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Breaking up is hard to do, and that’s true in any relationship—even the relationship you have with your home. That’s because as much as we’d like to think the decision to buy or sell a house is purely about dollars, cents and square feet, we can’t help but have an emotional connection to the place our family calls home.
So is it any surprise that the decision to break up with your home can take on all the emotional angst of a middle school relationship that’s run its course? If only you could let your home down easy with every adolescent’s favorite fallback tool: the break-up letter. Maybe yours would sound a little something like this . . .
This is a tough letter to write, but it’s time we both faced the facts. Even though you haven’t done anything wrong, our family has decided we’re not in love with you anymore.
I know that has to be difficult to hear. After all, we’ve had some great years together. You’ve given us a safe and affordable place to call home for a long time. You are a big reason our family is finally debt-free!
Not only that, you’ve been the place where we’ve made lasting lifetime memories! Remember the first night we spent with you? Even though dinner was only pizza served on top of moving boxes, you made us feel like we were on top of the world! Over the years, you supplied the perfect spot for our Christmas trees and patiently endured the dog’s housetraining days (thank goodness for your hardwood floors). You kept our babies warm and cozy and served as a perfect backdrop for so many firsts—first steps, first bike rides and first days of school.
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Through it all, you never changed. And if we have to be honest, that’s the real problem. Lately, we’ve realized we need more space. Not long ago, we were browsing homes online and discovered a three-bedroom colonial in a great neighborhood. We wanted to click away, but we couldn’t. We’d found everything we wanted in a new home! And that’s when we knew. It was over. We finally understood that you could never give us the space we need. So I guess what we’re really saying is, it’s not you—it’s us.
We might as well go ahead and confess something else. We’ve been saving money. Yes, we admit it! For months now, we’ve been setting aside money for a new home—one that will give us the room we need to grow as a family.
And that’s not all. We also talked with a real estate agent to find out how much you’re worth. We know how that sounds, but the agent’s report only opened our eyes to your true value! Not only will you forever hold a special place in our hearts as our first home, but we will always be grateful to you for giving us the means to move on—and move up!
This isn’t the end of the line for you either. You’re a great house! One of the best! You may miss us at first, but before long, a new family will find you and fall in love with you the same way we did.
Your For-Now Family
How to Make the Call for Your Family
You might be hesitant to break things off with a place that’s served your family well. But if your current home no longer meets your everyday needs, it’s time for a change.
Maybe your family is growing, or perhaps you’re becoming empty nesters. Maybe your home’s location no longer works for you now that the kids are going to school or you’ve recently had a job change. Either way, it’s tough to stay in a home that cramps your style.
But you can’t base your decision on that fact alone. Here are two more factors to consider before you put your home on the market:
1. Can you afford a new home? Set up your next home purchase for success by waiting to buy when you’re debt-free except for your current mortgage. You’ll also need enough savings and/or equity in your home to put down at least 10% (preferably 20%) on your new home.
2. Can you afford the move? To get the best price for your home, you’ll need to invest some time and elbow grease to get it ready for potential buyers. That can mean anything from fresh paint and fresh flowers to taking care of some forgotten maintenance issues.
Make the Right Decision With Expert Advice
When it comes to making tough emotional decisions, there’s nothing like the impartial advice of a third person. An experienced real estate agent can advise you on the current value of your home, show you how to play up your home's features to get top dollar, and help you determine if selling your home will enable you to move up to a new one that's a better fit for your family.
If you’re just getting started, be sure to download Dave’s home seller guides! You’ll find simple tips to help you navigate the entire home-selling process.