buy a new house

Anyone who is thinking about moving has a few options: move, stay put and do nothing, stay put and renovate to your heart's content. All options have their advantages (staying put and doing nothing speaks to the lazy person in us all) and their disadvantages. But, before you make your decision, keep the following in mind:

The Market: One of the biggest factors when deciding to sell your house or simply stay put is the market. If the market is beneficial to the seller, your best option may simply be to wash your hands of your house: get every penny you can and move on (and out). If the market is bleak, you may be better off staying: there is no point in selling a house for 150,000 when you bought it for twice as much. Similarly, you must think as a buyer as well: if the market is one in which you will sell a four bedroom house to buy a more expensive two bedroom one, you may want to wait until things turn.

The Neighborhood: Some neighborhoods improve over time and some do the opposite. If you moved into an affluent neighborhood twenty years ago only to find that it now is filled with violence, foreclosures, and people parking on their lawn (and sometimes yours) it may be time for you and your street to part ways. If you can't feel comfortable in your home, then it might be better for you to find a new one. Renovating your house won't renovate the entire neighborhood.

The Attachment: For some people, a house is more than walls and a roof; a house is practically a loved one. Some people grow quite attached to their houses. They see them as alcoves filled with memories, history, and life. This may be enough for a person to stay put. For someone who finds themselves talking passionately about their house (or telling it "I love you" each night before bed) renovation may be the answer. Sometimes it's just too hard to say goodbye.

The Amount of Work: The old saying, "Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease and sometimes it gets replaced" speaks true to houses. Sometimes a house that is in need of renovations gets fixed up, and sometimes it just can't be saved. The amount of renovations a house is in need of must be a factor when deciding to put in the work, or just throw in the towel. If the house is just about beyond help, you might want to move and leave it to be somebody else's problem.

The Need: Evaluating how much you actually "need" your house is a good way to decide if you should stay or you should go. For instance, a family with four kids and one on the way probably "needs" their four bedroom house much more than a couple whose children have all grown up and left home. If you are considering renovating a house that you don't really need all that much, one that is way to big for you, know that you might put in a lot of work, only to regret it in the end, or worse, halfway through.