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A Home for Every Stage of Life Versus One Home For Life

Over time your interests and values will change… should your house change to match?

At one point in your life you might value charm, at another point you might value practicality.  One point you might love doing yard work, or at least believe that you could love it or could learn to love it.  Later, you might admit to yourself that you hate it, or lose interest in it as other interests gain priority.  Or, perhaps you never had time to garden and now suddenly you have more free time to devote to tending tomatoes and peppers, or roses, and find it incredibly fulfilling.

Is long term commitment to homes and jobs a thing of the past?

Is it realistic then to choose one home … for life?  There was a time that home owners bought a house when it was new, with no intention of moving.  It wasn’t their “starter home” it was “The Home.”  Then again, it wasn’t just houses that were like that.  It is rare to meet someone that is just beginning their career that fully intends to put in 25 years with The Company.

Now, many people consider getting a job their “First job,” which is experience and a stepping stone to get their next job, which will be better with more responsibility, and of course, more money, which they can then use to purchase their bigger, better house.

Are the days of buying one house, for life, so to speak, over?  Have those days been replaced by generations that are happier moving to fit their needs? Or, perhaps, a generation that needs to move because of relocation, etc?  Are there other benefits to moving?  How does this change the house hunt strategy?

Do you want flexibility or long term commitment?

This all goes back to the question of what you want to get out of your home.  What are your home buying motives?  Are you ready to commit to life in one neighborhood, one home, with maybe a little bit of remodeling and some landscaping in your future?  Or, are you like most people these days that plan to change jobs, plan to move and are looking for a Starter Home, a Move Up Home, A Place to Retire? Do you want a home suited for every stage of your life, or just one home- that might be a little tight at times, and too spacious at others?

There are benefits to flexibility.

There are benefits and pitfalls to each strategy.  Moving allows for flexibility and freedom.  It also allows for opportunities to make money through real estate.  Growing up, my family moved every few years, sometimes to follow a change in my parents’ careers, but others because my mother has an incredible talent with buying a place, fixing it up, selling and making a lot of money.

You would lose the option to make money on your home if you never intend to sell.  Moving allowed me to experience many different subcultures within the country, experiences that I would never trade.  It also allowed the home to more closely fit the family’s changing budget, changing size, and changing needs.

So, moving can allow for making a return on your investment, new and exciting experiences, and flexibility.

There are benefits to commitment.

Staying put has other benefits.  Stability is certainly one that comes to mind.  There is something to be said for the stability that comes with being in the same place year after year.  I can’t say from experience exactly what that something is, but I think there is a comfort there.  There is an opportunity for things to mature- like relationships, hobbies, community involvement.    From a financial perspective, if you don’t “Move Up,” you aren’t increasing your mortgage payment.  This could allow more of your budget to be allocated elsewhere.

Does some soul searching before you begin home searching.

After moving out of my parents’ house, I continued to move- even more frequently in fact.  Instead of every five or six years, I was moving every year.  Sometimes even more often than that.  Now, I’m ready to hand in my cardboard boxes and plant my roots – I can’t say that it will be for good, but it will be many years before we try to “cash in” on this house.

Before beginning your home search, do a little soul searching.  Identify what you want to get out of this transaction.  If you know what you want, whether it’s a Move Up, or a place to spend the next thirty years, your buyer’s agent can help you find it.