Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

To stay or not to stay???

yennyfire

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,570
We currently live in a house and have put quite a bit of $ into getting it in decent shape. We've replaced A/C, done extensive drainage, remodeled the basement, etc. However, this house will never have a decent pantry, never have a place for DS to play basketball (our driveway is incredibly steep and no place to put a hoop) and when DS and DD get older, I envision issues with sharing a bathroom where the shower and toilet are in the open (i.e. no way for one to shower while one goes to the bathroom). The house is stucco (we have a $100K insurance policy, but it's pretty bogus, which is a long story, and if we stay, we'd want to rip it off and replace with brick). We haven't even touched the upstairs (kids rooms, master bd/ba) and would basically need to sink another $80K to get this house where we want it to be.

One the flip side, we could move (staying in the same school district) and have all of the above in reasonably good shape (i.e. a brick home, updated baths, etc.), but would probably have to remodel the basement (which cost us about $40K last time) and do quite a bit of re-painting, replacing of window treatments, etc...maybe even updating some of the bathrooms. The 2 neighborhoods we'd consider moving to are at least $150K more expensive than where we live now.

Here's the dilemma. I LOVE what we've done in our current house and would be so sad to leave it behind. However, we will NEVER have a decent sized panty (mine is about 24 inches wide, no joke), never have a basketball net and by the time we did what we want to do upstairs and by adding brick, we'll be the most expensive house in the neighborhood by about $100K (I've always preferred to be the least expensive home in a neighborhood rather than the most expensive).

So, what's the smartest financial move? I should add that we will live in either this house or wherever we move for at least 15 years. I hate moving and don't plan to do it more than absolutely necessary. Thoughts?
 

Miss Sparkly

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
1,664
At the end of the day the only major issue that I see is the pantry. Everything else will be fixed and your son and daughter will grow up and move away. Not having a basketball hoop will by no means break your son. It sounds like you could easily sink another 80k into either house to bring it to where you want it to be so I would take that issue off the table. As far as your house value, home improvements do not give a dollar for dollar value. 80k of home improvements may only raise your value by 40k for example. So would your house really out value the others by so much, and if so, what bracket is your home value in to begin with? A $700,000 house is not going to seem out of place with a $600,000 neighborhood where as a $250,000 will stand out compared to a $150,000 neighborhood. As far as a smart financial move? I've never seen the average house at market value as financially smart. They eat up money in improvements and repairs and if they are financed by a 30 year loan they almost have to double in value within 30 years for a person to break even or make money at the end (a 350k house at 4% for 30 years will end up costing 600k at the end of the loan). How much would it cost you to move? - movers, closing fees, Realtor fees, home inspections, etc. Based on what little I know my 2cents would be to stay in the house and invest the money in a professional home expert to see what can be done about the pantry - I've seen some very creative solutions!
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
Are you sure there is nothing that can be done about the pantry? Seems to me that, if you can't fix the pantry and that is a requirement, then you'll always want to move. Seems that now may be a good time to move given the housing market (or bad depending on when you bought). I think that if you can find something you like that is relatively well priced...make a move.
 

JewelFreak

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
Do you have to make a decision to stay there forever if you don't sell now? Depending on where you live, this could be the worst time to put a house on the market. How about hanging in there for another year or so?

SB's advice is sound. The only caveat is, as you already know, it's a fairly big disadvantage to have the most expensive house in a neighborhood. Doesn't pay to over-improve for where you live. Since you love the house, why not give it a little time -- staying another year or 2 doesn't mean you'll be there the rest of your life; just until it's easier to sell, maybe.
 

yennyfire

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,570
It feels like a catch 22. While it might be difficult to sell our house now, there are homes on the market that we would normally not be able to afford. Part of me thinks that our house will sell fairly easily, as we are in the best school district in the state and there are only a couple of neighborhood's in our price range in this area. As for the basketball hoop and shared bathroom, they aren't unbearable, but not ideal either. In the end, either house (the one we have with major improvements or the newer one which is more expensive but requires less work) will be about the same financial investment, only in one case we'd be the most expensive house in the 'hood and in the other, we'd be the least expensive. As for the moving expenses, etc. I'm not terribly worried about that, as we can move most of our stuff ourself and will only need a moving company for the heavy furniture. Such a tough decision...
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,660
As the parent of a son and daughter 3 years apart, I must comment. Don't expect them to share the bathroom!
 

yennyfire

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,570
Yeah swing girl, I figured that they won't, which is part of the problem. We could build a bathroom in what's now the playroom, but there's not a ton of room to add a bathroom and still have a closet...it's just not ideal.

