Getting over emotional attachment to house

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Petrocelli
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Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Petrocelli » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:48 pm

I was wondering if anyone has any advice on a subject that does not involve number crunching.

Have any of you sold a house you have been in for decades, in order to get equity out of a house for retirement? How do you get over the emotional attachment to the house?

Here's our situation:

We are about 10 years from retirement. Using very conservative assumptions, we should have a comfortable retirement if we stay in our house, which is very nice and looks over the ocean in the Malibu area. However, we have a good chunk of equity in the house, and I figure it should be able to conservatively generate another $100,000 a year in income

if we sell the house, we can move to the desert (Palm Springs area), and buy a very nice house on a golf course. With social security, IRA, rental property, etc, we could pretty much do whatever we want in terms of travel., etc. I love where we live, but it is very, very expensive, and I think the desert may be more "senior friendly."

So I am weighing living in the desert with an extra $100,000 a year. or staying by the ocean and living more modestly.

But as I weigh the two options, I can't imagine walking out the door of the house that we raised kids in and never coming back.

Have any of you moved out of a house after living their for decades to start retirement, and never coming back? Did you regret it? I realize this is kind of a 'touchy feely" question, and your input is appreciated.

Thanks!
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123
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by 123 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:54 pm

You have to appreciate the wine not the bottle. It's the people that were within that are important/memorable and not the container (house).

That said I enjoy very much driving through the streets of the neighborhood I grew up in. The neighborhood is very different now, it was a bucolic family area then, now the houses of the people I grew up with (classmates in elementary school) are all gone and have been replaced by large commercial buildings.
Last edited by 123 on Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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sport
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by sport » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:56 pm

We moved out of our first house after 35 years. We bought it at the time we were married and raised our family there. We moved to get a house on one floor for ease of movement as we age. We like our new house so much, that we never give a thought to missing the old one. So, the best advice I can give to answer your question is to find a new house that you really like a lot. From the economics you describe it would be foolish for you to stay in your present house. As they say about investments, it is foolish to fall in love with something that won't love you back.

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Petrocelli
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Petrocelli » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:05 pm

123 wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:54 pm
You have to appreciate the wine not the bottle. It's the people that were within that are important/memorable and not the container (house).

That said I enjoy very much driving through the streets of the neighborhood I grew up in. The neighborhood is very different now, it was a bucolic family area then, now the houses of the people I grew up with (classmates in elementary school) are all gone and have been replaced by large commercial buildings.
Thanks a lot for the response.

Our neighborhood is undergoing mansionization. I expect the next owner to tear our 2500 sq. foot house down and put in a 5000+ sq. foot house.
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Petrocelli
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Petrocelli » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:07 pm

sport wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:56 pm
We moved out of our first house after 35 years. We bought it at the time we were married and raised our family there. We moved to get a house on one floor for ease of movement as we age. We like our new house so much, that we never give a thought to missing the old one. So, the best advice I can give to answer your question is to find a new house that you really like a lot. From the economics you describe it would be foolish for you to stay in your present house. As they say about investments, it is foolish to fall in love with something that won't love you back.
That's good to hear.

I actually think a change could be kind of good. But change is often scary.

Thanks so much for your response.
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venkman
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by venkman » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:35 pm

What about renting out your current house? Hire a property manager so you don't have to deal with any of the details. Live in the desert for a few years. If you decide you like it, you can sell the old house and be done with it. If you miss the old place too much, you can go back.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by CaliJim » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:48 pm

venkman wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:35 pm
What about renting out your current house? Hire a property manager so you don't have to deal with any of the details. Live in the desert for a few years. If you decide you like it, you can sell the old house and be done with it. If you miss the old place too much, you can go back.
+1

We downsized and left the area when the youngest kid left for college. I don't regret it at all,

Passing on a low basis house in California to the kids, if you have any, is a great idea. They inherit the low property taxes.

My humble opinion re: Palm Springs....meh... not so much. Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
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Petrocelli
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Petrocelli » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:58 pm

venkman wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:35 pm
What about renting out your current house? Hire a property manager so you don't have to deal with any of the details. Live in the desert for a few years. If you decide you like it, you can sell the old house and be done with it. If you miss the old place too much, you can go back.
An interesting idea. Thanks. But there are a lot of upkeep costs, etc. I don't know if I want that uncertainty in retirement.

Also, I don't like dealing with tenants. (We have a rental property that is managed by a property manager, and even with that, it's a slight hassle.)
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Petrocelli
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Petrocelli » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:03 pm

CaliJim wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:48 pm

My humble opinion re: Palm Springs....meh... not so much. Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
We would actually move to Indian Wells, which has a very different vibe than Palm Springs proper. It's about 15 miles east of Palm Springs.

