Love it or list it? How to decide if it’s time for new digs!

Chilly rooms?

This time of year, do you have rooms in your house that are closed up, with the heating turned down to conserve the bills? This is a sure sign that you’ve got more space that you’re actually using. If you’re keeping an extra bedroom or two for those occasional guests, imagine downsizing by $100,000 or $200,000 to a smaller house and putting your friends and family up at the Delamar instead!

Crammed closets?

On the flip side, if every time you open a closet, shoes and sports equipment come spilling out and your attic and basement are filled, you may have outgrown your house. Kids’ equipment goes from baby strollers to gaming systems and bikes and they all need a home. Upsizing could give you more storage space overall, as well as bigger bedrooms and more spaces to hang out.

Still waters?

If you have a pool, when was the last time someone swam in it? Does it get used all summer long? If so, then great, but if not, why keep paying to upkeep it? Electricity and propane bills add up, as well as the weekly cleaning. It’s all worth it if people are enjoying it, but if it’s become just something pretty to look at between May and September, it might be time to move on.

Reasons for seasons

All of these questions have to do with who you are living with… do you have toddlers, teenagers, aging parents or maybe just yourself? Whatever is certain, things don’t stay the same for long, so your home sometimes needs to change with the changing seasons of your life. There are plenty of “up-sizing” options in this area, with 7000-10,000sqft homes not being hard to find, if you have the budget. However, what do you do when you want to stay local and downsize? That’s a slightly trickier option, but smaller homes have become more plentiful over the last year or so, thanks to the builders backing off on building spec homes. Homes that used to be snapped up and knocked down are now appearing on the open market. Sometimes they need a little (or a lot!) Of TLC, but other times, they’re just ready for fresh paint and new owners. There are areas of town with Capes from the 20s and 30s, as well as splits from the 60s and ranches from the 50s (my favorite). And if outdoor home maintenance is no longer on your radar, there are plenty of condo and apartment options, with new ones being built as I write. (If you’re curious about what’s around, drop me a line and I will fill you in.)

Equity equation

I guess the final piece of the puzzle is, can I afford to move? For upsizers, mortgage rates are holding steady and are expected to continue to into 2019. I have a great mortgage banker who works with a variety of lenders and can run you the numbers over the phone so you will know quickly. In a declining market, the potential loss you take on selling for less should be more than compensated by the savings you will reap on the larger property.

For downsizers, it’s more complicated, but reducing your overall outgoings should be considered as part of the end picture. Current thinking suggests we’re in the first year of a three-year down cycle. If we recover at the same rate, that would mean waiting six years just to get back to the value you’re at today, so it may be prudent to jump in now.

Whatever side of the decision you’re on, the great news is that we are at the beginning of the very best time of year to buy and sell! The spring market officially started on the Monday after Super Bowl, so timing couldn’t be better. This time of year offers the most choice for buying, as well as the most buyers out shopping.

If any of this resonates with you, please give me a call and I’d be happy to discuss things further. I can be reached at amy.swanson@raveis.com or 203.451.6807. I also write a weekly newsletter that includes: all of the week’s market changes in Weston and Westport, a complete list of the weekend’s open houses, and open house of the week, plus further market insight. Subscribe here.