Author Topic: When to sell a house?  (Read 1269 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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    • A Teacher's Journey to FI in the Mitten State
When to sell a house?
« on: October 31, 2015, 01:27:19 PM »
I bit of background:

My husband and I bought a clown-like house in 2011 for $220,000, mostly because we technically could. At the time, our thinking was simply that we were done with moving (had been living in apartments) and to get a house that we wouldn't want to move out of for at least 10 years. The house is 2,400 sq. ft, with four bedrooms, full basement, and three baths.

After finding MMM back in April, we have been focused on minimizing our stuff and have gotten rid of quite a lot from the Kon-Mari purge. Further, this is WAY too much house for us to clean by ourselves all of the time. I've figured out that most of the people in my neighborhood have both lawn services and cleaning people who come in, something we are really not interested in spending money on.

After looking at houses in the area, and at a few posts on here, I think we've come to the conclusion that we are looking either for a 1,000 to 1,500 sq. ft house or a condo. This should cost us anywhere from $100,000 to $175,000, depending on where and what we buy.

I am wondering when the right time to put our house on the market would be? Or if maybe we could buy our new place in the winter and sell the old house in the spring if we are able? I want to make sure that we can maximize our profits if we can. We should be making a nice profit from our current house (prices have gone up significantly in our area, and the house should sell for around $260,000). Would it possibly make more sense to sell the house first? Also, anyone have experience with condos vs. houses that might be able to give me some more information about the pros and cons of such? Not having a yard to take care of sounds great with me, but I know that many condos come with HOA fees, which I feel kind of defeats the purpose of not hiring people to take care of my shit.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: When to sell a house?
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2015, 06:43:00 PM »

I own both a SFH and a condo. I've lived in both (I converted the SFH to a rental unit; currently in the condo). I'll give you some of my pros of each.


1) Freedom/autonomy--you do whatever you want when you want with your place. For a condo anything you do can be subject to the whim of the HOA. I actually live in a condo with a pretty good HOA, but I've had a few plumbing issues and they were much more trouble than they would have been in a house. I had a pipe leaking, and the water went into the unit below mine, so I had to take care of the leak and the damage caused to their unit. During that process, the plumber had to turn off the water to my unit...but that valve was defective, so he had to shut off water to the entire building (8 units) which meant I had to give everyone 48 hrs notice. Then, he did a few things with my water heater, which was next to another unit's water heater. In the mixup, their hot water got shut off, which of course came back on me. So one little leaky pipe affected seven other units, two of them more than the others.

2) Resale--home prices are generally more stable than condos, and SFH tend to sell quicker

3) Neighbors--In a house you have much more space between you and your neighbors. You can have crappy neighbors anywhere, but with condos they are typically a lot closer. I have downstairs neighbors who like to sing and play the guitar--sometimes at 2am. My neighbors across the hall smoke copious amounts of weed, leaving a cloud and a stench all along the hall. Some people like to slam doors. And they all have a neighbor who shuts off everyone's water :). Of course, in my last house I had a neighbor who had a dog that liked to bark loudly and repeatedly at 3am. So every situation is different, but with a condo you are just that much more up-close and personal with the annoying habits of your neighbors, and generally have more neighbors therefore more opportunities to be annoyed.


1) Location--I got a condo in the location I wanted because I simply couldn't afford a SFH near downtown and the university.

2) Maintenance/Utilities--I pay HOA fees of $125/month with my condo. For that, I get: Water, trash, sewage, exterior insurance, exterior maintenance, lawn service. That is less than I would pay for that in an SFH. Additionally, the condo is smaller making it much cheaper to heat/cool.

3) Rental property considerations--If I bought a SFH for the same price as I paid for this condo, I'd only be able to depreciate maybe 60-80% of the value because the rest is considered land, which doesn't depreciate. With the condo, I can depreciate the entire value. Also, condos typically cash flow better (this one is no exception). Also, having water/trash/sewage/lawn included, and being close to downtown and the university, makes it a very attractive rental property.

I bought this condo intending to only be here two years and then make it a second rental property, therefore I evaluated it as a rental property, and figured I'd deal with the other hassles that come along with it as I lived in it relatively briefly.

Of course, only you can determine if avoiding yard work is worth it, but having lived in my SFH for 9 years, and now living in this condo for 3+ months, I have determined that I strongly prefer SFHs for my own residence, and would only buy another condo if it was a very strong financial opportunity.