SB, we do have a 30 year mortgage, but we will pay it off in about 14 years, since we make 2 payments a month and also make a couple of extra payments towards principal each year. I should add that we've saved the money to do the renovations on this house or put a huge downpayment on the newer, more expensive house. It's really a matter of deciding if the added features (pantry, separate bathrooms for the kids, etc.) is worth the hassle and expense of moving and if, in the long run, we'll get more $$ out of the house in the more expensive neighborhood....
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,660
I meant share a bathroom at the same time. Of course, they don't need their own private bathroom. We remodeled our house and decided to make one big nice bathroom upstairs that we all take turns using. Many of us grew up in homes with only one bathroom. Our house has 2 but everyone prefers to use the newest one. It all works out.

The main problem I see with your current house is that you want to replace stucco with brick. That's an expensive change and seems more cosmetic, so you probably won't get your money out of that investment. You want to make so many expensive changes to your current house, it just sounds like you aren't happy there.

For me, location, the neighborhood, and floor plan are the most important things in that order because those are things you can't change. Remodeling can be done anywhere and a good architect can come up with space by rearranging things in ways you couldn't imagine.
 

yennyfire

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,570
Ah, I misunderstood swingirl...thanks for the clarification on the bathroom thing. The reason we want to replace the stucco with brick is because we got screwed. We got a $100K stucco warranty when we bought the house (that was part of the deal with the original owners). We thought that we had protected ourselves, but each year, when it was time to renew our warranty, the company would find a couple of thousand dollars worth of repairs we needed to make before they'd give us the insurance. Of course, they stipulated that that had to do the work themselves or they wouldn't renew the policy. So, it's basically a scam (and we checked out a few other companies...they all operate this way). A stucco house isn't a problem if well maintained, but for most buyers, they hear synthetic stucco and run, so we know if we ever wanted to sell it, we'd need that warranty in place. If you take $2-3K every year for 15 years, we might as well do the brick, which we were told would cost about $35K. Not to mention, that it irritates me to pay into a scam.
 

AmeliaG

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
880
All other things being equal, I'd make the decision based on which layout is more amenable to conducive living. It looks like the pantry and kid's bathroom in your current house have fundamental layout problems which sound incredibly expensive to repair but the remodeling of the new house's basement sounds expensive too.
 

lyra

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
5,211
Put your house up for sale and see what happens. I would move if I were in your shoes. I know that's easier said than done. You should be happy in your home, and if a move will change that and you can afford it, then do it. I definitely would not buy another house before your house sold. If you find you get no offers or really low offers, then you'll have to sit tight and work on the house to the minimum. You might have to do the brick though, if no one will buy your house without it. Does it still make sense financially to do that? It wouldn't hurt to interview with a few realtors too. Good luck! I actually like moving and would do it every few years if I could.
 

Miss Sparkly

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
1,664
I don't anticipate the market to rebound anytime soon concerning home values, but interest rates will inevitably rise. If this is something you are truly interested in then I would think that now is a good time to go for it from a financial numbers standpoint. Is this something that you have been contemplating for a while or did you see something that just happened to catch your eye?
 

MichelleCarmen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
15,880
Okay, I moved just recently due to many reasons...quick question...WHY do you need to remodel the basement if you buy a new home? This can be post-poned or not?

Second of all, I have two boys and even as such, there is no way one would take a shower while the other used the toilet. Regardless, it's pretty much necessary to have two bathrooms (basically, even if you stayed in your current home, you'd need at least two bathrooms - we just moved into one with 2.5).

You brought up a lot of reasons why you would want to move...another question for you, is even if the kids are in the same district, would they be in the same school boundries? We've run into this a few times and 1/2 the time my kids have ended up on variances to keep them in the same school w/their friends, which requires application with the district. For example, right now, we live CLOSER to the school my kids are NOT boundried in than the one they should go to, so we have to apply to keep them w/their friends, which means I drive them.
 

yennyfire

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,570
sparklyblonde, no this is not a whim. We've been thinking about this for years. It's one of the reasons we haven't pulled the trigger on the brick. I LOVE what we've done to the basement and the main level of our home. It's really gorgeous (IMO, of course!) and I'll be so sad to leave it because I know if we move to another house, even if I like the bathroom/kitchen etc. it won't be EXACTLY what I wanted and will still need tweaking.

