My husband Mike and I have made a huge decision.
One that will alter the course of our lives and our kids’ lives.
We’ve decided to sell our house.
Here’s why we have decided to uproot our family and move with two small kids, two cats, and a dog.
Mike and I bought our house through a short sale in August 2009, just a few weeks before we got married.
We bought at the bottom of the market and knew that this beautiful 6-bedroom house would be as much house as we could possibly need.
We also knew that it would be an awesome investment because the value was sure to increase once the market rebounded.
We envisioned raising our three or four kids here, within walking distance of two parks and the elementary and middle schools that they would someday attend.
Once we had moved in, I told Mike that I never wanted to move again. Since we bought this amazing house at such an awesome price, why would we ever need to?
It’s amazing how everything can change in one afternoon
On Mother’s Day — less than three weeks ago — we took a long walk with the kids. I pushed Madelyn in the stroller, and Jayden rode his bike.
Mike and I discussed ways of bringing in extra income so that we could meet our biggest goal for May — paying off our last non-mortgage debt, the Home Equity Line of Credit (aka HELOC).
We had brought the balance down to $9,400 from $21,000 in January, and our goal was to pay it off completely by June 1st.
We knew we had a challenge in front of us. Sure, we had paid off more than $10,000 in March, but we only get tax refunds once per year, and we didn’t have $2,000 worth of jewelry lying around anymore.
So we started discussing something that has been on the back of our minds for awhile — selling our house.
We knew that the value had appreciated tremendously since we bought it at the bottom of the market in 2009 and that we could buy a smaller home for much less than ours was worth.
Since our daughter Madelyn was born, Mike and I have gotten on the same page that two kids is a good fit for our family so we no longer feel that a house with six bedrooms is necessary.
But I was still hesitant.
I remembered the stress of packing and moving and the excitement we felt when we moved into our home when we got married.
Every time I had moved before, I knew it was only temporary. When we moved into our house, I felt comforted by the fact that this was a permanent move. Unless Mike’s job took us out of the area, we would never need to move again.
And I couldn’t imagine packing and moving now that we have two kids under the age of four.
But I also knew that we could likely pay off the HELOC and boost our emergency fund (our two biggest financial goals for 2015) in one fell swoop.
So I agreed to look at what houses were on the market, and if we found something we liked, then we could decide from there.
With the Internet in the palms of our hands, Mike and I started searching Zillow for 3+ bedroom houses in our neighborhood. Immediately, a beautiful 3-bedroom house with an office popped up. It was in our same neighborhood, only slightly closer to our neighborhood park.
And there was an open house right at that moment!
We loaded the kids and the bike in the car and raced over to check out the house.
Mike and I immediately fell in love with the house, and Jayden and Madelyn seemed to love it too, in spite of missing their naps that day due to all the excitement.
After a thorough tour of the house and imagining moving our lives to the new location, we left with a plan to put our house on the market so that we could make an official offer on the 3-bedroom house.
Here’s why we decided to sell our house
Even though we made the decision to sell our house so quickly, we certainly didn’t make it lightly.
Here are the four main reasons why we decided to sell our house:
We don’t need a 6-bedroom, 3,200 square foot home. In a world where so many people strive to upgrade and think that bigger is better, we are making the conscious decision to downsize our home. Since working on paying off our debt, we’ve been simplifying our lives and reducing the amount of stuff we own. A smaller house would fit better with our goals and ideals.
A smaller house would benefit us in several ways:
there’d be less house to clean (this is a big motivator for us!),
there’d be less house to heat and cool, and as a result, we’d reduce our utilities bills, and
a house with a lower value would mean that we’d save money on property taxes
We’d get a 15-year loan so that even if we don’t meet our ultimate financial goal of paying off our house in 6 years (which we will!), we would at least pay it off within 15 years.
We have enough equity in our house such that we could potentially buy a smaller house in our area, pay off our HELOC, and boost our emergency fund to $25,000 in one fell swoop. This would mean that we would instantly meet our biggest financial goals for the year, all while keeping our mortgage balance the same or possibly even reducing it in the process.
We’re not sure when the rollercoaster ride will end
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of cleaning and organizing, packing and selling. We’ve hosted two garage sales and have become more motivated to sell the things we own that we no longer need so that we’ll have less stuff to move.
And we’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster since Mother’s Day. The owner of that house in our neighborhood didn’t accept our offer so we have been busy looking for another place to call home.
We’ve gone from feelings of excitement to feelings of doubt, wondering if we’ve made the right decision, back to feelings of excitement — sometimes in the same day.
We’ve learned a lot about the real estate market in our area and have a renewed appreciation for how nice our home really is.
We were extremely fortunate to have benefitted from the downturn in the economy, and we knew our home would be a good investment. We bought low, and now we plan to sell at a premium, which is the goal with any investment.
We don’t know what the next few months will bring for us, and as a planner, I find comfort in knowing what lies ahead. To be completely honest, having this level of uncertainty about our future has definitely caused me a lot of stress and many sleepless nights.
But I keep telling myself that what’s meant to be will be. I strongly believe that things will work out the way they are supposed to.
If that means that we go through all these ups and downs and end up staying in our home, then we’ll know that this is where we are meant to be right now. We’ll still meet our financial goals; it just might take us a little bit longer.
If we find a new home and we move to a completely different neighborhood, we’ll look at it as an adventure and a fresh start. We’ll have less to clean, heat, and cool, and we’ll be able to make quick progress on our goals.
Either way, we know that God has a plan for us, and we are glad that we are not in a position where we have to downsize because we can no longer afford our home. We are simply trying to make a smart financial move that will get us a few steps closer to reaching true financial freedom.
What About You?
Participate in the conversation. What drastic financial decisions have you made? Have you bought and/or sold a home recently? If so, how did you deal with the uncertainty? Share in the comments below.