WWTPD - Buying bigger home at the age of 50 ** UPDATED for real **

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Posted 7/26/2013 by kirow in NSBR Board
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kirow
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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:27:17 PM
My husband and I are so torn on what to do. Stay in a house that is too small for us, or buy our "dream home". We would be mortgage free in less than 5 years if we stay, and then if we move, we are looking at a 30 year mortgage and starting all over again at the age of 50, though we would have a lot in equity from the sale of our current home which we have been in for 24 years to put towards a bigger home. We would hope to put extra towards principle to pay it off sooner, but the keyword is hope.

We currently live in a 3 bedroom home and have 3 kids. My oldest daughter just graduated college and is back sharing a tiny bedroom with her 15 year old sister. My son who is 19 has his own room. Our house is only a little over 1700 square feet, no basement, and no place to add an extra room inside. We could add an addition, but I don't think we would ever get our money back by doing that.

I do not see the older kids moving out any time soon. I know it is ideal to be mortgage free when retiring and we would most likely have to downsize at some point in our later years, but in the mean time we are torn on what to do. Our hearts tell us one thing and our heads tell us another. This has been our first and only home. We bought it before we were married and had kids and we never moved earlier because I quit work to be a stay at home mom. I am currently working part time and looking to go full time.

Any suggestions or opinions are appreciated, especially from those who have found themselves in our situation.

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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:31:33 PM
I would only do it if it could be a 15 year mortgage or less.


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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:32:25 PM
Could you afford a 10 or 15 year mortgage? I personally wouldn't get a 30 year mortgage at the age if 50.

I bought my first house 2 years ago at the ago if 39 and refused to do more than a 15 year then.

I know some will say take the 30 and just pay extra, but that doesn't always happen.



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eebud
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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:38:01 PM
I wouldn't do it. For me, preparing for retirement is much too important. Keeping my grown kids, who need to be moving out on their own, comfortable in a home that I am paying for and pushing my retirement back is not something I am willing to do.

Part of my retirement plan is that I MUST have a paid for home. We will not have pensions so we need to not be making a house payment. DH and I are 53. We built our retirement home 7 years ago. I should be paid off in about 3 years, maybe a bit less, because I am paying extra principal like crazy on this house. We will not move again unless we decided to downsize smaller and we were able to sell one and pay cash for the other. When this mortgage is gone, that's it for us.





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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:42:13 PM
I'm a big fan of "if you can afford it, do it", but I can't see "upsizing" at 50. Not when retirement is staring you in the face. And I don't say that lightly, because I would love to move to a bigger house, but my dh's cool head keeps prevailing. We have big plans for when all of the kids are out of the house (moving into NYC is the primary goal) and our current house will be paid off at that point, which would enable us to get a better apartment.

Honestly, I wouldn't. And that's hard for me to say because I really do understand the desire to go bigger and better.



momto4kiddos
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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:44:50 PM
I wouldn't do it if it were me! Your kids are grown/almost grown so tailoring a house to their needs doesn't seem wise.

As much as it seems they won't be moving out soon, all of the sudden they will. I never imagined my dd leaving home at 18, but she did (although she did return.)

We added on to our home while our kids were small (we have 4.) The house will be too big when they start to move out. Bigger houses bring bigger tax bills, electric/utility bills, more upkeep!

My youngest is starting high school and I know it's only a matter of time before they start to leave. I'm looking forward to the financial aspect of downsizing!

I'd really consider the amount of space would be ideal for you if/when the kids are gone. Realistically i'd bet within 5 years the older 2 will have moved out.

Georgiapea
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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:45:04 PM
A 30 year mtg. will still be with you at the age of 80. Are you planning on still working at that age? Or will you have savings that will cover the expense after you no longer have full time jobs?

What about building UP? People regularly add a 2nd story to a single story house, rather than move? I would not move just to make it comfortable for kids who are basically adults.

little mama
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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:49:36 PM
I don't see a 1700 sq foot home as being too small for 5 people, personally, especially when 3 of them won't be there for too many more years. I might finish a basement or maybe put on an addition that will still suit your needs after the kids move out - something you can turn into a den maybe.


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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:56:21 PM
If the money works out, do it. Especially if you can add something to the principle each month. We are mid 60s and moved to a bigger home in January. Best thing we ever did.

melodyesch
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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:56:36 PM
No way, no how. What happens in 5 years when all of your kids are out? You'd be stuck with a mortgage and too much house. If this is the house that your kids grew up in, then they can make due with things being back to the way they were until they move out. No way would I buy a bigger house at this point, especially not with a 30 year mortgage!

twinsmom-fla99
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Posted: 7/26/2013 12:58:07 PM
My husband and I "upsized" considerably when we moved to WV last year, but the cost of the home was within a couple thousand of the house we sold, even after realtor commission. [ETA: DH was 55 and I was 50 when we moved last year, so we are right there in the OP's age bracket. Our oldest is 20 and a sophomore in college, and the two youngest are almost 14 and starting 8th grade, so our kids are a little younger than OP's but not by a lot. The change made sense for us b/c (1) we were moving to another town and had to buy a new house anyway, and (2) we wanted to accommodate DH's sister, and (3) buying this house didn't cost anymore than our former home--the price was about the same, the taxes are lower here, and our utility bills last year were only $100 more than they were for the smaller house in VA.]

Our last home was plenty big enough, but we are enjoying the extra space we have now, especially since his sister (disabled) moved in with us. We like the fact that we have a "separate" living space in our basement that can be used for our 20 yo DD if she needs to live with us after college, or by a live-in caregiver if we or my SIL ever need one.

