Saturday, October 19, 2013

Can't afford to Move

A recent survey of people who stay in their homes long after they probably should move found these “top 10 reasons” given. These are the worst reasons not to sell. Bad reason #1: "I can’t afford to move." Sellers who say this mean that they are stuck in the house they live in, maybe they owe more than they could sell the house for, and when that’s the case, they are often deferring much-needed maintenance and foregoing life’s pleasures. Actually they can neither afford to move nor stay--without making drastic lifestyle changes. There may be options here. Refinancing or renting out part of the house could represent a solution that may make this home affordable, but there may also be genuinely affordable housing out there. Usually this reason is given by folks who have not investigated all their options. Bad reason # 2: "It’s my home, and I’m used to the area." The suburbs change every day, so don’t count on your neighborhood or community staying the same over the decades of extended living that lie ahead for you. The changes you will see are not always for the better. As a homeowner, if you want permanence in your neighborhood, look toward homes found around universities or natural wonders like National Parks or unique ecosystems like wetlands. Bad reason #3: "There’s nowhere else I like as much as here!" Sellers who make this statement have rarely explored all the corners of their region. Are you really sure the home you live in is the best you can do? The best your money can buy? Check the magazine rack for “best places to live, or best places to retire”, issues. Life is not a dress rehearsal, keep your eyes open and you will find a step up opportunity. Bad reason #4: "I can’t afford the areas I really like." Lately real estate values have taken some dramatic shifts and will likely continue to do so. Most sellers do not know exactly what they could sell for or exactly what comparable housing in their preferred neighborhood would cost. More and more properties have separate rental-income suites that make moving up financially feasible. Some owners live in the suite and rent out the house until they can afford to reverse this arrangement. Take the positive approach, "How can I afford the area I really love?" Bad reason #5: "I’ll leave this house feet first, in a box." People are living longer today, and their active engaged living can last for decades. Digging in your heals to stay--out of fear of losing control of your life and ending up in a "home"--is a bad reason to stay. Get out and explore your housing options, everything from reverse mortgages to communal living choices can give you reasons to get moving. Five runner-up bad reasons not to sell include: 1. All my friends live near this house. 2. I raised my kids in this house. 3. My beautiful summer garden makes up for everything. 4. I renovated once and I can’t do it again. 5. The thought of packing and moving is too much. The bad reasons to stay go on, but they are still bad reasons. Too often, stress related to problems that keep us hanging on to our "home" shields us from decisions that make more sense by solving problems and relieving stress. Dane Hahn is a real estate professional serving Sarasota and Charlotte Counties. He can be reached at or by phone at 941-681-0312. See him on the net at

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