I like to golf, so the thought of retiring next to a golf course is attractive.

I'm worried about the heat, but we could spend the summer somewhere else.

Here's the type of house we would consider. There are worse places to retire....

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4483 ... lpage=true
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by daveydoo » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:22 pm

Maybe just rent in the new area and see how you feel? Don't sell your current home and don't rent it, either. Sounds like you can afford it. See if a neighbor can keep an eye on things, and make trips back. I agree with pursuing the "path of least regret." Parents did this, admittedly with a much more modest home in a LCOL area with much lower property taxes and minimal upkeep. After their "trial balloon" in the new locale, they were ready to move -- sold and never looked back -- even after 40+ years in the "family home."

In my own town, an older couple we're close to sold their lovely suburban home and moved to an urban townhouse. They pined for their lost love for years before moving again. They knew right away that they had made a mistake.

Maybe it's worth it to take the modest financial hit for six months and see how you feel in the new environment? Sounds like getting back into your current neighborhood would be painful (i.e., you'd have to buy one of those 5000 ft2 mansions).

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by obgraham » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:31 pm

We don't live in anywhere near as upscale as what OP is discussing. But we faced similar issues.

We custom built our house in which we raised our kids. Architect, spending too much, the whole bit. All our dreams incorporated into that house.

However, once the kids were gone, we downsized to a single level tract home, half the size, and looking just like the neighbors.

Never been happier. I found that I had very little "attachment" to that house into which I poured so much attention years before. A house is a house -- different for different stages of life. In fact we now spend several winter months in Arizona in a "doublewide", in which I mock the lousy construction quality and mobile flooring, but immensely enjoy the community there!

Friends of ours completely differ, and have lived in their same large house for 40 years and can't imagine moving out of it, even though there is just the 2 of them now. Everyone has their own values.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by celia » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:44 pm

I'll say the same thing that some posters say when leaving a job at retirement: It's better to be looking forward to something than wanting to get away from something you don't like. So then, I suggest you go stay in Palm Springs for a week or more and see if that is where you would want to look forward to living. While there, also look at a couple of houses for sale, but primarily try to enjoy the atmosphere, weather, local activities.

Before you go though, you should each write down what your new location must have, would be nice to have, and shouldn't have. For example, weather, parks, sporting events, senior-related activities, community activities, libraries, concerts, crime, pollution, noise, political persuasion, availability of fresh/organic food, medical services, watch stores :D , public transportation for seniors, etc. What do people there do when it is over 100 degrees outside? Stay inside in the A/C?

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:00 am

Petrocelli wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:05 pm
Our neighborhood is undergoing mansionization. I expect the next owner to tear our 2500 sq. foot house down and put in a 5000+ sq. foot house.
That's the part that bothers us, my wife more than me. We bought a roughly 2500 sf house, added on over the years to 5000 sf, and we raised our blended family here. I know that once the check clears, it's the new owners' to do with as they please. But, still . . .

Move on. Good luck.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by German Expat » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:18 am

Can't really help you with an answer to your question but can share our experience after moving to Switzerland. We had a very nice house in Colorado (close to our dream house and probably had less mistakes because the original owners built it with a lot of thought) with plenty of space, good layout etc.

Got an offer to move to Switzerland and the part we miss the most is our house. Prices here (Zurich) are out of this world and we decided to first rent anyway. Our place is not bad for local standards but not having an open kitchen anymore and less space in general is a disadvantage. We do like a lot of the other things here much better but the part we dislike is the housing situation. But this is also coming from a large house on a golf course moving to a development (we are renting a kind off a town house now, had an apartment before).

So my recommendation would be not to downgrade the amenities you like at your current house (we miss our big kitchen and open living space, also no big walk in closets).

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by bottlecap » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:29 am

As you know, you will be retired and still be in the top 1 or 2% either way you, so it really doesn't matter.

However, if you need an impetus for the change, sell the house and take the kids and grandkids on a nice all expense-paid vacation once a year with the extra 100k in income. That way, the home full of memories will generate more memories every year.

JT

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by dwickenh » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:39 am

5 years before retirement, my wife and I moved from our house of 33 years. We raised 4 children and several pets there. It was a split level that my wife was not enjoying since her hip was painful when climbing stairs. We sold it in 2011, built a new house the same year, and never looked back. I think of the memories and smile, but never do I wish I lived there again.

Before moving to another location, I would rent at the new location for 6 months to a year.

Good luck to you and your family,

Dan
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by retiredjg » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:01 am

Since you have 10 years till retirement, you have lots of time for an answer to present itself....as they often do. So while considering this move is fine, I certainly would not worry about it. The decision may be much easier in 10 years than you think.

