Should we move

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Topic Author
james3547
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:08 pm

Should we move

Post by james3547 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:18 am

Wife and I cannot decide if this is worth the move. So I thought we would get some advice from the Bogleheads.

Current situation
Married 30 y/o
2 kids, 3rd on the way
Single income 200-250k
Max simple IRA x2 and family hsa, then taxable

Current primary
3 bed, study is nursery could be converted to 4th down the road
Mortgage 275k
Zestimate 390, I think a little high
Commute 31-35 min (own my business not moving jobs)
Very good school district and nice everything near us (burbs)

Considering moving
New construction
Option 1 would be 420k house 4bed half acre 8 min commute
Option 2 500k house same neighborhood, bigger house better floorplan, 1 story (my wife wants 1 story)

Taxes are pretty close to wash. Current school district is a little better. New house more country, i.e less amenaties.

We just can't decide if it's worth spending more for less commute and more space/outdoor area for kids. Thoughts from those that have been through it.

HomeStretch
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Re: Should we move

Post by HomeStretch » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:33 am

When my company moved, my one-way commute decreased to a reliable 10-minutes distance from home (no traffic). I found the short commute to be a priceless lifestyle change (both parents worked) especially once kids were in school. I could easily deal with a sick-kid school call, attend afternoon sports games, car pool for afternoon scouts meetings/sports practices, meet a repair person, etc.

Whether it makes sense to spend more for a house for a shorter commute, more space, better schools, etc. is a separate decision and depends on your financial situation.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mortfree
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Re: Should we move

Post by mortfree » Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:52 pm

Not enough info.

Current mortgage terms and how many years remaining?

What will your new mortgage amount be? Will you put more cash down towards the new house?

Do you have money for all the things a new house needs - window treatments, etc?

As presented, I would definitely consider moving. The commute time reduction is worth it. I drive at least an hour each way to work.

One other thing to think about is how far away are you going to be from your grocery store, doctor/hospital etc.

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scubadiver
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Re: Should we move

Post by scubadiver » Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:53 pm

We don't have a complete picture here concerning your finances and hence the financial prudence of such a decision. That said, were I in your situation, I would almost certainly exercise an option that allows me to both shorten my commute and provide more play space for a growing family.

Good Luck!

Scubadvier

Traveler
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Re: Should we move

Post by Traveler » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:05 pm

Not sure of the ages or genders of the two older kids, but if young, seems they could share a bedroom for quite a while and use the 3rd bedroom as a nursery. Not really a need to move right now.

Topic Author
james3547
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:08 pm

Re: Should we move

Post by james3547 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:13 pm

mortfree wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:52 pm
Not enough info.

Current mortgage terms and how many years remaining?

What will your new mortgage amount be? Will you put more cash down towards the new house?

Do you have money for all the things a new house needs - window treatments, etc?

As presented, I would definitely consider moving. The commute time reduction is worth it. I drive at least an hour each way to work.

One other thing to think about is how far away are you going to be from your grocery store, doctor/hospital etc.
Current mortgage 4.25% 26.5 yrs left on a 30.

I have 50k in taxable, 200k in tax deferred, other debt is car (8k 0.9%) and my business but that is part of the business operating expenses and not a concern to me.

I cleared my student loans and wifes last year and just started saving that amount.

Grocery store about 5 or 10 min farther, dr and hospital a little farther but not enough to move the needle.

Topic Author
james3547
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:08 pm

Re: Should we move

Post by james3547 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:15 pm

Traveler wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:05 pm
Not sure of the ages or genders of the two older kids, but if young, seems they could share a bedroom for quite a while and use the 3rd bedroom as a nursery. Not really a need to move right now.
100% agree. No need to move. I've never had a shorter commute than my current so that's why I'm coming here to get opinions. All else equal we would stay put. The shorter commute, going home at lunch, more room in the yard to play is the reason we are considering.

ThankYouJack
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Re: Should we move

Post by ThankYouJack » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:42 pm

There are so many factors that it's tough for us to put ourselves in your shoes. I would probably stay put though for the better schools. Also as my kids get older I may consider moving to a more densely populated neighborhood (with better schools) so the kids are around a lot of friends their age.
Last edited by ThankYouJack on Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rus In Urbe
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Re: Should we move

Post by Rus In Urbe » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:42 pm

Just keep in mind that Buyer's Remorse will kick in, especially dramatically, when you buy a new house, and particularly if you are tying up more of your assets in the new one. Ugh. There are seemingly a gazillion little (and not so little) expenses that come with selling a house and buying a new one, and fixing it up and on and on----fees and costs that no one ever seems to take into account in advance. These add 20-30% to the purchase price of the new house, in my experience.

Unless you have pots of capital sitting around, given what you have presented here, I would stay put for a few more years. Keep earning and saving until you can put down a lot on a new house, or purchase it easily outright. Make the move easily with no stress. No need to make yourself mortgage slaves and lose all that money to mortgage interest, if you can avoid doing so with a few more years of work.

