a friend or neighbor to come check on you if you are ill?
- Transportation is more difficult, especially when one of the couple can no longer drive. There probably isn't a city bus that goes by your ranch, and you'd be extremely lucky if a small town has disabled/elderly transportation service. Those car trips to visit family get harder. You're probably a long way from the nearest airport to go on any long trips or for others to visit you (my in-laws are a 3.5 hour drive from nearest airport, which is a long drive in a rental car after a cross-country flight with a layover). Long trips may be more difficult anyway because you can't leave the house unattended for long periods, and neighbors are too far away to check on it. Horses will keep you stuck in your home, let me tell you.

So I completely understand why folks move back into the city. I understand the appeal of a smaller home and smaller yard. Sure, the taxes may be higher, but you get a lot of great services for those taxes that you pay. Conveniences that make your quality of life better.

And I understand why folks move into condos here in Florida. Although the condo fees seem high, at least the maintenance and insurance is a shared cost with all the other owners, and that's quite a chunk of change here in hurricane territory.

"Settling"? Nah. It's making the right choice for your quality of life and values.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 7:41AM
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Selling to follow the kids? What if they move again?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 5:33PM
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Thanks all for your responses! I think I was just a little surprised when my daughter made her "announcement"! I'm ok with it now and no, wouldn't want to move now anyway. Daughter isn't even sure since the house she and her hubby bought in '07 is a bit of a fixer upper. This area is a tough place to sell a home in since there are not alot of jobs here. I really like what 'c9pilot' wrote and it is so true! Thank goodness dh and me are not quite that old yet but I am sure in about 10 years this place will be alot to take care of!! So appreciate this forum to share ideas and gain knowledge, thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 9:47PM
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