When Karen and Jim approached us to help them sell their home and buy a new one, it was with mixed feelings.
They bought their sweet little home when they learned they were expecting their first child. It was the perfect place for them to start their new family; close to everything they needed – a playground, a grocery store, a short walk to work, and a parking space. The home had it’s quirks, the floors were a little slanted, the bathrooms a little small- but the outdoor patio, the breeze that blew in off the hill into their master bedroom, and the bonus room in the basement for guests, made it just right for them. They fell in love fast.
Now, with baby number three on the way, the home no longer works for them the way it used to. They simply don’t have enough room anymore. With two children and a third on the way, a dog, a cat, and all the clutter for a family of this size, it’s time for an upgrade.
However because everything about their current house is perfect, except the size, Karen and Jim know that finding the next “perfect” home won’t be as easy.
Along with the decision to upgrade their living space, there are also all sorts of additional challenges for couples like Karen and Jim:
- Affording a bigger home means compromising– perhaps location, level of renovation, parking, or outdoor space? It may not be possible to have it all.
- Making the decision to live in the city with children has school implications – public school or private school? And if they choose private school, that in turn impacts how much house they can afford.
- Husband and wife may not always agree on priorities and compromises and this can also complicate the home search.
We recommend several things to couples like Karen and Jim:
- Keep an open mind. Go see as many homes as possible that generally fit what you’re looking for. In our age of digital marketing, it can be easy to dismiss a home based on what you see online, photos, videos, floor plans. But, even with online imagery to give us a good sense of a home, there’s still no substitute for walking through a home.
- Write lists; lists of must-have’s, lists of could-live-without’s, lists of things you could compromise on but thought you never would. Write separate lists and write lists together.
- Be open and honest with each other. It’s okay to disagree, but conversations about where you disagree will help you understand what’s important to the other person and perhaps lead to compromise.
- And finally, think in the short term. Chances are that the home you purchase as a young and growing family will not be your forever home, so think about what you need in your home for the next few years. It might be different than the home you need when you have three teenagers. And when it comes time to sell this next home, you may be feeling just as nostalgic as you are at the thought of selling your first one.