When the PERFECT house and the PERFECT time comes around, you'll know it.
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

panine
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Re: Should we move

Post by panine » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:47 pm

after living in a two-story house, can confirm that one-story houses are dreamed about by those who do the bulk of the chores and shopping, or need to go to the garage ten times a day. :happy

abonder
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:52 am

Re: Should we move

Post by abonder » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:47 pm

I don’t think that the fiscal issues are the primary issue here. It seems that you are responsible, attacked debt, and now are saving so you’re responsible with money. It sounds like even the more expensive option is roughly 2x income so that is quite reasonable overall. I think a shorter commute is valuable but your commute is short enough that I wouldn’t move simply for the commute. I would consider moving if, overall, moving was better for family including schools, family/friends, daily activities etc. Definitely doesn’t sound like an urgent decision regardless. Of course moving incurs high transaction costs but still could be reasonable overall for your family depending how the pros and cons sort out. If you are going to move, I would try to choose the home that will suit your needs indefinitely so you aren’t playing this game again in a few years.

Edited to add: I’d be less-inclined to move from your excellent school district to anything less excellent, especially with three kids who will presumably be utilizing the school system.
Last edited by abonder on Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Location: New York

Re: Should we move

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:48 pm

Rus In Urbe wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:42 pm
Just keep in mind that Buyer's Remorse will kick in, especially dramatically, when you buy a new house, and particularly if you are tying up more of your assets in the new one. Ugh. There are seemingly a gazillion little (and not so little) expenses that come with selling a house and buying a new one, and fixing it up and on and on----fees and costs that no one ever seems to take into account in advance. These add 20-30% to the purchase price of the new house, in my experience.

Unless you have pots of capital sitting around, given what you have presented here, I would stay put for a few more years. Keep earning and saving until you can put down a lot on a new house, or purchase it easily outright. Make the move easily with no stress. No need to make yourself mortgage slaves and lose all that money to mortgage interest, if you can avoid doing so with a few more years of work.

When the PERFECT house and the PERFECT time comes around, you'll know it.
+1. Stay where you are and build up some more assets in taxable.

I would not move further away from amenities. I prefer being closer to services rather than further away. There is something to be said for convenience.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Topic Author
james3547
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:08 pm

Re: Should we move

Post by james3547 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:58 pm

Great replies so far, thank you everyone. These are the same debates I am having in my head and with my wife. I just didnt know if the short commute would be a game changer.

I read an article somewhere a while ago that people adapt to their home and dint tend to have lasting happiness but a short commute increased happiness long term.

I'm in a good place financially and will likely achieve my financial goals either way but I have been on a path to optimize my happiness lately.

Regattamom
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Re: Should we move

Post by Regattamom » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:19 pm

Option 2, if you decide to move.

We own a rambler and I will never own a 2-story home again. It's especially great if you plan on aging in place after the kids are gone.

Lars_2013
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Re: Should we move

Post by Lars_2013 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:30 pm

The main problem I see with the new house that's a shorter commute for you is that it's (effectively) a longer commute for your stay-at-home spouse every time she needs to run to the grocery store, etc. With 2 or 3 kids in the car. Unless you're going to take on more of the errands with some of your free time, I could see this leading to some resentment. (And a larger house is more space to keep clean.) YMMV.

FoolMeOnce
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Re: Should we move

Post by FoolMeOnce » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:38 pm

If I can read far too much into your post than is warranted, it does not sound like you are eager to make this move. I would hesitate too. I'd consider a major move and sacrificing in some lifestyle areas to reduce an hour-long commute to 30 minutes, but shaving 20 minutes off of a half-hour commute would not tip the scales much for me. I'd focus more on whether the added space outweighs the less-available amenities and worse schools (not to mention added costs of the house, including new construction overruns, and long-term maintenance of the larger house). And, of course, whether and by how much this delays other financial goals.

IMO
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Re: Should we move

Post by IMO » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:24 pm

james3547 wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:15 pm
100% agree. No need to move. I've never had a shorter commute than my current so that's why I'm coming here to get opinions. All else equal we would stay put. The shorter commute, going home at lunch, more room in the yard to play is the reason we are considering.
Really don't think the financial aspect of possible move is an issue.

I think I would base it on what would be optimum for the kids. You mention larger yard for playing which is a positive, but that may in itself not really be that much of a factor for kids in the long term. It's sort of like the argument for having a huge yard for a dog, that is probably overkill in reality from my experience (same experience for a kid). I'd look more at comparing how the different house locations will impact kids on the following:

a) Are there more kids available to easily get together and play in a particular location? Does it seem that the potential country type area has homes that are too far apart for the kids to just head over to various neighbors to hang out? Sometimes areas that are definitively more adult desirable in terms of larger lots can potentially be much less day to day kid friendly from aspects including distance and also demographics (perhaps not many kids in the neighborhood). Sometimes that can be mitigated by some type of community center with something like a pool, etc that is a reasonable place for kids to get together.

b) Once the kids get to age of partaking in more organized athletics, which location is better? One may be significantly better or it can be a wash. Some locations have activities where organizations will pick up kids after school (for example, a karate place) and some locations may involve a longer day to day drive to get to that activity.

c) Bus service for school. Some locations are easy access for kids, some are not. I know I prefer my kid walk to the bus station and take the bus vs. having to have someone drive him to school every school day without exception.

d) School quality. Is one definitively better or just a little improved? Does one that has a demographic where parents are known to be less involved? Are parents more high achievers in one area vs another as that often translates into higher parent concern that their kids are on the right track to also be high achievers? Or are the areas about the same? (Does one have kids parents that have "too much" money and the associated problems with that?)

