Should We Move or Not?

Updated on April 11, 2011
A.W. asks from Kalamazoo, MI
19 answers

I am so torn! We live in a modest, older 5 bedroom, one bath home on 1.3 acres that was built in the 1940's. We live in city limits - which is important to us since our kids will qualify for FREE college anywhere in Michigan just by graduationg from Kalamazoo Public Schools. We have lived here for almost 10 years, kids are 6 and 8 yrs old. Hubby would love love love to move to a nicer house. We can afford it now too. He makes almost 2x the amount of money per year as he did when we purchased this home. We are not upside down in our mortgage - we can clear 20k or more when we sell even in this market. I would love to have another bathroom, an updated kitchen, bigger bedrooms and a large family room/rec room maybe in a walkout basement.
Pros to staying:
We can afford to travel anywhere we want! We have a small, older rv. If we stay living here, we could buy a brand new one easily and take awesome vacations once or twice per year - we love to travel. We could also save a bunch of money in Savings. We only need to live in Kalamazoo until the kids graduate and move out - 11-15 years, then we can move out of the city. I don't want to put much money in our current home because it'll price it out of the neighborhood, but we could put a half bath in the basement for cheap.

I am so torn - to stay or move? What would you choose?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all responses so far! I should add that IF we moved, we would still stay in Kalamazoo for the free college. And the Kalamazoo Promise is privately funded by donors, not tied to the government in anyway. If at anytime the donors wish to discontinue the promise, all children currently enrolled in school are guranteed to still receive their funds.

Well, after talking with my husband, he kinda feels the same way, maybe we should stay. I don't want to sell this house unless we are sure. Our friends/family will think we are crazy, we have already put half of our stuff in storage and took loads of stuff to Goodwill! We even already have a FSBO sign in the yard and have gotten calls from people wanting to see the house! We can always change our minds later. For now, a smaller home, huge yard and financial freedom is what makes us happy. We will discuss some simple, less expensice ways to improve our current home. Thanks to all!!!!

More Answers



answers from New York on

Considering what college tuition will cost in the next 10-15 years, I would strongly suggest that you stay put! I know that you would like to move into a nicer house b/c you can now afford to, but having a nice cushy retirement fund (when you can travel the world without worrying) would be far more enticing to me than an upgraded kitchen!

Just as a reference, my parents considered this about 20 years ago and ended up staying in their 1950's ranch with an addition b/c they wanted to pay for our colleges in cash and pay off their home. They are so glad that they did. They don't live in a wonderful neighborhood, but it's a safe neighborhood that is convenient to the beach and our former schools. My father made enough money that they could have moved at any time, but...
- House is paid for
- They out-right own three rental properties
- Cars paid for in cash
- Boat paid for in cash
- Three undergrads paid for and three grad programs paid for
- 2 weddings paid for in cash
- Travel whenever, wherever w/o worry
- Solid investments
- Remodeled kitchen and bath
- Landscaped backyard w/ pool
- At nearly 60, my dad works b/c he loves his job, not because he "has to"

... all because they lived BELOW their means and stayed in their "little house" in their "good, but not great" neighborhood. Think long-term here. There will come a time when you would rather be off visiting your grandchildren than working to pay off a mortgage on a house that's empty!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would never choose to be "house poor". And I love to travel!

You & your husband have to AGREE on this O., though.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on


You and your husband have made a nice life for your family. What if you rented out your current home and purchased a newer one in the city? If that isn't possible, I think I would stay put and add on a bathroom.

You both seem to know how you plan, save and still have a lot of fun. If your marriage is as good as your lifestyle, you must be a happy woman!


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

FYI, Free college means free tuition but nothing else. Tuition is the smallest portion of what we pay for our daughters college. The housing, the books, the fees, etc.. It all adds up to be about 3 times the cost of the tuition.. Just keep on saving for college, you will need every dime.

Why don't you remodel your beloved home? Add a bathroom and update the kitchen open up a wall and make bigger rooms or add on rooms.

We live in the smallest home in the neighborhood. Our daughter is now in college and we survived the 1 bathroom and the small outdated kitchen. We did not need all of that room. We have friends that now that their kids have left for college have huge empty houses.

The travel would be awesome and what freedom.
You are very fortunate to have great choices. I do not think there is any wrong choice.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would update the home I have instead of moving. If you have an established neighborhood and like your neighbors - renovate your home. You can add a bathroom and not price yourself out of the market...small improvements make a HUGE difference for quality of life - which is what you are looking for - quality of life, right?

Look around to see what's out there and what you can and cannot afford. Just because hubby is making 2x more than you did when you bought the house - doesn't mean the spending/expenses haven't increased two-fold as well.

get some estimates on what it would take to add a bathroom and update your kitchen. You might be surprised at what you find!!!


