Sometimes NOT buying can be just as big a decision.
In recent months, my wife and I seriously considered selling our home and upgrading to more space. Some of this process was documented in the occasional Neighborhood of the Week column as we “road tested” some of the considerations and advice that’s been offered to me by industry veterans, friends and family.
I showcased a few of our experiences at open houses. We spent several weekends this past spring carting our four children into strangers’ homes all around the area. We found most of the agents we met to be helpful, friendly and professional. One of them even offered me a great discount on beef.
In another column, I shared some experiences interviewing different agents and getting multiple opinions on the value of our current home. Some made home improvement suggestions in an effort to boost the asking price, while others urged expediency and minimal changes in order to strike hard on the market immediately. All of them recommended staging the home and removing the clutter. This is universal sound advice. Nobody wants to envision their new abode with creepy dolls and awkward family photos all over the place.
For a while there, it seemed like we would be going through the entire process of selling our current home and buying a new one, and I would have sporadic column fodder for Neighborhood of the Week for the rest of the year.
Then my wife and I sat down and studied the entire game board. Such a big decision deserves reflection and consideration. And sometimes not doing anything feels like a monumental decision point.
The pro-con spread of moving vs. staying wasn’t particularly dominant on either side. With everything we listed, the move column was probably 45 percent to the stay column at 55 percent. Still, some things matter more than others.
We ultimately decided to stay for now. Yes, we wanted more space for our kids. We wanted an actual master bathroom. We wanted a walk-in closet, and a bigger kitchen, and a place to store all my DVDs on a shelf (long live physical media!).
But we also love our neighborhood. We love the school our kids are zoned for, and we love being able to comfortably afford our mortgage, taxes and utilities.
We could have made good money on our home, but to upgrade put us either in a significantly more expensive mortgage or a less desirable neighborhood. Our current interest rate is better than a new one available today. Our neighborhood is trending up, and if we want to move next year or the year after that, we will likely be in an even better position.
Wants and needs are not the same thing. Yes, more space is nice, but realistically, we have space in our house right now that isn’t being utilized to its full potential. Nobody feels cramped. Of course that will likely change when these kids become teenagers, but I’ll let Future Me deal with that down the road.
We live in a culture where “more” and “bigger” is celebrated and envied. It can be easy to undervalue and under-appreciate what we already have. It’s easy to go to open houses with sprawling floor plans and dream about living larger, but ultimately you can’t measure happiness by square footage.
That little advice nugget gave me an idea. Greeting cards that say, “Congratulations on staying where you are!” or “Good is good enough!” “Way to reject the darker side of consumerism!” Hallmark will be hearing from me soon.
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Let us know about standout neighborhoods and developments that we may feature in an upcoming Neighborhood of the Week. Contact Tyler Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real Estate Agents, take advantage of Neighborhood of the Week by sending in your suggestions for featured areas, including sites outside the normal confines of Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Hayden.