I had a comment recently that deserves a some more attention.
I can understand you wanting to have the freedom to travel, but is now a good time to try and sell your home with the market being so depressed?
This is a great question and one we spent a lot of time considering before deciding to go through with the sale of our house. The housing market is the lowest we’ve seen since I can remember. Most houses around here are selling well under what they sold for even 10 or 15 years ago. To answer the question of when to sell, we must ask another question:
Did you buy your house as an investment – or as a place to live?
The answer to this simple question will dictate the best time to sell your house. If you bought it as an investment, you will sell your house at a point when it is profitable to do so. If you bought your house as a place to live, you will sell your house when it no longer meets your needs.
We bought our house as a place to live. We liked the location, we liked the layout, and we enjoyed it for many years. Eventually, that house no longer suited our needs. Life changed and those change made our idyllic home less so. While living in that house we gave birth to our daughter. I became unemployed and later found a job with a longer commute. The cost of utilities, taxes, gas, and groceries went up. Many things changed.
Our home no longer suited our needs and desires so we sold it in a down market for less than we originally paid for it.
Now we have a new place to live that is meeting our current needs and desires. We live closer to work, closer to family, and closer to the weekend activities that we enjoy.
I have mentioned before that this move from a large house to a smaller apartment has freed up time and money, which allow us to travel more, satisfy more of our wants, and be more generous with our giving.
The Question of Timing
The investment vs. place to live existing on a continuum. We answered the question of when to sell based on extremes. If you buy a house as an investment then you sell your house at the point when you can make the most profit. If you buy your house as a place to live then you sell it as soon as it no longer meets your needs. Since money does play a big part in home buying, the timing of the sale lives somewhere along the continuum.
Naturally we buy a house hoping we can one day sell it and make a little something, while also satisfying the need for a place to live. The timing of the sale depends on where you fall on that continuum and how much time you have available.
Our daughter was five years old when we listed our house for sale. Time flies when you are watching your child grow up. We desired to make changes quickly so that we can maximize the experiences we provide our daughter before she matures into adulthood.
When I thought back to my own childhood, my fondest memories were our family vacations. The down economy not only affected the value of our house, but also affected our ability to produce these types of memories for our daughter. The ability to create fond memories through rich experiences became a priority for us.
How much time were we willing to give up while sacrificing these memory making events in order to make a little more money on our house sale? The answer for us was very little. We had no clue as to how long it would take for the housing market to turn around, and we had already given up too much time in figuring out what we wanted and what was important to us, and then in the resulting purge of the stuff that didn’t support our goals and desires.
We changed our house because it suited our current life situation, and so for us, now is a good time to sell a house.