I also think most people should do nothing this major in the first year of retirement unless doing it is actually a relief you've been looking forward to.

I probably would not leave a wonderful place that suited my needs unless there were a more wonderful possibility around the corner. Living in a hot place with $100k more a year would not do it for me.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:50 am

Petrocelli wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:48 pm
I was wondering if anyone has any advice on a subject that does not involve number crunching.

Have any of you sold a house you have been in for decades, in order to get equity out of a house for retirement? How do you get over the emotional attachment to the house?

Here's our situation:

We are about 10 years from retirement. Using very conservative assumptions, we should have a comfortable retirement if we stay in our house, which is very nice and looks over the ocean in the Malibu area. However, we have a good chunk of equity in the house, and I figure it should be able to conservatively generate another $100,000 a year in income

if we sell the house, we can move to the desert (Palm Springs area), and buy a very nice house on a golf course. With social security, IRA, rental property, etc, we could pretty much do whatever we want in terms of travel., etc. I love where we live, but it is very, very expensive, and I think the desert may be more "senior friendly."

So I am weighing living in the desert with an extra $100,000 a year. or staying by the ocean and living more modestly.
Achhh. I'd choose where you live over the desert in a flash. "senior friendly"? Who wants to be surrounded by old people? ;-).

(Seriously-- less crime would be a consideration. Greater walkability.)

I would not even think of giving up the view of the ocean unless I had to. You've seen the Louis Kahn realization of the Salk Institute in La Jolla CA? That's my idea of what that must be like.

Ocean air is, I am convinced, good for people.

You may have to sell later in retirement to release capital. And there is merit in moving to someplace amendable *early* in the retirement years, so you are well fitted into the community and support services as you age and your resources decline. It is a tradeoff.
But as I weigh the two options, I can't imagine walking out the door of the house that we raised kids in and never coming back.

Have any of you moved out of a house after living their for decades to start retirement, and never coming back? Did you regret it? I realize this is kind of a 'touchy feely" question, and your input is appreciated.

Thanks!
Turn it round, an elderly relative is in the house they bought in 1960. The 'hood has gone uphill. She does not need the money, but she's stuck, in a way. Too many memories. But I think she should have moved say 5 years ago, not 30 years ago when her late husband retired.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:57 am

Petrocelli wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:05 pm
123 wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:54 pm
You have to appreciate the wine not the bottle. It's the people that were within that are important/memorable and not the container (house).

That said I enjoy very much driving through the streets of the neighborhood I grew up in. The neighborhood is very different now, it was a bucolic family area then, now the houses of the people I grew up with (classmates in elementary school) are all gone and have been replaced by large commercial buildings.
Thanks a lot for the response.

Our neighborhood is undergoing mansionization. I expect the next owner to tear our 2500 sq. foot house down and put in a 5000+ sq. foot house.
OK if the 'hood is changing that's an important factor.

Assuming you are not making this decision for 5-10 years it won't be the same 'hood by the time you go. And the sort of people who live in mansions live different lives-- you see them at their doorstep as they hurry from their cars or to their cars and their important appointments. Maybe grandparents come and live with them, but they don't usually speak much English (and look quite lonely, in my experience). Kids are off to private schools, one tends to know the nanny better than anyone else in the house.

As per other posters:

- Towards, not away from. If you find a house you like and a community you like, your emotions will focus on that

- rent in the new community for a year, make sure you can tolerate all the seasons

- as much as possible test drive your new post retirement life before you actually have it

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Watty
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Watty » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:21 am

Petrocelli wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:48 pm
Have any of you moved out of a house after living their for decades to start retirement, and never coming back? Did you regret it? I realize this is kind of a 'touchy feely" question, and your input is appreciated.
My parents lived in a nice midwestern suburb and had been in the house I was raised in for around 30 years when they retired. At various times they visited places like Arizona and Florida and made tentative plans to move there, or even to a local retirement community. They never did actually move though.

The problem was that as they aged most of their friends in the neighborhood either moved or died so their social circle kept getting smaller each year since they had little in common with the much younger people who moved into the neighborhood. There was no public transportation in that suburb so as they aged driving became a lot more difficult and they drove way longer than they should have. Eventually my dad passed away and my mom was still in the large house living alone. She was pretty isolated and since my siblings and I lived in different cities she rarely had visitors except for someone that came in to clean and cook for her. We tried to get her to move to some sort of retirement community but she was dead set on not leaving the house. I can understand that but I still think that it would have been better is she had moved to a less isolating situation.