No, of course we wouldn't need to re-model the basement right away. It's just the fact that I know we'd want to and I know the expense in doing so.

Lyra, I can't imagine LIKING to move! :errrr:

MC, yes I think I can petition to keep the kids in the same school if I would drive them (which I'd be fine with). I guess I need to look into this as it would open up our search area a bit.
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
I would talk to some realtors about listing your house. See what they think you should list it for and what you'll probably end up with after paying the buyer's closing costs, etc. If they think it will sell pretty quickly and for a price that's acceptable to you, I'd go ahead and list it. Good realtors will be able to give you an accurate estimate of what it will sell for.

You could always house hunt and if you find something you love make an offer contingent on your house selling.
 

MichelleCarmen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
15,880
yennyfire|1313408117|2991113 said:
sparklyblonde, no this is not a whim. We've been thinking about this for years. It's one of the reasons we haven't pulled the trigger on the brick. I LOVE what we've done to the basement and the main level of our home. It's really gorgeous (IMO, of course!) and I'll be so sad to leave it because I know if we move to another house, even if I like the bathroom/kitchen etc. it won't be EXACTLY what I wanted and will still need tweaking.

No, of course we wouldn't need to re-model the basement right away. It's just the fact that I know we'd want to and I know the expense in doing so.

Lyra, I can't imagine LIKING to move! :errrr:

MC, yes I think I can petition to keep the kids in the same school if I would drive them (which I'd be fine with). I guess I need to look into this as it would open up our search area a bit.
Yeah, you will need to call. Most schools require that you are still in the same district and if the schools are overcrowded, the district will have more strict guidelines. If your kids are already in the school, they may be "grandfathered" in.
 

partgypsy

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Messages
6,484
Well it sounds like you are not happy with the house, for a few reasons. It sounds like those things that bug you won't be changing any time soon (such as the stucco).. But getting a house that is 150K more is a lot of money. Can you afford to have a mortgage that signifcantly higher and still have wiggle room? If you can, I would try to do that.

I'm kind of in the same boat. We live in a house that is on the small side. We have put a lot of work into it and gotten it into a very livable state. But -it has drawbacks. It has no driveway, the backyard is (extremely) small. We would also love to have an additional bedroom. Lastly and this is from what we have been told is nonstructural but no less bothersome, recurring cracks in the plaster walls. Sometimes, I hardly notice them. Sometimes they drive me crazy.

But, we love our neighborhood. Very friendly and walkable (our children's school is a 5 minute walk away, downtown 10 minutes, our respective workplaces a 20 minute walk-can't beat that!). We can't afford the things we want in another home in our neighborhood. Or we can get what we want, but need to leave our neighborhood (and probably buy another car).
We are also endlessly debating remodeling our attic to add additional room (either flex space or bedrooms). First of all we would have to go back into debt to make it happen, and second of all, that would really commit us to staying (it would make the house great for us, but we wouldn't get back what we invested).
I just wonder how people make these kinds of decisions, since it seems very hard for us to make them.
 

PinkTower

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
1,129
I think it depends upon where you live in the US.

We own two residences in Georgia; in fact, we owned three until less than a year ago. It is hard to sell now, because with so many banks having gone under in this state, the potential buyer has such a hard time qualifying. Having said that, you might just test the waters if it won't get your hopes up too much. The artificial stucco is a big red flag for most buyers. I know we have always stipulated upfront that we would not look at a synthetic stucco home. I don't know if lenders balk at that material or not; you could investigate. In other words, you may have to brick the house anyway.

On the other hand, we know someone who just moved here from Denver, and they sold their condo in one week for full asking price.

Everything where I live is a buyers market now. It is very sad. For example, I hired an assistant today, at a modest hourly wage, and absolutely no benefits or paid days off. I, of course, hired someone experienced, highly qualified ( with a Master's degree ) and impeccable references. Ten years ago, I would have had to hire a high school graduate for the same position.
 

yennyfire

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,570
That's really sad PinkTower, but probably an accurate reflection of the state of things in GA.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    5.5 Carat Diamond Upgrade
    5.5 Carat Diamond Upgrade
    Style File: Julia Roberts
    Style File: Julia Roberts
    Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations
    Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top