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Ask Dave

Married to the House

Daniel bought a home from a bank in 2009. It's livable but needs some updating. Daniel would rather spend his money elsewhere. He'd like to sell it as it is. Should he just sell it and be free?

QUESTION: Daniel in Salt Lake City bought a home from a bank in 2009. It’s his only debt, and he is living in it. It’s livable but needs some updating. The mortgage is on a short term, but Daniel would rather spend his money elsewhere. He’d like to sell it as it is. Should he just sell it and be free?

ANSWER: Just sell it. There’s no sense in screwing around with it. It has not brought you joy. Nothing in the conversation—and the conversation is only 30 seconds old—has joy in it. There’s no joy anywhere in this story. It’s not even a home. It’s like every time you walk in there, you’re like, “This place sucks. It was a bad decision.” Every time you walk in the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, you think that. It’s like this constant sharp stick in the eye.

It’s going to be a great deal for somebody else now, and you’re going to move on with your life and make a different decision and get you a nice little place that’s nice and new and that’s comfortable and the payments are reasonable on a 15-year fixed, and you’re going to get your life back. This thing’s sucking the life out of you.

It’s not forever. Houses aren’t forever, but this one is not bringing you joy. Unless you can develop a plan with your household income to get these renovations done in a reasonable period of time and you begin a step-by-step plan that is on the calendar to execute pieces of these renovations at a time to where you have a three-year process or something so you can have a home you can enjoy and you pay cash for the renovations—if you guys can’t figure that out in your budget, I’d get rid of the thing, man. It’s a stupid house. They’ve got a house on every corner. You can get another house. Move down a little bit. Get yourself solid, and start saving to move up again. You found one good deal. There’s lots of good deals. I buy houses several times a month, and I don’t buy anything but good deals. You just have to look and take some time. You just got married to this one.