By Jen Juneau
Take a deep breath and ask yourself: Has the time come to relocate?
Moving isn’t anyone’s favorite thing to do. Aside from the physical process of shifting everything you own into a new space and/or paying people to do so, there are many other factors to consider, such as budget, location, and (perhaps most importantly) your sanity. But the challenges are worth the struggle if you’ve reached the point where relocation truly is best for you.
If you’re on the fence about moving, start 2016 by perusing these 16 signs that it’s time to take the plunge and start a new house search.
1. One word: money.
Yes, it’s an obvious point, but examining expenses is a task that shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re considering a move. Sure, you might be able to upgrade your current home to fit your future needs — but will you see a return on investment when it’s time to sell? Now is the time to examine your finances and figure out if you should continue to save some cash to boost your down payment or explore financing for that upgraded master bathroom you’ve been dying to take on.
2. You’ve outgrown your storage space.
There’s only so much Pinterest-surfing you can do for inspiration on reorganizing your kitchen and clearing out the clutter before you start to realize that your current space isn’t working for you anymore. If more cabinets will make your life easier, so be it. It’s up to you whether that means a remodel or a new kitchen in a new house.
3. Your family is expanding.
If you’re adding a couple of kids and/or pets to your brood, upgrading your home is a logical next step. Aside from needing more space, aspects you may have overlooked before — like A-rated school districts and that sweet neighborhood park — may be suddenly appealing. Don’t have kids? This rule still applies, since buying a house in a great school district is a big plus when it’s time to sell.
4. The kids/roommates are gone.
In the opposite vein, don’t waste money on space you don’t need. If it’s just you and your honey now, why not downsize to a smaller house or studio apartment to save not only on your mortgage but also on utilities, repairs, cleaning time, and more?
5. Your neighborhood is on the decline.
If the crime rates in your neighborhood are headed in the wrong direction, it might be a good idea to move — quickly — before it gets even harder to rent or sell your place to someone else. There’s no shame in wanting to make your nest in a home where you feel safe and secure.
6. You have a dream your current place won’t support.
Whether you envision a home dressed to the nines with luxurious upgrades or one with an extra room you can dedicate to home brewing (hey, whatever floats your boat), it might be a sign that you’re ready to move on.
7. Your city isn’t as appealing to future buyers as it once was.
Every trendy city has its moment. If yours is one of those whose popularity is steadily declining, selling now rather than later could save you a lot of cash (and heartache) down the line.
8. It would cost you less to move than to keep repairing your current place.
It can be hard to admit when it’s time to throw in the towel on repairs, especially if you’ve put a lot of hard DIY work into your beloved abode. But it might be time to take a step back and think about how nice it would be on your stress levels and wallet if you could start fresh.
9. You’ve started cooking at home more (or less).
If you never have time to cook anymore — and don’t see that trend slowing down any time soon — downsizing to a home with a smaller (or less fancy) kitchen could be worth the cost of moving. On the flip side, if a lifestyle change means you’re at home more (and spending more time honing your knife skills), a larger, upgraded kitchen could be a great thing to focus on during your home search.
10. Your kids have stopped inviting their friends over.
Is your kid always like, “BRB, Mom, I’m going to Johnny’s,” but Johnny never comes to hang out at your place? Sounds silly, but it might be time to face the fact that since it has more room to roam, Johnny’s house is just a more comfortable hangout spot (or his fridge is extremely well-stocked). If your kids seem hesitant to invite friends over because there is nowhere to play or no space to work on that group project together, you might want to rethink your housing priorities and start the house search (and bump a refinished basement or big backyard to the top of your list).
11. You’re intimidated by the thought of rising interest rates.
If you bought your current house when interest rates were at their rock bottom and before housing prices started to rise, you might be reluctant to give up that amazingly low mortgage payment — even if you really need a square footage upgrade. And while it’s true that even a small increase in mortgage rates can have an impact on your bottom line, the reality is that you can’t control all the factors. So if you’ve outgrown or just aren’t happy with your current home, there’s no reason not to at least explore your options. You might be surprised at what you can afford if you’ve built up enough equity in your current home.
12. You’ve been putting off moving for a while.
Similarly, if you’ve been meaning to put your house on the market but have a lot of work to do to prep your home for sale — or are just dreading the home-selling process — now is the time. While interest rates aren’t rising too rapidly, they are rising. So if you’ve been waiting for the push to get started, this might be it.
13. You just don’t jibe with your neighborhood anymore.
Still living in your old college town? Is the nearest grocery store (what feels like) a thousand miles away? Ask yourself whether your current living situation fits your lifestyle. If the answer is “no,” it’s time to figure out what you want in a neighborhood and move forward.
14. Your office commute is the bane of your existence.
Commuting to and from the office can take hours out of your week. Just think, you could be doing much more important things — such as binge-watching Netflix (or just not wasting huge amounts of gas and time in hours of stop-and-go traffic). Whether you’re starting a new job or keeping your current one, moving closer to work has a lot of benefits.
15. Things are getting serious with that special someone.
Having a new love doesn’t necessarily mean it’s suddenly time to pack up and move in. But purchasing a new place together can be spatially, emotionally, and financially rewarding.
16. A fresh start sounds like just the ticket.
Sometimes, life deals us cards akin to flashing neon signs saying, “GO FORTH AND START ANEW.” If you feel that tug in your heart and are in a place financially to do it, don’t hesitate. You only live once, and life’s too short not to experience it fully.