Do you know where you'll be in five to seven years?
Whether you're a first-time buyer, or are planning to trade up or down, the amount you spend, type of mortgage you get, kind of house you select and whether you move at all should depend on how long you expect to stay in your new home.
Moving is time-consuming and costly: You've got the actual fees associated with hiring a moving company or renting a U-haul truck plus the costs to get an existing home ready for sale.
Settling in is tough, too. It isn't just a matter of arranging your possessions. Even when the new home is in good shape, you'll want to paint, wallpaper, refinish floors, and buy new furnishings. It all adds up.
The bottom line is this: If you're not going to stay in your new home at least five to seven years, moving may cost more than it's worth.
Try to look into the future as best as possible. You can't plan for everything: It's hard to know what kind of job, lifestyle, or personal changes will force you to change your plans. Will you have children? Will you work from home? Will your children move out soon for college or for their own homes?
And if you're somewhat ambivalent or uncertain, you may be better off staying put, paying rent or making cosmetic changes to your existing home. For not that much money, you can add new pulls on drawer fronts, paint a room a fresh color or buy inexpensive area rugs that you can take with you when you eventually move.
If, however, the odds are greater that you'll stay for a while in your new home, go ahead. Let the search begin.
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