A concern I would look at is if your current house will work for you when you are in your 80's or older. If not then it would be good to consider "when" you will move, not "if" you will move. With what I saw my parents go through I would suggest that if you will eventually need to move that you move before it is a necessity.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by RudyS » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:34 am

Realtors try to call it a "home" but it's just a house. {Overly simplified, but basically true.]

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by greg24 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:45 am

I would not let the financial tail wag the dog. You don't really say which location you'd prefer.

You can always downsize your watch collection to improve retirement cash flow. :sharebeer

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HueyLD
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by HueyLD » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:46 am

Petrocelli wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:03 pm
CaliJim wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:48 pm

My humble opinion re: Palm Springs....meh... not so much. Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
We would actually move to Indian Wells, which has a very different vibe than Palm Springs proper. It's about 15 miles east of Palm Springs.

I like to golf, so the thought of retiring next to a golf course is attractive.

I'm worried about the heat, but we could spend the summer somewhere else.

Here's the type of house we would consider. There are worse places to retire....

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4483 ... lpage=true
Living next to a gold course gives you many opportunities to deal with broken windows and you are responsible for all the repairs.

Also, in a desert climate, you can only golf part of the year because of the elements. It is too hot for 5-6 months, and it may be too cold and windy during the winter to walk around the course for an extended period of time. If you are used to the mild coastal climate, living in an area when the temps range from 80-120F for 5-6 months out of a year can be a real challenge.

And one doesn't know what it is really like living in an area until after one has lived there for a minimum of one year. Spending a couple of weeks in a location doesn't tell you what it is like to be a full time resident.

So, please take your time and don't rush. It may be a good compromise to rent a place for a year to see what it feels like to be a full time resident. And make sure you spend the entire 5-6 months of summer there to experience the worst part of the year.

Best of luck to your search for a retirement home.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by sport » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:27 am

Another thing to consider is that moving is a large difficult chore. You should want to move to a suitable retirement house eventually. So, I suggest that it is better to do that while you are still young enough to handle the task. If you delay moving too long, you may reach a point where you really want to move, and should move, but you just cannot do it physically or mentally. So, if your house is not the kind of structure/location where you would want to live indefinitely (size, stairs, hills, etc.) you should move while you are still young enough to do it.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by wrongfunds » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:34 am

I had no idea that one could look over "Malibu ocean" from "Fenway Park" :-) Seriously, I always thought you were Boston native especially given your listed location in the profile.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Lynette » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:41 am

retiredjg wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:01 am
Since you have 10 years till retirement, you have lots of time for an answer to present itself....as they often do. So while considering this move is fine, I certainly would not worry about it. The decision may be much easier in 10 years than you think.

I also think most people should do nothing this major in the first year of retirement unless doing it is actually a relief you've been looking forward to.

I probably would not leave a wonderful place that suited my needs unless there were a more wonderful possibility around the corner. Living in a hot place with $100k more a year would not do it for me.
I was planning to sell my house and move on immediately after I retired. I'm so pleased I did not. As retiredjg mentioned there are so many issues to deal with the first year of retirement. Income changes, taxes, medicare bureaucracy was a real pain for me, changing banks, address and phone number are different. I'm in an area in the Midwest where small houses like mine are big houses built. I have found that my location is so convenient, five minutes from church, health club, major hospital and stores. I'm close to universities and cultural activities that are important to me. My house also bedrooms on the first level. In the first year of retirement, I am still finding my way as to how I'm going to spend the rest of my life - or a few years! I've already changed my mind a few times. I know of someone who retired and played golf all day. He was depressed and could not find meaning. Then one of his golf buddies asked him to help mentor children. He goes there every afternoon, loves it and has found meaning in his life. I'd advise that you retire first and then make decisions.

Best wishes

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by BrianMc » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:54 am

Petro,

I've always enjoyed your posts and you've helped me in the past. I've been in your shoes (not due to retirement) but due to a job relocation. I could have kept our place and rented it, but sold instead. I regret it. Here's why:

I lived in the Washington, DC area for several years due to my job, had an opportunity to relocate, and took it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd have DC withdrawals, but I did. Although I have the ability to return to DC, it won't be as easy had I simply held on to my place as home prices have rebounded.

In your instance, you live in/near one of the most exclusive neighborhoods not only in the US but the world. My concern for you is the second you sell your home, you may never be able to return to live there if you have second thoughts (maybe you would, I don't know your entire financial situation). My recommendation is to rent out your place in Malibu and rent where you think you may want to live in/near Palm Springs for at least a year. See what it's like in each of the seasons (or lack thereof of changing seasons). Maybe you'll love it and the people you meet or maybe you won't. I thinking selling Malibu and moving to a very different climate/area is very risky.

