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Category:  Homes:  Buying and Selling 

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Staying in One House

By Nikki Willhite

If you can, it is more economical to stay in one home

I have to admit, I've moved more times than necessary. Some of the moves were because of my husband's employment. Others were by choice.

I envy people who buy one house and stay put. There are so many benefits in doing that. Not only do you come out ahead financially, but you are able to build long lasting relationships in your neighborhood and community.

Every time you move you start all over. It is traumatic for you family, and it is expensive.

It's very easy to analyze things in hindsight. Maybe I can pass along some of the things I have learned, and would do differently. Perhaps it will help someone.

Choosing a home from the beginning that you can stay in is the trick. Picking a good neighborhood has got to be on the top of the list. A couple of moves that we made were because the neighborhood was becoming unbearable. In our previous home, the house two doors down had an average of 6 junk cars parked on the front lawn at any time. The neighborhood was deteriorating, and we just wanted out.

We waited until our children had finished school, and we didn't move far, but it was still hard on all of us. How much better it would have been if we had selected a better neighborhood to begin with, instead of thinking more about the house.

While we sold that house in a week, and made a good profit, we also put thousands of dollars of our money into the hands of Realtors and Escrow companies, and took on a higher and longer mortgage payment.

As I look back on each house we lived in, I see them differently. There were several that are still in decent neighborhoods. If it were not for job transfers, I think about what we could have done to live in those homes for many years. As our family got larger, many of those homes could have been adapted to fit our needs. Walls could have been removed, and rooms added on. It would have cost less than moving.

When you have the choice, think ahead. Life does moves on, and circumstances change. Not only does your immediate family grow, but eventually you may find yourself caring for an aging parent, or you may need a home that is handicap accessible. Some homes can be adapted to changing needs, others can't. Give yourself as many options as possible. Then you can make the most economical, best decision for your family.

If you are looking for a home, here are some things to consider for changing needs

*Basements and attic spaces are great expansion areas. Building into the garage usually devalues your house and neighborhood.

*Ramblers and two story homes lend themselves more easily to room additions, if you have enough land between your home and your property line.

*Walls can be knocked out to make larger rooms, even if they are load bearing. You just have to leave a post.

*If the addition is seen from the street, the amount of money to hire an architect to make your house look good will be small compared to the appreciation of the home.

*If all the homes in your neighborhood are small, it may not be wise to make your home larger. It will be difficult to recover your money if you move.

*Don't make rooms without windows. Again, this will devalue your home. This often happens when a new addition is put on a home. Open out the space, or if possible, or cut out a new window.

*Remember to add hallways where necessary. Walking through one room to reach another is a bad floor plan.

Sometimes you have to make compromises. Just be aware that these are design flaws and they do diminish the quality and marketability of your home. Think carefully before buying a home. Try and look at it both as it is and as how it could be. Planning for the future now can save you a lot of money down the road.


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