Should I sell?

mrshanson1December 31, 2013

Hi to you all!

I've never posted on this forum before. I wanted others' opinions about my situation. My question is, "Should I sell now or wait another year?"

We have updated 95% of our house. We bought the house when the market was high, and have made major renovations in our home. Unfortunately, my home is in a location that has not appreciated. All of my HGTV years got the best of me with renovating. If I had to fix something, I did it the right way that cost money and looked good too. I know I have done too much for my house and my area.

Most likely, I will not get back the money that I put into the house. The houses all around me are for the most part not updated, and they are selling low.

I have two school age children, and I do not like the education that they are receiving in my area. Yes, there are private Catholic schools, but they are not much better either.

I want to move because we have overgrown our house. It is not big enough anymore. We have no storage. There is no backyard either. I want to move to get a larger house on a bigger piece of property with a much better school system.

My husband will be retiring in the next year or so. He wants to wait to move until he retires, but I want to move now. I am not sure if getting a mortgage when you are retired makes a difference or not. I also want to move while my kids are younger and it isn't as hard to change school systems.

Does anyone have any thoughts? I appreciate your honest advice.

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Well, I think you should start by trying to review your finances, e.g. how much would you get for your house after you've paid off the existing mortgage. How much would a new house cost? How much could you pay down? And how much would your monthly expenses be? And how much would your income be now and once your husband retires?
For a mortgage as a retiree, companies will consider what income you have, where it's coming from (pension, social security, retirement accounts), your liquid assets, down payment, other debt for debt-income ratio, credit score.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Given all you have said, I would wait a year until your husband retires. It will also possibly mean less of a loss on your home and/or the market might be better.

As for kids moving and the "difficulty" of that, I have to disagree. I think people make a bigger deal out of this than it is in most instances. We moved our kids in grade school. We worked with them and with their schools on both ends to make sure the transition was easy. Their new school was happy to meet with us before the move and showed the kids around. Kids are pretty resilient. As far as wanting a better school system, I understand that. I was a teacher at one point. Even though we've lived in two very good school districts, most recently one of the top districts in the state, we always supplemented their education with books, computer programs, reading time, etc. We felt that was our responsibility as their parents.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Beyond "not getting it back" renovations cost you money. Be sure you understand that fully in anticipating how much your home would sell for. If your home was a 500k home and you spent 200k in renovations, you will be lucky to see the home see 600k in an appraisal. Especially if the market experienced drop and the surrounding homes are only worth 400k. Then, you'd be fortunate to see the original purchase price as it would be over neighborhood value. That means that a seller would need to bring a lot more cash to the table to cover the difference in sales price and appraisal and you certainly wouldn't want to agree to a sale with an appraisal clause in it.

Get several local realtors in to view the property and give you a CMA.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Concerning the dual issues of waiting a year until he retires AND lack of storage space/feeling that you don't have enough room:

Consider going through your belongings over the next few months and only keeping those items which are important, meaningful, or useful to you and your family.

If you spend each weekend sorting one area or room, each project will be manageable. Get rid of 1/4 or 1/3. You can donate unwanted items to charity each time you have a carload ready or price as you go for a spring/summer garage sale and set all aside in one room.

If you move in a few months:
1) This process will assist you in staging your house when you want to put it on the market.
2) You don't want to have to pay to move things or have so much to sort through afterward that you cannot enjoy your new house.

If you stay:
Your house will feel more spacious and you will have fewer possessions to store or clean.

No one can guarantee what the housing market will do in any given time, but if you need to wait it may help you to have a plan over the next weeks and months to see even small positive changes.

Also, if your children are near high school age you need to consider that they may be out of the house soon and a larger house might not be a good idea in this economy.

Hope it works out well for you!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:36PM
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I think the first thing you need to do is get an idea what your house will sell for in your neighborhood .When I visit my county auditor's site I can type in my address and the access a feature that allows me to see sales in the surrounding area for the last five years. The information includes addresses, sale price, square footage, land, house features such as bathrooms, basements, attic, heating and cooling,condition of the house and if it was a foreclosure, survivorship deed, or bank mortgage. You can also ask a realtor but when I was selling I could never get a "price" to list my house at.

