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Help! Can't decide whether to move or addition

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi everybody,

We've been our place for 3 years. I love the house, the neighborhood, the lot, the location. Unfortunately, we've outgrown the house, and we need to decide whether to move or put an addition on. Everytime we make a decision, I get queasy and change my mind. Our mortgage lender thinks we're better off moving. Our credit is ok, not great, and if we went through them refinancing a loan, it would be pretty expensive.

But, my parents have offered to loan us the money at a lower interest rate which would make it affordable. But, are we crazy to do an addition with 3 young kids? We're not very handy. Almost all the work would be done by professionals. Our house is the smallest on the block, and a realtor told us an addition would fit in well, we'd make our money back in about 5 yrs. Our neighborhood is becoming VERY popular and houses are going for much more than they did even 3 years ago.

We could probably find something that satisfied our needs in the surrounding area (not our immediate neighborhood but nearby), and I guess, who knows, we may find a great place. But I love our house! Even in only 3 years I've become attached to our space, especially the gardens I've made, the enormous playset we spent ALL last summer putting together, etc. Stuff that maybe other people would say "well, do that to a new place!" But, I don't know. I guess I'm sentimental. And scared of new things...

Anyway, any advice, words of wisdom, thoughts, prayers, you name it, I'll take it!!! :LOL I guess I feel like if we leave this neighborhood, which is just a little funky, close to downtown, close to the river, I'll regret it. Of course, there's all kinds of factors like whether we should move across the line into the county, which is cheaper, plus the public schools are an option (right now we're in private waldorf school, but I don't know what we'll do 5 years down the line when we've got 3 kids in school!

Thanks guys. Anyone else feel free to comiserate!
Megan
post #2 of 7
If your house is on the small side of the average for the neighborhood, and the neighborhood is popular AND you're putting on an addition that is the kind of space that would be useful to the sort of people who live in your neighborhood (like, you're not adding a super-gourmet kitchen and wine celler to what is essentially a middle-income family home like my stupid aunt and uncle did) then I would think that the addition would be a good investment. If you keep your home competitive within the neighborhood (ie. Same size, same sorts of ameneties) you're maximising the advantage that you can take of the popularity of your area and making the most of the investment you already have in your house.

You said yourself that you're not going to have five kids in school for a while -- a long enough while that if tution was really the breaking point in the family budget that not only would you have made back your money on the addition, but it sounds like your house probably would have appreciated significantly.

Plus... don't get advice on whether to move from your mortgage lender. OF COURSE they want you to move! A mortgage on a whole new house is a lot more money for them than a loan for an addition! If you want good financial advice about which one is better, make an appointment with a financial planner -- someone who is on YOUR side, not looking after their own livlihood.
post #3 of 7
I am in a similar situation. I am not, however, crazy about our house. But the idea of moving just seems really overwhelming and out of reach (cost wise). We have three children and about 1100 sq.ft. of living space. The people before us did add an addition to the house but it was built VERY poorly, it is uninhabitable now. So there is no way we could sell the house!

We got a home equity loan and will completely get rid of the current addition and build a new one, it will give us two more bedrooms, a second bathroom and a very small family room. It has given me hope that our house will be livable.

Maybe you can sit down and right out your ideas about what features your perfect house would have and go from there. I think if you really love the house and the neighborhood it's worth investing in the addition. My parents did it many years ago and even though it took a LONG time and was stressful they don't regret it. Make the house fit you! Good luck!
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
hi guys, thanks for responding. i'm naking right now, so i'llhave to be short. so, update...none!!!! i'm reading bob villa's how to hire a contractor , and now i'm petrified about an addition! there are so many decisions to make, so many ways to get ripped off!!! i'm not sure i'm strong enough or mature enough to deal with all the decisions and work!!! not a good thing to read, although it's very informative, and stuff we'll need to know.

we're going to look at other houses today, just to get some ideas and see what's out there. deep down i'm scared about either decision. i'm such a creature of habit these days, not nearly the adventurer i was before 3 kids. i feel like i have to be such a 'grownup' when these days, i'm proud of myself when i can get a load of laundry done and a meal on the table!!! :LOL

i think an addition would take care of our needs and wants better. i don't think we'll find a house that we won't have to do any work on. the couple of houses i've alreay looked at, i'm already thinking, "okay, we need to put a fence up, enlarge the kitchen, knock down a wall there, etc" . I guess we'll keep looking. DH flip flops too, so we're no help to each other.

So, I hope you guys don't mind if I use this as a sounding board. It helps me to write feelings down. Geez, I'm such a feeling person. I know I need to write some practical stuff down too. thanks for listening, all, and anymore thoughts are still appreciated. Thanks for the words so far. I definately am taking whatever our mortgage lender says with a grain of salt. I really like her, but I have to remember she's looking out for her best interests too!!

I notice I get more excited talking about an addition than I do a move. We'd have to do a lot of work around here before we could move too. That's not an exciting prospect. Okay, more later, thanks again!!

Megan
post #5 of 7
With all the great things you have mentioned about your current house, if it were me I would stay. You can get ripped off just as easily moving to another house as adding on. The big staying point for me would be the gardens you have done. that is so much time and effort, I wouldn't want to start over. Plus, it has been really hard for me to find a neighborhood that I liked. If I had that I wouldn't move for almost anything. Just my 2 cents, Sarah
post #6 of 7
We renovated. I also love my neighborhood. It was so much cheaper to renovate than to move to what we wanted. Your lender wants you to move because they'll make more off you. If you have equity, you might consider a cash out. If you love your home, your neighborhood, your yard, the garden you created, then it might make more sense to stay. But if you can have what you want and not go into greater debt, it might make more sense to move, esp since you have small children.

I think you are right to check out what you could have. Either you'll find something that works and totally meets your needs, or you will think adding on is a good idea.

That's what happened to us. After looking for a year at the sort of homes that met our current needs and did not need work (everything seemed to need a lot of work!) cost 500K and up (we live near boston-- totally crazy market), we saw that renovating was much, much, much & *much* cheaper than moving. it was a pita, for sure, to renovate, though. Moving and renovating are both right up there in the huge stress department.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Well, we've decided to go ahead with the addition. Yeay! I'm really excited, and I know we'll be happy with the end result.

So, now it's $$time. I don't know if we have enough equity to get a cash out, or maybe it won't be enough. My dad has offered to loan us the money (he'd take out a home equity loan with a better rate than we could get) but I know an advantage of us taking out the loan would be tax deductions. Ah, decisions...

Thanks to all responders. You guys hit the nail on the head for me: gardens, neighborhood, costs. Thanks!!

Megan
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