Movin’ Up*

Mansion

In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, Daylight Savings Time arrives followed by the First Day of Spring the following week. Spring has sprung and the itch to “move to a better location” is bound to infect many homeowners. Your neighbors, without so much as a hint, will ring up their local real estate agent or pound that “For Sale by Owner” sign into their front yard turf. New House Fever has hit.For Sale Sign

Before you succumb to checking out your dream house in your dream location just twenty miles away, consider the following:

  • To most homeowners, their domicile is a refuge from the world, a secure place to raise a family. Yet a pesky thought lingers at the back of that owner’s mind: It’s also a good investment that will pay off handsomely in the distant future. Alas, a new house is so much easier to fall in love with than the monthly statement from your stocks and bonds portfolio.
  • If you move to a larger house with an ideal floor plan and a swimming pool in the back yard, don’t expect to be “happier.” Now your will have all that extra room. But there are so many tradeoffs for happiness, the biggest being a longer work commute. And a bigger lawn to mow each weekend. And rooms that sit empty for lack of funds to buy furniture to fill them. Now your old, familiar neighbors are left behind and you need to get to know, and hopefully like, a whole new bunch. And let’s not even mention your teen daughter who has just left her “true love” behind at neighborhood #1.
  • Thinking you will never have to sell your dream house without making a handsome profit? Most people resist selling a house for less than they paid for it. That’s downright un-American. So keep your fingers crossed that inflation comes along and boosts your future sale price. Depreciation caused by the inevitable boom-bust cycle can take the wind out of your sails (or sales) pretty quickly.

So maybe you better just “sit tight” for another year and enjoy your current, boring neighborhood and your bursting-at-the-seams closets and wait to recover from the selling bug that bit you.

questions

*   Reference used: the Wealth Management Section of the WSJ


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