Next I think I would look at next year's income with your husband retired, and price of the houses in the neighborhood you are looking at. Again look at the auditor's site, Trulia and Zillow for that information. Find out how much house you can afford.

That gives you a baseline of what it costs to sell and buy your house which is the first step in deciding if you should move or not.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:50PM
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You have all good points. Thank you. My kids are young in elementary school. I have been cleaning up the house, fixing things. The contractor was even here yesterday. I wouldn't put the house up for sale until the spring anyways. Its I do it this year or next year?

We will sell the house. It is beautiful inside. It's just when I step outside into the neighborhood, or when my children come home from school, and I see/hear whats going on, I have had enough. I am an educator too, so I know too much in this department. I will never be rich, but for sure my children will receive a good education since this is my whole life. Most of all, this is for me the number one reason to move.

I can wait another year. But if I know the inevitable is is unavoidable...we will move. This was always a starter home, not the forever home. For someone else, it will be an awesome forever home, but just not for me. Those are my thoughts...

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 8:50AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Might be cheaper to homeschool or private school than to move to a large home that you will fully occupy for such a short period of time . Moving generally costs you between 15-20% of the homes value by the time all is over and done with. Since you've fixed the house up and retirement is on the horizon you need to think ahead to further than just the next couple of years.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 9:48AM
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@Hollysprings: Do you have any idea at all what private school costs? And homeschooling to save money? Really?
If the kids are now in ES, there are still about 8-10 years of schooling left. However, i certainly agree that the costs of selling/moving have to be factored in.

@Mrshanson: Would you move to a completely different area or stay in your area? I live in an area with very high real estate prices and am amazed what less money would buy in other parts of the country.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 12:37PM
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I would stay in the area, just move to a better suburb with better schools. I live in MA. All of the real estate prices are high.

I cannot leave my job and homeschool. I need to think about retiring one day. Besides, kids need socialization skills. Homeschooling works for some, definitely in some parts of the US more than others. It just would not work for me.

I agree... I know in other parts of the country, prices are so vastly different. Its not fair, but it is how it is.

Thank you for all of your imput. I appreciate all of your thoughts on this discussion....

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 2:48PM
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Something to think about... you know what the real estate market and economy are currently. No one knows what they will be in a year from now. But, it is a good bet that interest rates will be higher next year than now.
IMO, something big will happen to this economy w/in 5 years. $17 trillion dollars and counting...

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 9:58PM
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What is the objective of your DH wanting to wait until he retires before moving?

Do you have a specific school district in mind? If so, do you really know its better? Perhaps research it a little and start attending events and the school like plays and sports events. Let your family get a feel for the school. Look at the students, how they dress, how they behave, etc. If you are making a decision on moving mostly because of a school you want to make sure you know what you are getting. Our kids went to a private christian school until graduating in 8th grade. We spent years determining which high school they would attend.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 11:10AM
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As an educator, I am wondering why you chose this location to begin with? What was your original criteria?
In my town we have printed reports of how the public schools are doing. Where we are ranked etc.
If you are not liking the things your children are saying, that is a big incentive to move. I know there were times when both my daughters wanted to move or change schools. But it was social issues and not the school itself.
They were able to work through the issues, but I can see if the issue is the way your children are being taught then there is little you can do.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 5:14PM
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We moved here before we had kids, just when we got married. We always thought that we would stay for a few years and then move. That was the plan. However, the housing market crashed here, and then the economy crashed too. Meanwhile, things needed to be repaired/replaced at the same time in the house. As time passed by, the house got renovated.

The issues at school are not social but lack of academics, which upsets me. However, it is not the social scene that I like either...

Who knows....

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 6:53PM
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I think you need to try to relocate. Good luck and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 2:07PM
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Put your children first if the schools are truly terrible. In my state, children can go to public school in the assigned school for their neighborhood or in the school assigned to the place the parent works, but no busing is offered. We also have seen a return to pre recession housing prices in our area. I wonder what a year would do to the value of your home.

It is easier to move kids in elementary school and before they enter the secondary system. Buy you have a lot to juggle in your decisions. If you are going to sell this year, you need to get going to list your home within the next two months with all the repairing and decluttering that would be necessary.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:04PM
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