Also, somewhat related, presume your spouse is a stay-at-home. What would work best for the day to day things like shopping and as noted above for running the kids around to various activities that seem to be so common nowadays. Does your spouse actually prefer making a trip or more a day to the local shopping area or does your spouse personally prefer to not leave the house.

What does you spouse personally desire?

I know we've looked at some housing upgrades, but then thought about it and felt it wouldn't really be a positive thing for the kid.

If there isn't any particular driving factor that wins out, then I would consider the move simply to make your day to day commute better. You're a business owner, and presumably your in that area for the long haul. What house/area do you think would make the best long term housing solution that you would perhaps make it your "forever" home 30+ years from now.

But it isn't a all or none decision. One can always consider moving in the future.

Topic Author
james3547
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:08 pm

Re: Should we move

Post by james3547 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:35 am

Update:

Still in old house, have decided we would like to move. Doing more research and talking to neighbors not sure current school district is as good as advertised. Now after doing due diligence can we afford the new house. I think (know?) We can but having a mental block pulling the trigger.

Decided on the bigger house
Age 31 both of us

Current debt
House $230 @ 4.25% 26 years left

Retirement accnts
$230k

Taxable
$45k ($20k ef)

Salary $200-250k single earner. Own my own buisness. Base pay $120k and bonus my profit every quarter. Bonus is $20-40k

New home price $480k
Taxes $9k per year
Met with realtor thinks we will net 90k on current home

So can I afford this house. I, for some reason, feel like it will be tight. Probably because my current house is quite a bit cheaper. I am expecting $110k for down payment and closing costs so it just feels a little bit tight to get into ( but I will take my quarter bonus in a couple of weeks to help) this is the last house in the neighborhood also. We are in a good place financially and don't want to over extend.

TiA

BarbBrooklyn
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Location: NYC

Re: Should we move

Post by BarbBrooklyn » Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:10 am

Go for it!

You've mulled and aren't making an impulsive move. Short commutes are life extenders, in my book.
BarbBrooklyn | "The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Should we move

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Dec 08, 2019 11:31 am

Buy it! You are 31, this will be the last house you buy in the next 15 years. What is 2-3 years of potential tightening of the “belt” in a lifetime-nothing!! Enjoy your new home!
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

chevca
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Re: Should we move

Post by chevca » Sun Dec 08, 2019 11:38 am

Yes, you can afford the new house.

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abuss368
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Re: Should we move

Post by abuss368 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:09 pm

Hard to say. One thing to keep in mind is how much equity goes to paying fees and taxes in a buy sale.
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Cycle
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Re: Should we move

Post by Cycle » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:19 pm

Absolutely. If u have a shorter commute, there's also less of a chance you'll be killed on your way to work.

My wife had a bad commute, 20min without traffic 1hr with traffic. We just moved so she has a 12 min commute with or without traffic.

I'm actively trying to get a job within walking distance of home, likely going to need to take a pay cut for it, but the benefit would be that I'd pay less taxes :)

It is a big headache to move when busy with kids, but once it's done, it's done.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

JGoneRiding
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Re: Should we move

Post by JGoneRiding » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:24 pm

You have the income to support the larger house and it sounds like it will be an increase qol a fast commute is worth a lot. I love the country we have 11 acres.

I will say some parents with older children moved more into town as the kids grew in order to be closer to activities as they found even the extra 10 min to be a major issue so consider that.

Beehave
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Re: Should we move

Post by Beehave » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:44 pm

Given that the current living conditions are not optimal but satisfactory, my advice would be not to move away from the community with the better schools.

As for a new house in the same community, I'd suggest holding off. It does not seem to be urgent. If a new floorplan would make things easier for your spouse, maybe that could be ameliorated while staying where you are by budgeting some money for a housekeeper and/or babysitter to come in to give your spouse some "me time." If your spouse wishes, maybe that freed-up time could be used to take some courses that interest them or possibly even prepare them to reenter the workforce somewhere down the road if they may want to in the future.

I'd suggest that if the commute is not a killer, then enjoy your work (which seems very successful), enjoy your alone-time in your commute (which seems not to be a life-suckingly bad commute), and devote resources to spouse and children to optimize their lives without stretching yourself financially with higher monthly mortgage and expenses in case there's a downturn.

Best wishes to you and family - - sounds as if you're doing a great job!

Edited to add: I had not seen OP's post questioning the quality of schools in current district when I wrote the comment above. My core suggestion is to reside where children get the best education and peer experiences. If that is achieved by moving, if the move is affordable and improves other aspects of quality of life, then it sounds like the right thing to do.

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