From a personal standpoint, I grew up very near where your hero used to play "between second and third." I've missed it since the day I left and have always wanted to return (left due to a parent's job and my occupations haven't had the opportunity to return). I grew up in a very blue collar town. Unfortunately, I am likely now priced out of the house I was raised in and it's unlikely I'll be able to live in that area again due to the incredibly strong real estate market. Though not the end of the world, it's kind of sad coming to the realization you can't live where you'd like to...especially having already lived there. In your instance, I think it's safe to say Malibu ocean views are limited, but there's a whole lot of desert than can be developed.

Just my advice to you. Congrats on whatever you decide.

Brian

staythecourse
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by staythecourse » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:57 am

No offense, but you ask about emotional attachment, but your analysis basically comes down to tangibles such a extra 100k in income, living in more senior friendly place, and HCOL at current. So is the question about emotional attachment or the best financial move?

Either way, why make it so difficult. Start vacationing 6 months a year down where you think you should live for a couple of years and then the decision will make itself. Also, where your kids/ grandkids live will likely play a factor (if any).

Good luck.
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by curmudgeon » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:59 pm

We actually went through a somewhat similar process this year, though we had only been in the house for 15 years. We had become fairly attached to the house (somewhat to our surprise), but it was a lot of space to clean and maintain for just the two of us. It was really a combination of factors that led us to sell; tapping the equity was only one aspect, and the combination with other points made things come together and feel right. For us, some of the other aspects were: reducing concentration of investment (we owned two houses in a very narrow and expensive geographic area), managing tax (our gains were coming up on the max exclusion), and the combination of our retirement and location/stage of kids and grandkids lives meant that we are far more likely to travel to visit the kids than vice versa.

Everyone is different, but we actually found that the process of sorting and clearing out stuff was very satisfying (and a lot of work) as we started on the retirement journey. It gave a feeling of being more in control of our "stuff", rather than vice-versa. Financially, we reduced our overhead and created a lot of flexibility. We aren't necessarily planning to spend more, but we have the ability to do so without fretting.

On the specifics of Indian Wells, I would definitely try to gain an understanding of the actual community lifestyle before making it your primary residence. I suspect a lot of those houses are second (or third, or fourth) residences, and there may not be much of a sense of community; there could be a lot of mostly vacant places and/or short-term rentals.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:12 pm

Take a couple hundred photos of your house. Print them and put them in a book on the coffee table in the new house in Palm Springs.

Flip through it often. Put it away when you no longer find yourself flipping through it. :wink:

Nostalgia is powerful.
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boomer
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by boomer » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:22 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:57 am
No offense, but you ask about emotional attachment, but your analysis basically comes down to tangibles such a extra 100k in income, living in more senior friendly place, and HCOL at current. So is the question about emotional attachment or the best financial move?

Either way, why make it so difficult. Start vacationing 6 months a year down where you think you should live for a couple of years and then the decision will make itself. Also, where your kids/ grandkids live will likely play a factor (if any).

Good luck.
I think this is a good idea. Try out the new location for a while first on a non-committal basis.

That said, we all have to leave our homes eventually...either on our own two feet or in a box. It can be hard to face this. Does it seem ideal to age in place in your present home?

We moved several times as our children were growing up, so we raised our children in more than one home. However, I do have fond memories of the last home that we occupied, as we were there the longest. We sold it when we had a somewhat-forced job transfer. There were indeed some feelings with selling and leaving that home. But time marches on. Nothing stays the same. Luckily we have videos and photos so we can remember.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Capsu78 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:24 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:12 pm
Take a couple hundred photos of your house. Print them and put them in a book on the coffee table in the new house in Palm Springs.

Flip through it often. Put it away when you no longer find yourself flipping through it. :wink:

Nostalgia is powerful.
This advise is the winner of "closest to the hole" in precisely responding the OP's query, with bonus points for doing it with the fewest keystrokes!

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by matthewmon » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:26 pm

I did sell and downsize my house but I am 36 and wife 29 and I figured we would end up with well over 200k more in retirement and we are in a low cost of living part of North Carolina...so it was worth it to us. I don't enjoy working and want to retire ASAP so the financial payoff made it worth doing even though I loved my house. It really hasn't been too hard for us because we realize as long as our family is together we are fine wherever we are. Plus my mom owns a condo on the ocean and we know that is where we will live when we retire.

