We all remember the excitement of buying our first home. Called “starter homes” in the real estate world, these houses are usually small, inexpensive, and maybe in some level of disrepair.
But it didn’t matter! You were young, probably used to living in apartments or in a house with roommates, and just having a house all to yourself (and maybe a significant other) was all that you needed.
Heck, maybe you even liked the idea of working on the house yourself – you’re pretty handy after all.
But at some point, we usually outgrow that first home. This may be sooner or later depending on each person, but the first house we buy is not typically our forever home.
Let’s look at 6 signs it’s time to upgrade to a larger house in Atlanta.
It’s Getting Crowded
When you purchased your starter home, you most likely didn’t have a lot of stuff.
Maybe you moved from a one-bedroom apartment, or maybe even your college dorm – but chances are you just had enough items for a few rooms and not much to speak of in furniture, kitchenware, or outdoor tools that you needed for that new lawn you were responsible for.
Over time, however, things start to fill up those empty spaces. You accumulate furniture, tools, and items you didn’t even know you needed to fill the empty space.
This process accelerates if a significant other moves in with all of their things, and eventually this will come to a tipping point if you decide to have children.
Having kids may be the point that most people choose to upgrade their home, and for good reason. Now that there are three of you living in a house originally purchased for one, things start to feel cramped at best and start to take a strain on your relationship at worst.
That’s when it’s time to move.
You Work From Home
More and more people were starting to work from home, and the pandemic has just accelerated this trend.
With the need for one or more home offices, a larger home may be the only option you have.
Trust me when I say working from the dining room table or couch gets old.
Co-working spaces can be another option (if you live near one), but then you have to factor in the commute, gas, car insurance – all the bonuses that working from home eliminates!
You wanted to stop driving to the office, right?
Some don’t realize that working from home has its perks and its downsides. The good news is that you don’t have a long commute, don’t have to get up as early, and don’t have to spend much time getting dressed in the morning.
One downside is that you are always at home. And the more time you spend at home, the more space you are going to want. it just helps for peace of mind to be able to spread out and not stare at the same walls all day, every day.
Plus, if you are self-employed, you can deduct a lot of the costs for your home office from your taxes – so definitely check with your tax pro for advice on that.
Your Home has Risen In Value
If you purchased your starter home at any time over the last 12 years or so, chances are that it has significantly risen in value.
Particularly if you live in metro Atlanta. This is great news for home sellers because you can sell your home for much more than what you paid, and use the profits for a down payment on a larger home.
This is a great time to sell if you are considering it.
Inventory is incredibly low (like, record-setting low), and homebuyers are in strong demand due to low interest rates and other factors.
If your home is in tip-top shape and you live in a popular area, the best way to sell is with a local realtor. But if your home needs a lot of repairs, or if you are facing a time crunch, then reach out and let us see if we can help.
Depending on how long you have owned the house, you can likely turn a profit even after selling at a discount to factor in expenses like repairs or back taxes.
Then you have the added bonus of getting the headache house off your mind and can start looking for a new home right away.
Current Low Rates
If you listened to any real estate news in 2020, you heard two noteworthy items – housing inventory is super-low (not many houses for sale), and interest rates are at record-lows as well.
As the federal government has pumped money into the economy to keep us afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, they have also ensured that interest rates (including mortgage rates) are really low.
If you have a good credit score, you can get a typical 30-year loan for around 3% today.
Interest rates aren’t going to stay this low forever, and now may be the time to strike while the iron is hot. If you’ve been thinking about selling and upgrading, consider starting the process so you can lock in a low interest rate.
Expensive Repairs Are Looming
Another starter home feature is that they are old – meaning they will eventually need significant repairs and updates.
When was the last time that you had the roof or HVAC replaced? If it’s been more than 10 years, then it may be time to start budgeting for those items or time to move.
This is what happened to us.
When my family was considering moving a few years ago, we thought long and hard about staying in our starter home because we loved the house and the area.
We knew that it was nearing time to replace the roof, HVAC, and water heater. Plus, if we were going to stay, we would need to add square footage.
All of that would have been very expensive, so we sold our house instead (“as-is”, with all the repairs still needed), still made a lot of money, and used the profit for a down payment on a bigger home with a new roof, new HVAC, and new water heater.
If replacing the roof, or adding square footage onto your home is stressing you out, this is a sign it’s time to just sell and move. Yes, selling and moving can be a hassle – but nothing compared to knocking down walls or putting another story on top!
You’ve Found Your Dream Home
The last sign that it may be time to move is that you are simply thinking about it all the time.
If you find yourself searching Zillow for homes in your area just to see what’s out there, driving neighborhoods to see what’s for sale, or even find yourself attending open houses, these are all signs that it’s time to move.
If this is you, it’s not a matter of “if” you will move, it’s a matter of when.
This makes even more sense if your starter home value – and maybe your income – have both increased. You will make more on a home sale, and you will be able to afford the upgrade.
You may want to just go with your gut here, but make sure you do your due diligence. Too many people get stuck in the “This is my dream house, so I’ll figure out a way to pay for it” trap.
You do not want to wind up spending too much of your income on housing. Your lender should (I’ll repeat, “should”) be able to help you figure out how much house you can afford.
They don’t want you to have any problems at all making payments – but you need to have a good understanding of what you can afford before you start searching for a house.
Reach out to a few lenders to see what kind of loans and rates you qualify for. Here is a good article to check out as well.
Give Us a Call!
Are you experiencing any of these signs telling you to upgrade your house in Atlanta? Maybe you just aren’t sure? We understand!
We are always watching the market, so we can help you decide if it’s time to move or if it’s good to stay a little longer.
If your house needs repairs, or if you just need to move quickly for whatever reason, let us know and we’ll buy your house or find someone who will. Send us a message or give us a call at (404) 500-8094. We love to chat!