Unfortunately, the investment of homeownership can be so consuming that it makes it hard to know when it is time to leave. Look out for these five signs to know when you need to buy a new house.
You Have a Changing Family
Your needs in a home change as your family changes. Perhaps you bought your house when you were single and now you have a partner and kids. Maybe you are currently preparing for a new baby and you worry about having enough bedrooms or the safety of your home. Do you have multiple kids in a single bedroom? Sharing a bedroom might work for very young children, but older kids and teenagers need space of their own. If you have a growing family, that is certainly a sign that you need a bigger home.
At the same time that you need a larger home as your family grows, you often need to scale back once your children leave the nest. Owning a home that is too big can cause just as many problems as one that is too small. Unused bedrooms still require energy to heat and cool, not to mention you still need to clean even unused rooms from time to time. A mortgage on a smaller home could also be cheaper. Downgrading on size can also help you save money on homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Having a home that is too large could also mean you have fewer opportunities to interact with kids that you do still have at home. (Related: How to Win a Bidding War When Buying a Home)
You Lack Storage Space
When you do not have enough storage space for all your stuff, you probably need to look for a new house. A lack of storage space can even a leading cause of regret for homebuyers. If you have a litany of things that you do not want and will never use again, you might have an organizational issue rather than a space issue. Often the problem is more systemic. Having to get new holiday decorations every year because you do not have anywhere to store it, throwing away things you want to keep, or using a bedroom to pile boxes are all indicators that you have a real space problem. You are more likely to have this problem with an older home because these houses generally have fewer closets and less space. Many people use off-site storage facilities to help manage a lack of space, but these costs can add up. It can also be inconvenient to go back and forth when you could have a home that meets your needs.
To keep this from being a problem in a new home, do an inventory of the storage space you need. When you tour a new home, make sure the closets have enough room for your clothes. Look for shelving and drawers in closets that provide extra space. Check the kitchen for places to store, pots and pans, all of your dinnerware and the appliances you will use.
Expenses are Too High
Another sign that it is time to move on is if you have problems balancing your budget at the end of the month. Stress over finances could be a big indicator that it is time to move. Your housing expenses, including your mortgage, HOA fees, and insurance, should cost less than 30 percent of your monthly income. Calculate all of the expenses on your home. If you go over 30 percent, start looking for a new home. Feel free to take other factors into account as well. Are houses in your neighborhood in high demand? If your neighbor got an offer over asking, you might want to put your house on the market as well. The money you earn from selling your current home together with buying a more affordable house can help control your expenses. (Related: Downpayment Assistance for California Home Buyers)
Some costs not directly from but related to your home can also be too high and a sign it is time to buy a different house. Examine how much you spend on commuting to work or getting your kids to school. The cost of fuel keeps going up and if you live far from work this adds a lot of strain to your monthly budget. California ranks as one of the worst states for commutes, and you could easily spend a half-an-hour each way from work. Living closer to work could help you cut down on your expenses.
Your House Requires a Lot of TLC
When your to-do list never seems to end or the amount of money it will take to fix your home is high, it might be time to find a new place to live. Repairs are expected and necessary with any home, but it comes to a point when you may feel as though every time you fix one problem with your house another problem occurs. Extensive issues with your home can be consuming even if you enjoy doing your own repairs. When it is more expensive to keep doing repairs than it would be to move, it is probably time to find another home. Moving can do more than just save you money. Consistent repairs take a lot of time that you could be spending with your family or on vacation. It is also stressful to work on repairs yourself or manage workers to do it for you. If your home requires major repair work or an extension, you could also run into problems with your HOA or the planning commission, further exacerbating the issue.
Keep a few things in mind when looking for a new home if this is your current problem. Try to find a house that is newer than your current one. Make sure you know about any major repairs recently done on the house. California law requires sellers to disclose information about the state of the home. In addition to getting disclosures, you can also have an inspection done to see if the home would require any major work. (Related: Seven Best, Cheap & Free Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value)
You Do Not Like the Neighborhood
When you drive down your street and you see houses that need major work, problems with infrastructure, or you just do not like your neighbors, it is worth considering if a new house in a new neighborhood could help you look forward to going home. There are many reasons to fall out of love with your neighborhood. Perhaps the nice neighbors you had before left and you have problems with the people who bought the house. Having your child in a certain school district may not be a priority for you anymore. Maybe every restaurant you go to or your gym is in a different neighborhood, and it would be more convenient to live elsewhere. Neighborhoods around a city change over time in terms of the age of the population and the amenities available. If this is happening, you likely try to avoid your home as much as possible. Live in a neighborhood that fits your tastes. Consider how much time you spend in other neighborhoods and choose one that works for you.
There are lots of signs that it is time to buy a new house. It could even be as simple as feeling ready to move. Commonly, people need to buy a new home as their needs change. Assess your lifestyle and look for these signs that it is time to move on to something that works better for you.