100k more in income per year is a lot! you could downsize your main residence and get a vacation home/condo on the beach somewhere if you want and offset the cost by renting it out when you aren't there (or just downsize your main residence and keep your current home as your vacation rental if its in an area that makes sense for that). If you make the decision that 100k more per year would really help you and you would be an idiot not to do it then just look at it as if you have no choice but to sell. make sure you are 100% sure first though. When you are ready to sell do it FSBO w/o the 6% realtor commissions and make sure you get the price you want to make it really financially smart...and if it doesn't sell that's okay because of the position you are in financially you don't HAVE to sell ASAP if you don't want to.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by btenny » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:49 pm

I did almost exactly what you propose in 1998 to 2001. I retired early in late 1998 and needed to sell our big house and land to fund the early thing or go back to work. Last kid was off to college in 99 so empty nest. Both kids were raised there so we were attached. But house was big (3k feet) and big pool and big land scape so big maintenance. We took 2.5 years to buy a new place and sell the old one and move. The developer who bought our place tore it down and cut down the trees and built a new 12k feet house etc.. We moved 4 miles away to a smaller retirement type city home on a small lot but still in Phoenix area. We all loved that old house a lot and have tons of memories but it was time to move on as the hood was changing to super mansions of 10k+ feet and 10 car garages. So basically too rich and up scale to be a neighborhood anymore. We all love the new place and it is low cost enough that I stayed retired and have done fine for 17 years.. We missed the old place and the kids did too but they both got over it after 2-3 years. They both have families now and live elsewhere.

We also saved enough money that we also have a second home in Tahoe for cooler summers and some winter skiing. I second you maybe buying a lower cost summer home near in LA for cool summers and prop 13 tax breaks but not so expensive. Maybe pull enough cash out to fund $50k more in retirement and have two homes. Then you have the rest for a second winter desert place. I favor AZ for lower taxes.
Good luck.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by janesh » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:36 am

Funny, I found your post tonight. I've been thinking about the house we sold 5 years ago and got very sad.

We lived in our house in Westchester, NY for 45 years. We raised our children and many dogs. I am a gardener and my husband loved roses and planted many. We had over an acre of land, a large contemporary house with floor to ceiling windows. The house was on a hill and the views breathtaking. All the years living there, I always was taken aback by the beauty of the land.
My husband and I planted every bush and tree. All were mature by the time we decided to downsize and move to Florida.

Five years later, I still regret the decision. I miss my house/home. I miss my gardens and the feeling of being 'home.'
Taxes in that part of NY were almost $30,000 a year. We had a pool and large property which cost quite a bit for upkeep.
My husband is older than me but worked until 78 just when the market crashed. He lost almost 60% of his retirement. We felt the right decision was to move to Florida into a smaller house.

I am not happy here. I wish we would have stayed in our house but knew realistically that it would have caused us financial difficulties. We could have done it but it would have really limited the things we wanted to do.

I feel your dilemma. For me its seven years and I long for home.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by denovo » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:53 am

Petrocelli wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:05 pm
123 wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:54 pm
You have to appreciate the wine not the bottle. It's the people that were within that are important/memorable and not the container (house).

That said I enjoy very much driving through the streets of the neighborhood I grew up in. The neighborhood is very different now, it was a bucolic family area then, now the houses of the people I grew up with (classmates in elementary school) are all gone and have been replaced by large commercial buildings.
Thanks a lot for the response.

Our neighborhood is undergoing mansionization. I expect the next owner to tear our 2500 sq. foot house down and put in a 5000+ sq. foot house.
It's possible that you might not like your neighborhood as it undergoes mansionization. Many will be motivated to sell because the land is valuable so you may not know any of your neighbors anymore . And your 2,500 sq. feet house will look like an odd duck surrounded by the McMansions.

Although I got to admit, as someone originally from the Los Angeles area, moving from Malibu to the desert seems a bit perplexing. I don't have to tell you that summers can be brutal in basically the rest of So.Cal, so I am not sure how much you'd enjoy being lit on fire everytime you open the door in the summer and walk outside. I don't think it's a bad idea to downside, but maybe somewhere near the ocean like Santa Monica or Newport Beach may be more your flavor.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:08 am

venkman wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:35 pm
What about renting out your current house? Hire a property manager so you don't have to deal with any of the details. Live in the desert for a few years. If you decide you like it, you can sell the old house and be done with it. If you miss the old place too much, you can go back.
Additionally, maybe you could rent out a room or two on AirBNB. Might not generate 100k/yr, but it's better than nothing.

I'm currently building/remodeling a house that I expect to live in forever. I'm creating about $350k worth of equity on top of my down payment, so there a large chunk of change tied up in the house. As I pay down the mortgage, this is going to become an even larger amount.

