Staying Put

I make my living by helping people move. But at times, I have to advise them that it may make more sense to just stay put.

Here’s a recent example…

A few weeks ago, I met a nice, older couple at an open house. They have been thinking about moving from their house to a condo. Right now they have one floor living, a garage, and central air. They have around 1,100 square feet and would want a condo around the same square footage. Finally, they have no mortgage on their home, so their only recurring monthly housing expenses are their taxes, insurance, and utilities.

I suggested that I could help them understand what their house is worth so they could make sure they were looking in the right price range for condos. They thought that sounded like a good idea and invited me to their home.

I toured their house, went home and did a market analysis, and came up with a potential selling range. I also created a Net Sheet to help them understand what they would take away from a sale. The Net Sheet takes the projected selling price and subtracts out the estimated commission, state and town conveyance taxes, attorney fees, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Based on their need for single floor living, a garage, and the towns they were considering, there were about 10 condo options available. When we took into account the condo fees at the complexes, taxes, insurance, and utilities they would pay, it turned out to be cheaper to stay in their current home.

Luckily they currently live in a ranch, so they don’t need to deal with stairs, and that made my recommendation to stay where they are much easier. They also have adult children in the area that can help them out with plowing and mowing, when needed.

While I do enjoy helping people sell their homes, sometimes it’s in a person’s best interest to just stay where they are. If you’re thinking about moving to reduce expenses, it’s important to understand your current monthly housing budget.

When looking at condos, don’t forget to take into account the monthly Homeowners Association fees and what they include. They may make it more attractive to just stay in your house.