Moving Up to a Lesser House

by Nick Molnar on June 23, 2009

Nobody goes to a sick doctor, a skinny cook, or a lawyer in jail. When I’m working with an expert I ask “what would you do? It cuts to the heart of the matter. Not sure what to order for dinner? Ask the waitress what she eats on break. Trying to decide on a traditional or tankless water heater? Ask your plumber “what’s in your house?” Make adjustments for personal preference and move forward. The “what would you do” type questions let you get the message without the static of “every option is both good and bad” ambivalence. Of course your experts can lie, cheat or funnel you to a certain product for their own reasons, but if you suspect them of that type of behavior why are you working with them in the first place?

So, I think it is fair game for you to ask a realtor about their house. Did they sell their McMansion and move to a smallish ranch ahead of the coming wave of aging baby boomers? Do they tell their friends to rent for another year but echo the “now is a great time to buy” commercials to their clients? Did they buy a foreclosure, an estate, at an auction? Do they move every two years or plan to never move again? Much of this is personal taste, but knowing what they did, and asking what they would do in your sitation will get you a more actionable answer than asking “is this a good neighborhood?”

In that vein, I’ll take you through my situation. If any of you have wondered why articles have been few and far between in recent months on this site, this is your answer. We gave up a great home and brought money to close its sale, but we cut our monthly payment to less than half, bought a “fixer” and expect to make somewhere in the mid five figures when we sell, tax free if we handle it properly. But we had to do a double move, weeks of intense changes to the house before we moved in, and are now facing years of renovation projects.

Watch for a flurry of posts based on our project in the coming months. ┬áBut this week, I’ll start with the basics. Check back daily for posts on how we sold our last home, how and why we bought the house we are now in, and the numbers behind the strategy of living in a house while you slowly fix it for resale.


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