Considering that I won't want to move in retirement, I've sectioned off the lower level such that it could potentially become a separate housing unit in future. This way, at least I can monetize part of the house.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by oldcomputerguy » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:11 am

I'm not in your situation so I can't give explicit advice on whether you should move. We're in what we consider our "dream house", purchased twenty years ago, it's paid for, and we have no intention of moving out.

I do sympathize a bit, though, perhaps vicariously. We lost DW's mom about three years ago. DW and I have been married now almost 40 years, and we had been in and out of her mom's house many, many times over those years. When her mom died, we sold her house, and that was the end of that. It was pretty sad leaving it (and all the associated family memories) for the last time.

That being said, I can offer one piece of advice: if you do decide to sell and move, don't ever, ever go back. I used to take what I referred to as "sentimental journeys" back to the area where I grew up as a small boy. It's nothing like I remember; rather than indulging in fond reminiscence, I now end up feeling sad over just how much has changed and how the scenes of my childhood are gone forever.

Keep your memories, certainly. Your experiences are what brought you to where you are now. But don't look back. Look ahead.
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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Petrocelli » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:59 am

staythecourse wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:57 am
No offense, but you ask about emotional attachment, but your analysis basically comes down to tangibles such a extra 100k in income, living in more senior friendly place, and HCOL at current. So is the question about emotional attachment or the best financial move?
No offense taken. When I started the thread, my question was somewhat vague, so it invited responses all over the map.

I have run through all the numbers. The financial question is pretty simply. Is it worth $100,000 a year (pre-tax) to live in Malibu, versus Indian Wells. The biggest trade off is obviously the weather, but with $100,000 you could travel all over the world in the summer and avoid the heat -- and still have money left over. (I know someone who went to Europe on a 30 day River cruise, returned and spent 30 days in the desert (indoors), and rented a beach house for 30 days.)

After doing all the various scenarios, I got down to the end of the equation where I locked the door, left the driveway and drove away forever. That's when I started struggling with the equation.

In the end, after reading all the posts, perhaps the best way to look at it is we would be starting the last chapter of our life as a couple. Living in the desert in perfect weather for 8 months a year, and travelling the world for the other 4.

We have 7-10 years to make up our mind. We have gotten a lot of great advice on this thread. Thanks to everyone for responding.
Petrocelli (not the real Rico, but just a fan)

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Petrocelli » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:11 am

denovo wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:53 am

It's possible that you might not like your neighborhood as it undergoes mansionization. Many will be motivated to sell because the land is valuable so you may not know any of your neighbors anymore . And your 2,500 sq. feet house will look like an odd duck surrounded by the McMansions.

Although I got to admit, as someone originally from the Los Angeles area, moving from Malibu to the desert seems a bit perplexing. I don't have to tell you that summers can be brutal in basically the rest of So.Cal, so I am not sure how much you'd enjoy being lit on fire everytime you open the door in the summer and walk outside.
I don't think we will ever dislike living by the beach. The main reason to move would be to get the equity out of the house so we could travel in retirement. I anticipate living somewhere else for most of the summer.

And Los Angeles is getting more crowded. Driving PCH on a weekend is a hassle. And even driving to Pasadena on a weekend to see a friend can take 90 minutes sometime.

Also, cost of living on the west side is very high. It is hard for 2 people to go out for dinner in Malibu at even a moderately priced restaurant for less then $60.

Thanks for helping me think things through.
Petrocelli (not the real Rico, but just a fan)

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by matthewmon » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:44 pm

there is nothing like living on the water imo. what about getting half of the equity out by getting a 2 bedroom condo on the ocean if that would work and have 50k more in income annually in retirement? maybe even take a loan on the condo since the interest rates are so low right now. imo if you still live on the ocean you wouldn't need to travel/vacation as much because you are already living in Heaven on Earth!

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by bluelight » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:09 pm

Last year my husband and I sold our home that I had purchased 23 years ago when I was single. Prior to our marriage 3 years ago, he had lived in his house for 40 years. We are both second timers and had raised families in our respective houses. We moved 70 miles away to be closer to our grandchild. Over the years I had made extensive renovations to my house and planted gardens. I loved my house. As we were getting closer to moving day, and the cold feet were setting in, we discussed our options if we found that we hated the new house/area.

We found that we both love where we moved and once we were somewhat settled in, we no longer missed our old houses or area. Sunday we returned to the area for a party and on the way home my daughter asked if we could drive by the house she grew up in. I was surprised that I had no feelings about the house when I saw it again.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by boomer » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:57 pm

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:11 am
...
That being said, I can offer one piece of advice: if you do decide to sell and move, don't ever, ever go back. I used to take what I referred to as "sentimental journeys" back to the area where I grew up as a small boy. It's nothing like I remember; rather than indulging in fond reminiscence, I now end up feeling sad over just how much has changed and how the scenes of my childhood are gone forever.

