How long does one stay in a house they do not like?

dontknowJune 12, 2012

Not sure how this question will be perceived or where it may end up but here it goes... How long does one stay in a house they do not like?

This is our second home and we have been here just about 4 years. The layout, size and yard is very usable and is used for sure. Cutting to the chase what can't be changed is what drives us crazy the most - location, location, location.

Things are just not working out as had wished. There's no way landscaping, fences or anything else can resolve the location issue - it just "is".

Financially we are in a very good place with a ton of equity (about 75% of current market value) and a low mortgage balance. We've been fortunate to live in a part of the country where the housing mess hasn't negatively impacted us too much (though it has a little).

Obviously due diligence from an agent would confirm this or not but other than a few minor things which are on the list to be completed this summer, the place could be ready for sale in a couple days and rightfully compete with the existing inventory of used homes in it's price range and location.

Will we make any money on the house? Probably not but you never know. It is in better shape than we purchased it that's for certain (which as we know does not always translate to price). It's extremely clutter free, extremely clean and well maintained.

So, how long is long enough and how long is too long?

Ours minds are telling us to stick it out for the next 24-36 months and see if anything changes but I'm not sure it will.

Thanks for any and all input.

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I would sell and in a similar situation (but not as much equity unfortunately) did sell. Unless I had a reason to think of a material change I see no reason to hang on to something I don't like if I can afford to change it.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Four years is enough to know whether it is working or not. If you will not get into some kind of financial bind by doing so, sell it and buy something else (in that order). Just make sure there is an adequate number of houses coming on the market that will meet your needs better. You don't want to be faced with living in a house that presents it's own particular set of negatives that won't get better just because nothing else was available. But in this market I would also not buy something and then try to sell.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 6:00PM
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What would sticking it out really do? You may get a few more $ for your house but that means that any house you would buy would also cost more.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 8:01PM
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"Ours minds are telling us to stick it out for the next 24-36 months and see if anything changes but I'm not sure it will. "

If the problem is location, do you anticipate that problem will somehow fix itself in the next 2-3 years?

If not, why wait?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 8:04PM
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Mick Mick

Sell low...Buy low...

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 8:10PM
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I would move sooner than later. The only reason I might stick it out a bit longer is if there would be a natural transition my children going from elementary to intermediate school, etc. In that case, I would likely wait to try to minimize the changes for my kids.

If that's not a consideration for you guys, I would move!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:58PM
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Thank you all for your feedback/comments. It's nice to know that we are not thinking we are crazy in the idea of leaving sooner than later.

Financially it's not going to be as easy this time around since we don't have as large of a cash position as we did the last time around. We were in our last home 10 years and the last 3 years were spent saving up for the expenses in selling/buying/moving.

The timing is where the wife and I differ. I'd pull the trigger now but she's the more rational one saying lets use the next 24-36 months to save cash so we can do it with greater ease.

Certainly with the location, 24-36 months buys us nothing in that regard. It'll look pretty much the same as it does today.

As far as transitioning a child - a very valid point of consideration. Our child will be starting pre-k soon which is obviously young. Once again, my logical wife has the thought that once she's ready for 1st grade then we can assess school districts again at that point before deciding where the next move will be. That brings us to approximately another 24-36 months.

Ironically a house 4 doors down from us went on the market yesterday after being there about 18 months. We thought we were rushing things.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 7:13AM
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Can I ask what is it about the location that you do not like? If it is something that could turn off potential buyers you want to give yourself plenty of time to find new buyers. But if it's something like, "too far from my parents so they don't see their grand kids much" then it's less of a concern when selling.

In our area, home near a super fund site or big power distribution lines take longer to sell,at any price, which is why I'm asking what about the location is affecting your decision.

I agree that 4 years is long enough to know, though.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 7:29AM
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I was with you until you mentioned your wife doesn't think you are financially ready.

Staying put while you save up moving expenses and a decent emergency fund makes sense. Those are 2 very good reasons to delay moving. You don't want to put yourself in a financial bind. Of course, you didn't put actual numbers to any of these things, so it is impossible to know whether your wife is being overly cautious or you are being too rash.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:45AM
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If you could sell this house and still have enough cash to move, make a 20% down payment, still have an emergency fund, and have a payment that you can afford then I would sell it now. If you couldn't sell now and do that then I would probably wait until I could.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 11:51AM
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@EngineerChic - there are many things we don't particularly like about the location so listing them would be an arduous task. To your point, my anticipation is it will though take a while to sell though. It's a unique lot layout with farmland meeting up with 95% of our back lot with the remaining 5% being the far lot of a school. Though many people have bought and sold homes here with the school, I just anticipate it being a stumbling block. I'm personally considering 18 months once the ball gets rolling but it's only my guess and no definitive opinion given yet. Some of the existing neighbors here look at it as a buffer to not letting sex offenders move into the neighborhood so it provides some sort of safety net for the kids plus easy walking distance to school if desired.

@ Andrew.. It's not easy but timing is everything as they say and we're trying to not do this in haste but somewhat prudently - if there is such a thing.

@bill and kats - we have 8 months in an emergency fund which wouldn't need to be tapped for the move. Enough additional cash reserves just to cover moving expenses but not much more. That being said, you can never have too much cash available. Assuming the house we are in isn't sold at a fire sale price, we'd pull enough equity from the current house to get up near a 50% down payment on the next house. Worse case scenario 40% down payment for a fire sale. Is my wife being cautious? Yes and we both are as we weigh the decision of "when". Is it over cautions? I wouldn't point the blame on her for that either. Though we both agree it's time to consider moving on, it may be me who is a little more anxious to do it sooner than she.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 2:52PM
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I think that pre-K is a great time to move. I wouldn't wait until 1st grade. (I have a child starting pre-k next year, and one going into 1st grade next year). There is no reason you can't research now for those school districts. They aren't going to change substantially in the next 3 years anyway (and if they do, then you probably don't want them anyway! That would be a really rapid swing for something your child will be in for 12-15 yrs).

Now is a good time, for you I'd say. Don't waste any more time and stress on it, as long as there is an alternative available (so this assumes that there are houses on the market that would suit you well to move to when yours is sold).

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:49PM
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