Busy parents with kids growing out of their
bunk beds, empty nesters who are ready to downsize, or even home owners who are
sick of repairs, increasing maintenance fees, or long commutes. Whatever the
reason, sometimes it’s just time to move on and you’re faced with a clear-cut
sign: it’s time to buy a new home.
The average homeowner lives in their home for
about 10 years before selling, according to the National Association of
Realtors. Every stage of life come with a different needs for a home, and a lot
can happen in a decade to make homeowners reconsider their living arrangements.
Here’s a look at 10 key signs it’s time to buy a new home.
You Don’t Want or Need to Rent Anymore!
Renters face the guilt of using their hard-earned
money at paying off their landlord’s mortgage instead of their own. Eventually,
renters decide it’s time to graduate to homeownership and get onto the property
It doesn’t help that in recent years rental
prices have steadily crept up: the average nationwide monthly rent for a
one-bedroom unit jumped 4.2 percent in 2018 to $1,140 while studio apartments
skyrocketed by five percent to $1,065, according to ApartmentGuide. At this
rate, in some cases, a mortgage would be on par with the cost of renting.
For many Americans, getting their ducks in
a row with job security, a steady income and savings, and strong credit signals
it’s a good time to invest in a starter home.
You Need More Space for a Growing Family
Whether storage is a struggle, your baby is
outgrowing your home’s sole bedroom, or your tweens are elbowing for space and
refuse to share, homeowners know when their cramped quarters just aren’t working
for their family.
Thirty-five percent of homebuyers said they
were tired of their current home, with another 10 percent hoping for a bigger
space, according to a 2016 Home Shopper & Buyer Insights study by Builders
You could be thinking of bringing home a
new born baby in the coming years, you may be pining for a backyard for your
toddler to play in, or your parents may be moving in make you feel your home is
shrinking and you’ll need more space to accommodate your expanding family’s
If an expanding family or multigenerational
living is spurring your desire for a new home, you need to make sure you have
enough space for everything from a playroom, to a separate space to facilitate
privacy for your elderly parents.
You Want Less Space and Less Hassle
You may have wonderful memories associated
with your family home, but as your kids have grown up and moved out over the
decades, you end up with a large empty nest.
Baby boomers know this scenario well: 42
percent of baby boomers said they would prefer to live in a smaller home with
another 37 percent eyeing a move in the near future, according to 2018 research
conducted by the Demand Institute.
It’s no wonder baby boomers are combing
through listings for smaller homes. An empty house comes with unneeded bedrooms,
expensive utility bills to the keep a large home comfortable, and extensive maintenance.
That’s a lot of upkeep for seniors ready to
cash in on their family home, downsize, and move to a new condo or townhouse
that’s strategically constructed to better accommodate the elderly. Some empty
nesters want to start the next chapter of their lives and usher in their retirement
and golden years in smaller, better-suited abodes.
Your Home Has Turned Into a Money Pit
Old homes come with recurring maintenance
issues. Leaky roofs cost an arm and a leg to fix; old appliances need repairing
and replacing; energy inefficiencies jack up your utility prices. Your aging
home affects your savings; stop the bleeding by moving into a brand new build.
New builds remove these concerns. They’re frequently
backed by builder warranties, while brand new appliances come with warranties to
give you peace of mind.
It’s worth noting that the average
homeowner ends up spending about $2,000 a year in maintenance services,
according to Bankrate. These services include septic service and building
maintenance. If you’re grappling with sticker shock every time you’re slapped
with this bill, you could cut costs by moving into a new-build property that
requires less work to keep comfortable.
You’ve Outgrown Your Starter Home
Most Americans dip their toes into the real
estate market by first buying a starter home. Starter homes usually aren’t
glamorous, but homeowners need to start somewhere.
A 2016 Bank of America poll suggests that a
whopping 75 percent of first-time homebuyers wished they could bypass the
starter home step and upgrade to greener pastures straight away.
You may be itching to move out of your starter
home and into a new home after a few years after you bought it. Maybe you’re
ready for the next step: You’ve proven you can manage a mortgage and the
monthly expenses of running a household, you’ve built a chunk of equity in your
home, and you have your down payment already locked in from your first buy.
