Busy parents with kids growing out of their bunk beds, empty nesters who are ready to downsize, or even home owners who are sick of repairs, increasing maintenance fees, or long commutes. Whatever the reason, sometimes it’s just time to move on and you’re faced with a clear-cut sign: it’s time to buy a new home.
The average homeowner lives in their home for about 10 years before selling, according to the National Association of Realtors. Every stage of life come with a different needs for a home, and a lot can happen in a decade to make homeowners reconsider their living arrangements.
Should You Move to a New House?
Here’s a look at 10 key signs it’s time to buy a new home.
You Don’t Want (or Need) to Rent Anymore!
Renters face the guilt of using their hard-earned money at paying off their landlord’s mortgage instead of their own. Eventually, renters decide it’s time to graduate to homeownership and get onto the property ladder.
It doesn’t help that in recent years rental prices have steadily crept up: the average nationwide monthly rent for a one-bedroom unit jumped 4.2 percent in 2018 to $1,140 while studio apartments skyrocketed by five percent to $1,065. At this rate, in some cases, a mortgage would be on par with the cost of renting.
For many Americans, getting their ducks in a row with job security, a steady income and savings, and strong credit signals it’s a good time to invest in a starter home.
You Need More Space for a Growing Family
Whether storage is a struggle, your baby is outgrowing your home’s sole bedroom, or your tweens are elbowing for space and refuse to share, homeowners know when their cramped quarters just aren’t working for their family.
Thirty-five percent of homebuyers said they were tired of their current home, with another 10 percent hoping for a bigger space, according to a Home Shopper & Buyer Insights study by Builders Digital Experience.
You could be thinking of bringing home anew born baby in the coming years, you may be pining for a backyard for your toddler to play in, or your parents may be moving in make you feel your home is shrinking and you’ll need more space to accommodate your expanding family’s needs.
If an expanding family or multi-generational living is spurring your desire for a new home, you need to make sure you have enough space for everything from a playroom, to a separate space to facilitate privacy for your elderly parents.
You Want Less Space and Less Hassle
You may have wonderful memories associated with your family home, but as your kids have grown up and moved out over the decades, you end up with a large empty nest.
Baby boomers know this scenario well: 42 percent of baby boomers said they would prefer to live in a smaller home with another 37 percent eyeing a move in the near future, according to research conducted by the Demand Institute.
It’s no wonder baby boomers are combing through listings for smaller homes. An empty house comes with unneeded bedrooms, expensive utility bills to the keep a large home comfortable, and extensive maintenance.
That’s a lot of upkeep for seniors ready to cash in on their family home, downsize, and move to a new condo or townhouse that’s strategically constructed to better accommodate the elderly. Some empty nesters want to start the next chapter of their lives and usher in their retirement and golden years in smaller, better-suited abodes.
Your Home Has Turned Into a Money Pit
Old homes come with recurring maintenance issues. Leaky roofs cost an arm and a leg to fix; old appliances need repairing and replacing; energy inefficiencies jack up your utility prices. Your aging home affects your savings; stop the bleeding by moving into a brand new build.
New builds remove these concerns. They’re frequently backed by builder warranties, while brand new appliances come with warranties to give you peace of mind.
It’s worth noting that the average homeowner ends up spending about $2,000 a year in maintenance services. These services include septic service and building maintenance. If you’re grappling with sticker shock every time you’re slapped with this bill, you could cut costs by moving into a new-build property that requires less work to keep comfortable.
You’ve Outgrown Your Starter Home
Most Americans dip their toes into the real estate market by first buying a starter home. Starter homes usually aren’t glamorous, but homeowners need to start somewhere.
A 2016 Bank of America poll suggests that a whopping 75 percent of first-time homebuyers wished they could bypass the starter home step and upgrade to greener pastures straight away.
You may be itching to move out of your starter home and into a new home after a few years after you bought it. Maybe you’re ready for the next step: You’ve proven you can manage a mortgage and the monthly expenses of running a household, you’ve built a chunk of equity in your home, and you have your down payment already locked in from your first buy.
You’re in the Midst of a Booming Seller’s Market
Low interest rates, rising home prices, and a limited supply of homes on the market marks the perfect trifecta to get your house on the market so you can earn a pretty penny.
Redfin suggests the U.S. may be entering a seller’s market, as home sale prices rose 2.7 percent from 2018 levels. Overall, America’s home prices have grown between one percent and three percent year over year since September 2018.
A seller’s market can entice homeowners into selling their property to turn a massive profit. You can tell if the price per square foot for real estate in your area is skyrocketing, properties are being scooped up quickly, and sellers are getting their asking price.
It may be as simple as finding out what your neighbors received in recent sales when they sold their properties on your street. If you’re thinking, “They got what for their homes?” you could command similar prices, setting you up with revenue for your new home.
Your Home is Making You House Poor
Not everyone is selling their homes to upgrade or to cash in on their investment. Sometimes, you simply can’t afford the roof over your head and you’re overstretching your budget to keep your mortgage and cover monthly costs. Being house poor – when your home is eating up the majority of your family’s income – is a tell-tale sign you need to move out and find cheaper accommodations.
Homeownership comes with mortgage payments, property taxes, home insurance, and monthly bills and maintenance fees. If you’re drowning in these expenses, consult with your lenders so you aren’t risking foreclosure.
You may already be mulling over the decision to sell your home and move into a more modest place. Make sure you can qualify for another loan, and that the downgrade will be significantly worthwhile after all of the hidden costs of hiring movers, closing costs, real estate fees, and other expenses.
As a general rule of thumb, your monthly housing costs shouldn’t take up more than one-third of your gross monthly income.
Your Commute Changed – Or You’ve Gotten Tired of It
For many households, uprooting the family and moving into a new one is tied to a change in commute to work. In some instances, some homeowners are ready to move to a new home simply because they’re tired of sitting in traffic on their morning commute.
The logistics extend beyond homeowners’ commute times too: parents may decide to move homes so they’re closer to certain day cares or they’re thinking long-term and want to move to neighborhoods with better schools.
Your Neighborhood is in Decline
If you’re noticing more graffiti on the walls, crime rates on the rise, or unemployment issues slowly creeping up, you may be worried that your neighborhood has taken a turn for the worse and it’s a good idea to sell your home before it gets harder to do so.
Your home is your biggest purchase and is an investment you need to nurture and protect. You can do as much as you can to keep your house in tip-top condition so it’s ready for resale at the drop of a hat, but external factors aren’t in your control.
Your best bet is to keep a pulse on what’s going on in your neighborhood, community, and city overall. If you have a community committee, take part so you can do what you can to make sure your neighborhood stays safe, clean, and appealing to prospective buyers.
You Want a Personalized Home
It may be time to upgrade into a new home if you’re eager to put personal touches into a new build. New construction homes let you control everything from designing the layout to cater to your family’s needs to incorporating features like state-of-the-art appliances in the kitchen to cozy heated floors and towel racks in the bathroom.
Your old home may come with its difficulties, which you’ve only teased out after living there. With this experience, you’ll know precisely what your family wants in their dream home, and you can tailor your new build accordingly.
Your life circumstances may be changing too: if a loved one is facing health issues, you could install wheelchair accessible bathrooms, or if you’ve started to work from home, a home office in the quietest corner of the house could be in the cards.
Niche upgrades are one of the exciting parts of a new construction – ultimately, your fingerprints are all over the blueprints of your new home.
Carmen Chai is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has lived and reported from major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, London and Paris. For NewHomeSource, Carmen covers a variety of topics, including insurance, mortgages, and more.