Sometimes life takes us on paths we had not planned; a sick spouse, aging parent or kids who grow up and move out (hopefully).  It’s during these times that we need to think about our current living situation and decide if it still works for us.  Oftentimes it’s a job change or retirement that has us thinking about making a change.  And even though some of these life transitions are positive, they can often be difficult.

Chris and I are in that situation right now, after living in our current home for over 15 years I want to move and Chris does not.  This is a very common dilemma with couples we see in our real estate business.  Usually one spouse wants a change and the other does not – that could be another blog, at another time.  But in our case, I want to move for a couple of reasons.  I love our house and neighborhood but as our only daughter is turning into an adult and will eventually move out, I’m ready to move to a smaller house.  A deeper more personal reason is because this house reminds me of all the fun times I had as a stay-at-home mom doing all those activities that we do while caring for our children.  Play groups, bible-study groups, kid’s birthday parties and such all took place in that home and as I now want to expand my business career, I feel the need to make a change.  I want to embrace the empty nest phase of our life and finding a home that’s easier to take care of and one-story with one great room for entertaining.  We’ve agreed to wait until our daughter actually moves out, before moving from the home she grew up in.

Here are a few things I would recommend if you are facing a life transition that may require you to move to a new home:

1.) If you are a couple, make sure you are both in agreement to make the change.  It’s very difficult for a real estate agent to help a couple find a new home if one partner is resistant to the move.  This is why agents will ask that both partners be present for pre-listing meetings or home showings.  It’s heartbreaking to see one partner find the home of his or her dreams only to have the other partner balk.

2.) Do not make the decision while you are in the midst of the life transition.  No one can think clearly when the stress of a new job or an illness of a family member is on one’s mind.  If at all possible, wait until things have settled down and you are into your new routine or job before embarking on a new home search.

3.) When considering a new neighborhood, town or city, visit that area often and at different times.  Driving around the neighborhood during the middle of the week does not give you a good sense of traffic, noise, cars parked on street, etc.  Make a visit during the evening or weekends to see what kind of activity occurs when neighbors are home.  It’s also a good time to talk to someone who lives in the area if they happen to be out in their yard.

4.) Don’t be afraid to talk to an agent about your desires or plans to move even if it will not occur for a year or so.  We have many homeowners who we have kept in touch with over the years.  We provide market updates, share recent home sales and provide any home repair information to help them get ready for the future change.  We have seen homeowners decide to stay in their homes after remodels, improvements or repairs have taken place.

5.) If you are considering a home change in the future, let us know.  We would be more than happy to make a visit and provide you with information that could help you with that decision.