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Stay where you are and save, save, save! You are in a perfect situation. We also have a few acres and an older house, no debt and lots of equity. We go look at open houses every Sunday and are so tempted to buy a sparkly new house, but we really want to keep land, and that's expensive. We also know the smart thing to do is to keep saving for retirement and college (our kids don't get to go for free). We want to continue to live well within our means. We don't want to spread ourselves thin. So we go back to our old farmhouse that we really do love. Enjoy travelling, and when your children are older you can buy that fancy new house with no regrets.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I could be biased because I've worked for an Outplacement company for the last four years, helping people who have been laid off to try to find new jobs. I've seen so many people who never thought they would be out of work now in dire straits because it now takes an average of 5 - 7 months, and in some cases up to two years, to find a new job.

I would stay. I would look at minor improvements to the current house to make it more livable. I would build your savings. I would enjoy your vacations. I would rejoice over the fact that your children can afford to go to college.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I wouldnt in this economy...doesnt make a difference what my financial situation is. If I sold my house now I would stand to take about 70 or 80k but that doesnt mean I am going to upgrade. I would perfer to be mortgage free. just think of how much earlier you can retire if you just stay?
but its up to you and your hubby...sometimes people need a fresh page you know?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If the area you now live in is safe and a nice area I would highly consider trying making the house the way you would like. Have some property is nice, you have the room to do as you wish with expanding your current home if you wanted to do that. Maybe use some of that "extra" money to pay towards you principle and pay that baby off early and save some time and interest that you are just giving away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Add a bathroom to your hosue, update yoru ktichen and stay where you are unless the neighborhood isn't good. Being house-poor is a burden. How nice that you can afford to save, pay down your mortgage, etc. We refinanced ours last year to a 15 yr tem so we plan to be paid up when we retire. HAving a bigger hosue means more to clean and take care of.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Any chance of having the best of both worlds? Move to another house in Kalamazoo? Get a newer home that is more updated, but still benefit from the free college (this is AWESOME by the way!). And then when the kids graduate, you can buy your ream home where ever you want, if you want.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I would stay, and if it wouldn't over improve your house, take some equity out to redo some of the things you hate about it. Update your kitchen, baths, etc. Use some money for that new RV. Plus the money you will save on college education is worth staying around. Have a realtor come and help you on what you could update (that would benefit you when you sold), and what you should keep as is. If you can live comfortably now, I wouldn't change that for the world!


answers from St. Louis on

I would make my current house to my liking, but I HATE moving. I would update the kitchen and see how I could change the floor plan to make it more open. Take one of the bedrooms and make it a master bath and huge walk in closet (that is if you don't need it).



answers from Tulsa on

I HATE My house and we built it. It does not meet our needs now and it surely won't in the future. We could pour thousands into it and still, it would not really work. I say move though I love having extra money in savings.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I would move. You have to live in your house every single day. Vacations for you are twice a year. Do you really want to go every one of those days hating your house??? You only live once. Just don't go everboard and buy a house you can't really afford.
Posters who are telling you to stay seem to not realize that you are NOT willing to put money into fixing your house up so you won't overprice your house in your neighborhood. So therefore if you do stay you will be living for 11-15 years in a house that you do NOT like.



answers from Salt Lake City on

You know a nicer bigger house sometimes seems what we want. But make sure that it's not going to strip you of all you money and time with your family. My husband and I have made some mistakes when it comes to this area. We are currently in a house that we could afford 2 yrs ago but then my husband had a mandatory job change reducing our income by half. So we are now trying with all our might to sell our beautiful home just so we can first of all be able to make our payments and second so that we'll have money to make memories with our children. In the last two years we've been so strapped for cash that my husband has to work all the time. we don't have money or the time to go do anything. for us the dream life would to be able to get into a house or a condo that would free us of financial demands. All we want to do is to spend time with our kids and make memories.

I'd just like to say that it's not a bad thing to get a new house, but just make sure that you can buy one that still allows you to have fun. Life isn't as fun when all you do is work to pay for bills. I wish that we were where you were.


answers from Austin on

I predict you'll want a bigger house as your kids get older--and spent more prep time in the bathroom. I would either renovate or move... However, with the way state budgets are turning upside down these days, don't put all your eggs in one basket (on the guaranteed free college tuition). It would be fantastic if that deal stays unchanged for the next 15-20 years (because you have to include the years they'd be in college), but always have a second plan just in case...



answers from Atlanta on

Stay and renovate! Add another bath and a half and a large family/media/game-type room -in 10 years that shouldn't have "priced you out" of the neighborhood. You can also remodel the kitchen. The fact your kids will be able to attend college free is reason enough to stay! Also -being able to travel and do some extra things is huge. I wouldn't move.



answers from Philadelphia on

If your plannng on staying for the next 11 - 15 years I really would not worry too much about being priced out of your neighborhood. Your kitchen and baths will be outdated again in 15 years even if you do renovate now:). You could still update your kitchen and add a new bath on a strict budget. Remember bigger houses also have bigger expenses although if I were you I would certainly look at houses on the market. Maybe you could find a house that has the renovations already completed but without the hefty price tag. Just make sure if you make an offer on a house it is contigent on the sale of your old house. It could ruin you financially to have 2 mortgages. Good luck!

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