Keep your memories, certainly. Your experiences are what brought you to where you are now. But don't look back. Look ahead.
I had a similar experience, both when going back to my childhood home and driving by the last house that we raised our family in that we sold and I had feelings for. As you said, with the childhood home, nothing is the same.

With the house that we sold that I had sentimental feelings for, when we drove by I saw how much the neighborhood had changed in 15 years. In this case, not for the better. The yards weren't taken care of the way that they were when we were there. The houses were aging and some were not maintained well. We were glad that we sold and moved on when we did. :)

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Watty » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:07 pm

Petrocelli wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:59 am
I have run through all the numbers. The financial question is pretty simply. Is it worth $100,000 a year (pre-tax) to live in Malibu, versus Indian Wells. The biggest trade off is obviously the weather, but with $100,000 you could travel all over the world in the summer and avoid the heat -- and still have money left over. (I know someone who went to Europe on a 30 day River cruise, returned and spent 30 days in the desert (indoors), and rented a beach house for 30 days.)
Would the numbers work to buy a condo in Malibu that you could use when you want?

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Petrocelli » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:36 pm

[quote=Watty post_id=3539274 time=1505855225 user_id=3687
Would the numbers work to buy a condo in Malibu that you could use when you want?
[/quote]

No. A nice condo in Malibu close to the ocean would be well over a million. The goal is to have one full time residence, and use the extra money to travel. Having a second residence would foil that plan.
Petrocelli (not the real Rico, but just a fan)

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by penumbra » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:48 pm

Well, we have some familiarity with your issues. Previously, when younger, lived in Palm Springs for a couple of years. Miserable, horrible experience. It was 121 degrees the day we moved out there. The heat is insufferable for at least 5 months of the year. Not much to do, really. Limited culture, dull, insipid people. Do you like to golf? That's one of the big activities. Left to move to the So Cal coast, with a house with an ocean view. We love everything about it. Yes, our house is worth a lot, but we've been in it so long it's like one of the family. We can't imagine living anywhere else. The low tax base is a plus. We'd never, never consider the PS area for retirement. Never. You could, of course, buy a less expensive place along the coast, and keep the same tax base, but you probably already know that. Anyway, good luck with your choice.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by curmudgeon » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:00 pm

Do remember that any gains beyond $500K will be taxable as long-term cap gains plus standard CA tax. And no income averaging or other tweaks, so it shows up as a big hit in one year. It can be worth doing a bit of tax modeling to understand the impact. As far as other ways, I haven't paid attention, but for some reason I seem to remember that the "reverse mortgage" option has a relatively limited max dollar amount, so I'm not sure whether you could tap meaningful equity that way. Opening a HELOC just before you retire might be an option that would let you stay for a few years while tapping equity, but I don't think I'd like the feeling of an impending black cloud waiting for when the drawdown period ended.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by CaliJim » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:09 pm

Petrocelli wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:48 pm
However, we have a good chunk of equity in the house, and I figure it should be able to conservatively generate another $100,000 a year in income
I was thinking further about your post, the above statement in particular.

Isn't the idea of downsizing in order to generate more income a bit of 'mental accounting'. Net worth doesn't change. It's an exchange of capital appreciation for income.

Isn't the home likely to appreciate at about the same rate is other investments (albeit with more risk)?

Will you need the liquidity in retirement, or can you just spend down your other assets?

If you need the liquidity - downsizing earlier (when you are more able to handle the move) rather than later, makes a bit of sense.


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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by matthewmon » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:24 pm

are there any other beaches you like to vacation at where the real estate prices are more reasonable? if so you could make a 2 bedroom condo on that beach your primary residence. you could buy it now and rent it out to pay off the small mortgage if you need one by the time you retire in 10 years. My mom got an awesome 2 bedroom condo on the ocean in NC for 240k a couple years ago.

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Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Post by Petrocelli » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:41 pm

penumbra wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:48 pm
Previously, when younger, lived in Palm Springs for a couple of years. Miserable, horrible experience. It was 121 degrees the day we moved out there. The heat is insufferable for at least 5 months of the year. Not much to do, really. Limited culture, dull, insipid people. Do you like to golf? That's one of the big activities.
Indeed, I am worried about the climate, and would probably travel for a few months. I have been to La Quinta many times, but usually in Winter and Spring. I will go in the summer to test my heat tolerance.

I love to golf. (Indian Wells residents can play local courses for $35)

I enjoy exercising and golf.

I have lived in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. I may be done with culture, and can certainly visit those cities as much as I want.
Petrocelli (not the real Rico, but just a fan)

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