It’s the nagging doubt that’s plagued me ever since we signed our names on the dotted line and said goodbye to our first home: was selling our house a good deal? After all, even though we’d lived in the home for seven years and put on an addition, we still took a loss on its sale… and that stung.
But we needed the money and the move. We didn’t have options like using this Website to sell our structured settlement, we didn’t want to get roommates, and I did want to move.
A few weeks ago, the kids and I took a road trip to visit friends in our old city. As we pulled into town, my oldest insisted that we drive by our old house to see if the new owners had made any changes (interesting side note here: although it looked almost the exact same, my daughter didn’t recognize the house she’d spent her first five years in – so much for scarring her with our move!).
As we cruised the streets of our old neighborhood, I noticed a few things:
- Three of the houses that were on the market when we moved out of the neighborhood nearly nine months earlier were still for sale. In fact, there were a total of ten homes for sale in the neighborhood, constituting nearly 10% of the properties. Ouch.
- In addition to the ten homes for sale, I saw at least half a dozen signs advertising homes for rent in the neighborhood. It’s never a good omen when a neighborhood goes from buyer-dominated to renter-dominated.
- There were a plethora of cars parked on the side of the street, boats and RVs parked in driveways (and in some cases, in the side yard, too), and chain link fences that hadn’t been there before. I know why this happened: three of the four board members for the homeowner’s association moved the same time we did, and the neighborhood voted to disband the HOA, rather than elect new officers. Rules outlining proper parking and storage protocol were part of the now-dissolved HOA.
My gut reaction as I drove down the road? My old neighborhood looked dingy. It did not look like the sunny street that I remembered; and it looked far less middle-class than it did lower-class.
Once we arrived back home, I made it a point to look up recent sales in my old ‘hood, and discovered that housing prices hadn’t gone up since we’d moved (although they had in the rest of the zip code). They’d actually gone down. This gave me the most amazing peace of mind; finally, I didn’t have to worry that we’d made the wrong financial decision in moving and selling our house for a loss.