You’re in the Midst of a Booming Seller’s Market
Low interest rates, rising home prices, and
a limited supply of homes on the market marks the perfect trifecta to get your
house on the market so you can earn a pretty penny.
Redfin suggests the U.S. may be entering a
seller’s market, as home sale prices rose 2.7 percent from 2018 levels. Overall,
America’s home prices have grown between one percent and three percent year
over year since September 2018.
A seller’s market can entice homeowners
into selling their property to turn a massive profit. You can tell if the price
per square foot for real estate in your area is skyrocketing, properties are
being scooped up quickly, and sellers are getting their asking price.
It may be as simple as finding out what
your neighbours received in recent sales when they sold their properties on your
street. If you’re thinking, “They got what
for their homes?” you could command similar prices, setting you up with revenue
for your new home.
Your Home is Making You House Poor
Not everyone is selling their homes to
upgrade or to cash in on their investment. Sometimes, you simply can’t afford
the roof over your head and you’re overstretching your budget to keep your
mortgage and cover monthly costs. Being house poor – when your home is eating
up the majority of your family’s income – is a tell-tale sign you need to move
out and find cheaper accommodations.
Homeownership comes with mortgage payments,
property taxes, home insurance, and monthly bills and maintenance fees. If
you’re drowning in these expenses, consult with your lenders so you aren’t
You may already be mulling over the
decision to sell your home and move into a more modest place. Make sure you can
qualify for another loan, and that the downgrade will be significantly
worthwhile after all of the hidden costs of hiring movers, real estate fees, closing
costs, and other expenses.
As a general rule of thumb, your monthly
housing costs shouldn’t take up more than one-third of your gross monthly
Your Commute Changed – Or You’ve Gotten Tired of It
For many households, uprooting the family and
moving into a new one is tied to a change in commute to work. In some
instances, some homeowners are ready to move to a new home simply because
they’re tired of sitting in traffic on their morning commute.
The logistics extend beyond homeowners’
commute times too: parents may decide to move homes so they’re closer to
certain day cares or they’re thinking long-term and want to move to
neighborhoods with better schools.
Your Neighborhood is in Decline
If you’re noticing more graffiti on the
walls, crime rates on the rise, or unemployment issues slowly creeping up, you
may be worried that your neighborhood has taken a turn for the worse and it’s a
good idea to sell your home before it gets harder to do so.
Your home is your biggest purchase and is
an investment you need to nurture and protect. You can do as much as you can to
keep your house in tiptop condition so it’s ready for resale at the drop of a
hat, but external factors aren’t in your control.
Your best bet is to keep a pulse on what’s
going on in your neighborhood, community, and city overall. If you have a
community committee, take part so you can do what you can to make sure your
neighborhood stays safe, clean, and appealing to prospective buyers.
You Want a Personalized Home
It may be time to upgrade into a new home
if you’re eager to put personal touches into a new build. New construction
homes let you control everything from designing the layout to cater to your
family’s needs to incorporating features like state-of-the-art appliances in
the kitchen to cozy heated floors and towel racks in the bathroom.
Your old home may come with its
difficulties, which you’ve only teased out after living there. With this experience,
you’ll know precisely what your family wants in their dream home, and you can
tailor your new build accordingly.
Your life circumstances may be changing
too: if a loved one is facing health issues, you could install wheelchair
accessible bathrooms, or if you’ve started to work from home, a home office in
the quietest corner of the house could be in the cards.
Niche upgrades are one of the exciting
parts of a new construction – ultimately, your fingerprints are all over the
blueprints of your new home.
Carmen Chai is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has lived and reported from major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, London and Paris. She started her career in journalism writing about crime and local news for the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper. After that, she covered a variety of subjects from federal politics in Ottawa to the 2015 attacks in Paris. She has also worked as senior health reporter for Global News and as now the Parliamentary Affairs Manager for UK Research and Innovation. For NewHomeSource, Carmen covers a variety of topics, including insurance, mortgages, and more.