The seven-year-itch is a real thing--the National Board of Realtors says that the average American family moves every seven years. So, if you've been in your house awhile and are feeling itchy, ask yourself these questions to figure out if a move is right for you.
Do You Need More Space?
Growing families tend to expand in lots of directions, not just numbers. As your toddlers turn into tweens and teens, not only do they get bigger, they stuff they need multiplies--a pair of soccer cleats and some shin guards turns into a bag of balls, shoes for every surface and a goal in the backyard. If your kids play hockey or football, all that gear needs its own room--preferably close to the laundry. And, you've probably found that spending all your free time in the family room streaming the most popular teenage thing on Netflix is not always what you would like, and you would enjoy a grown-up space where you can control the remote.
Are You Empty Nesting?
When the fledglings have flown, and you're rattling around in a big empty house that you've got to maintain, it's time to think of downsizing--free up your money and your time with a smaller house or even a condo. These days, even small towns have over-55 communities that are like summer camp for parents, where you own your house but have your maintenance provided, dining, social and fitness amenities and the option to move into managed care when the time comes.
Are There Better Opportunities Elsewhere?
Economic recoveries are not created equal, and if your city hasn't yet felt the benefits of a stronger job market, then a move to a city with more and better opportunities makes financial sense. While uprooting your family is difficult, the advantages of a better job with higher pay far outweigh the emotional turmoil of a move. If your career is in good shape but the cost of living in your town or neighborhood is skyrocketing, a local move is a good strategy. In many communities, higher real estate prices translate into bigger stickers everywhere from the gas station to the plumber, and property re-evaluations seldom lead to lower taxes.
Are You Safe and Secure in Your Home?
The flip side of the real estate boom is the bust that is still having an impact on families all over the country. There are innumerable formerly upscale subdivisions that have suffered from lots of foreclosures, and homes are rentals at best or abandoned at worst. If this describes your neighborhood, and you're concerned about the transient turn, it's time to move to a new house. There's nothing more important than your family's safety, and a change would give everyone peace of mind.
Do You Want to Be Closer to Family?
If you find yourself heading out to visit family every vacation, maybe a move to where the family is would be a good idea. Particularly if your family is close-knit, or you want your parents to have larger role in your children's lives, a move closer to home gives you an ongoing relationship rather than one that is sporadic. You'll get to vacation in different places, and your kids will see more of the world than the town where you grew up, charming though it may be.
Just Want a Change of Scenery?
This is where the seven-year itch comes in. Sometimes, you just want a new house. Your tastes change, your hobbies change, and one day you wake up and decide you want a vineyard or an outdoor kitchen or you want to breed koi. It's all about living your dream, and if that means a new house, a new city or a new state, go for it. Americans are always on the move, so if that is appealing to you then find a realtor and a mover, and scratch the itch.
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