Another property post (sorry) but I was recently struck by the sudden urge to trade up for a nearby house – detached, 4 bed, wrap round gardens and 3 cellars (a drean of mine). Should I pursue this obsession or is it a logical expression of wanting a better life and what does this type of thing mean for FIRE?
The house in question is actually within a stone’s throw of ours. It would mean that any move would not be for any other reason than we wanted to live there more. Which is a good enough reason for moving, but it does come at a significant cost both financially and in terms of our effort. Sure, there’s a stamp duty holiday at the moment but selling one house to buy another means a lot of fees from solicitors and moving costs plus the energy that is needed to tart up our house to get it sale ready. That might add up to another £15,000 in total.
The other cost is the difference between what this one is for sale at and what ours is worth (which is a bit subjective) but it’s in the region of perhaps £70,000 and the house itself is on an “offers over” price meaning that it could go for anything up to 20% above that price or more! That’s a peculiarity of the Scottish legal/property system.
Comparing apples with apples
When we bought this house that we live in now, I was very happy about the lack of garden – I thought that it saved us about £50,000 on the purchase price and saved me from becoming a boring middle aged wheelbarrow pusher who cares more for his new lawn than he does for his wife and can’t stop talking about his new bean poles.
But now after a bit of covid mania I am on the waiting list for an allotment! Oh dear me – am I just having a midlife crisis of the most boring kind? Do I want to spend all weekend gardening?
The other house is entirely walled and it would be a very safe place for the kids to play in – it’s got the same number of rooms inside but is 20m2 smaller (our rooms are massive) and in terms of “family home” this is a rare find. It’s a lovely stone built house with loads of character – lovely place. The photos look ok if a bit dated in places but there’s amazing cornicing in many rooms and loads of the original features that Kirsty Allsopp (sic?) would go crazy for
I wouldn’t have found out about it if it were not for some neighbours who went to view – they are renting at the moment but hope to gain some respectability by the time their child goes to school next year (same class as the master). Would finding out how much they bid for the house and then outbodding by £500 be immoral or just aplakn super sneaky/smart/psychotic thing to do?
My home is where my heart is at ease
We’ve been in this house for four and a half years and we’ve just decided to spend a lot of money on floors and radiators. Sunk cost? Or a savvy investment – the new floor might wow potential buyers into forking out more cash – desirable properties get desirable offers and there must be a bit of psychological salesmanship going on with interior decoration (alright at around £7k I think that a vase of flowers and a quick spray of air freshener would be just as effective
The question for or against trading up is easy to make if you are moving geographically and not just moving to a pusher gaff in the same locale. I was happy in a 50m2 apartment for years but I know now that we would struggle to all fit in that flat now that there are four if us.
Is that lifestyle creep? I don’t know but I do know that spending that much money doesn’t make a lot of sense. But then again it’s been shown that over time, buying property and leveraging the debt and riding the house price inflation wave is a good way to prosperity.. So maybe increasing our mortgage by 50% would be a good move?
Anyway, talking to the Lady about the house, apparently is is in poor shape and requires lots of “work”, just the sort of work that I can’t do myself and would cost a lot of money – not an easy prospect when I’m not in work myself. So, it looks like we’ll just have to admire this house from afar and live in our own home – which I was perfectly happy with until earlier this week. Andy maybe learning to love the home you have is a cheap lesson we can all learn.