THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Hello Readers, I received some amazing feedback from my article: When Is It Worth Going Back Into Debt? One reader’s feedback really stood out to me. This reader was actually my Mom, who wrote me a long dissertation about how I am being shortsighted, further affirming that she always knows best.
So without further ado, here is an excerpt of my Mom’s wise words below:
Moving isn’t easy, but we have never dreaded it. We have found it to be exciting. Moving four times has allowed our wants, desires, and tastes to evolve more naturally with each move. It has also forced us to constantly update our home, keeping it fresh. Example: Some of our friends still have baby pictures sitting out, and their kids are in their 30’s.
Since my parents first were married, they have lived in four different houses.
- House #1 – 7 years
- House #2 (same neighborhood as house #1, but bigger house) – 6 years
- House #3 (bigger than #2) – 13 years
- House #4 (biggest one of all) – 18 years and counting
The Downside to Moving More Than Once
- Lots of work and stress involved with moving
- Realtor fees at 6% is a high barrier to jump over
- Moving fees can be expensive
According to the latest figures, the average Inter-state moving fee costs roughly $4,300, while an Intra-state moving fee costs around $2,300. And the average family moving 7,400 pounds, or almost FOUR tons of stuff. Clearly, we have a lot of hoarders in this country!
Stepping Stone Moves
Living in different houses and in different locations, my parents have realized what they truly like. They thought that House #3 would be a “forever” home. But instead, they never settled on a “forever” home, they have been able to continue upgrading over the years.
Avoiding Road Noise
My parents moved into House #3 in December 1986. By March 1987, my Dad told my Mom that that house could not be their forever home because of the highway noise in the background. It took them 12.5 years to find their current home (House #4). If they ever were to move again, they would avoid any home with excessive traffic noise after their experience in House #3.
My parents love how their current home is less isolated compared to House #3. The recreation center is around the corner, as well as grocery stores, the bank, their dentist, restaurants, the mall, the library, etc. If they are one day unable to drive as they become older, it would be very easy for them to walk to many of these places, although hopefully driverless technology is around the corner.
The More Bathrooms, the Better
One of the biggest takeaways my Mom learned from living in different homes was that you can never have enough bathrooms. House #1 only had one small bathroom. That could get tricky with multiple people needing to use it at once. In House #3, my sister and I had to share a bathroom, and my sister did not enjoy one moment of that.
Capital Gains Tax
If you are approaching the $250,000 limit for single filers, ($500,000 for married filers), you can avoid capital gains tax on your home’s appreciation by moving to another home. E.g., Let’s say as a single filer, you bought your home for $100,000. But now it’s worth $350,000. If you sell it for $351,000, you will have to pay a capital gains tax on the $1,000. However, if you buy a new house for $200,000 before your current home appreciates more than $250,000, you are able to essentially reset as move up into a nicer home. So then your new capital gains tax threshold would become $550,000.
After my parents had lived in two different homes, they were sure that their third would be their “forever” home. They thought they knew exactly what they wanted at that point, but that was not truly the case. The biggest point my Mom was trying to make to me was that my pursuit of a “forever” home may be shortsighted.
Although my parents have been in their current home for 18+ years, they aren’t even convinced that it will be their “forever” home. Their closest friends, who are also their neighbors, are both moving out of the area. Younger families are moving in, and my parents have little in common with them. Neighbors have always been an important aspect of my parent’s social circle.
With all that said, I think I will follow my Mom’s advice and not focus so much on finding a “forever” home, but instead focus on finding something that meets our current needs and maybe even some wants.
Broadening the Search
So, for fun, my wife and I have begun to expand our search. We have looked at some out-of-state homes and are impressed with the possibilities. Almost everywhere seems cheap compared to the prices in my current area. A good school district is important to me for my kids. Also, a home that is close to an international airport so that we could travel that much more easily would be ideal.
My wife, on the other hand, wouldn’t mind waiting a couple of years to get her sister’s situation more stable. Then, she wouldn’t be opposed to moving somewhere warm, where the sun shines brightly year-round. She would be content at a beach. She is also on the same page as me about a good school district.
Peachtree City, Georgia
Both my Mom and Sister have brought up the thought of relocating to Peachtree City, Georgia, just outside Atlanta. The weather is obviously much warmer than the DC area, the homes are more reasonable in price, and most importantly, the schools are top-notch. On the other hand, it’s not the beach.
We’ve only looked online, but the area definitely intrigues me. Any of you familiar with that area or have been there?