One major deciding factor for us in buying this house was the accessibility. We can grow old in this house for a LOOONNNNGGGG time before we would need to move into assisted living. It was originally built for a family with a child in a wheelchair, so there are ramps and extra wide doorways/hallways. Everything we need is on one easily accessible floor, and only the "extras" (fan cave, scraproom, workshop, etc.) are in the basement (which can still be accessed by a stair lift since we have plenty of room to install one in the basement stairwell).

Another deciding factor was the fact that the house was built to be very low maintenance, another plus for "aging in place". It is also very easy to clean--hardwood/ceramic tile, 8 foot ceilings instead of 10, vinyl siding and windows, tilt in windows, etc. I would have hated trying to clean our last house as I get older because I think it would have been physically challenging.

This house is also very energy efficient, and the roof line is a great design for adding solar panels someday if we want to go that route. When we move out of the workforce and into retirement, we will appreciate not having to worry about high energy bills. [ETA: The possibility of higher utilities is definitely something you need to consider if you upsize. Our overall utilities are only slightly higher than they were in the smaller house in spite of adding almost 2500 square feet. You heat volume, not square footage, so the height of your ceilings makes a HUGE difference. While our heating bills increased a little b/c we have to use propane here, our water bills are much lower, and electricity is pretty much the same.]

Nobody wants to think about growing old. However, when you start thinking "dream home" at age 50, you need to take those kinds of things into consideration if you really want this to be the last home you own. I've seen too many older people "forced" out of their "dream homes" when the home was no longer functional or the cost of living there became too much. I think those kinds of things are much more important to consider than the increased space.

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Posted: 7/26/2013 1:05:02 PM
I would not do it.

Eventually your kids are going to move out + the idea of a mortgage at age 70 or 80 is not a good one.

Can you take the money you would pay on the new house & move the older child to an apt?

janeinbama
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Posted: 7/26/2013 1:19:40 PM
Best decision we made- do not regret it at all!

When we moved into our current home I was 44 and DH was 50. We had lived in our house 23 year youngest DD was Sophomore in college and my widowed Mother lived down the street - widowed father figure lived 2 doors down - VERY HARD decision. We had always talked about moving on some land ended up with 11 acres - house sits on 2 that have to be mowed, rest is woods, not to far from town (dream was a lake 45 minutes away but tooo $$). Our older 2 daughters were married and we were cramped when family was together. My DH wanted to able to piddle and putt around outside and we realized that waiting another 5-10 years we might not be able to take care of it.

Our previous neighborhood was good - but decline was taking place it's a 60 year old neighborhood and as people die their children rent out the house. Before we moved we had mulitple rentals in our block.

We went from 1100 sf to 2100 sf and never looked back We will pay off
before we retire. I do miss not being able to go home at lunch though.

julieberg
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Posted: 7/26/2013 1:24:19 PM


How is the real estate market? We can't predict the future, but I like to think our house is an investment and we will be making money while living here. We built our "dream house" 9 years ago and now two of our kids are on their own and the youngest is a sophomore in college. The house is big, but we still love it. We now have a guest room (which is great when dh is snoring) and a scraproom. The only thing I still miss about my smaller home is my neighbors.

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Posted: 7/26/2013 1:29:37 PM
I would stay. Your mortgage will be paid off in 5 years and by then, maybe the kids will be gone.


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Posted: 7/26/2013 1:47:04 PM
It depends. How big is the differential between what you can sell the current house for and what you'll pay for the new house? Are you looking at a big mortgage? I would not take on a 30 year mortgage with a payment I could not afford once I was retired. However, if I could afford the payment in retirement, or if I could afford the higher payments of a 10 or 15 year mortgage now, then I wouldn't have a problem with it.

DH and I just bought a house with 5 bedrooms, even though our kids are getting older (19, 17 and 13) and one is already in college. (We're in our mid-50's). After the kids are gone we want to have enough space for them to visit and for us to host family gatherings. We can afford this house even after we're retired, though. We wouldn't have done it if that was not the case.


MXJSmith
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Posted: 7/26/2013 1:52:21 PM
I would stay.


We would hope to put extra towards principle to pay it off sooner, but the keyword is hope.
That to me sounds like you'd be in for the full 30 years. What if something happens to you or your husband? Would one of you be able to continue paying? What if the housing market still/again sucks when you are wanting to downsize after buying a bigger home and your stuck with it?

I don't think it's worth risking your retirement right now. Maybe just help/encourage your oldest DD to find a place of her own!


megmc
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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:06:13 PM
How much more is the new home?

If I could get $100,000 free and clear out of my current home, and put that money on the principle of the new home with a 15 year mortgage with the ability to pay extra on the principle. I would do it.

petesmom
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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:06:37 PM
We're upsizing, at 52 and 56. Way upsizing - like from 2,900 to 5,800 SF. We're finally building the dream house with all the bells and whistles and will finally have room for all the kids to come home with their own families as well as host all the extended family events. We have two kids left at home of the four - these two will be in and out for the next few years because of college breaks.

We've planned for this all along, our mortgage won't change and we'll be debt free at the same time so it won't interfere with retirement. Every situation is different - but for us this has been what we've been waiting for.

o-pea-one
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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:12:23 PM
I don't know, the enticement of knowing that you are done paying in 5 years is a big one. And I would hope that the oldest would be gone by then. If they plan on staying, you should charge rent if you upgrade to a bigger place. Have them help pay the mortgage on the new one. After all in the end, they will either own it or have to sell it.

Do take into account growing older like someone said. We are getting ready to build our forever home. I am 37, my husband is 42. I also have bad knees. We are planning our floor plan an extras around the possibility of a wheel chair and other physical limitations.


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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:20:03 PM
You could add on and not worry about getting your money out of it dice it will be your final home- assuming that the add on is less than your new mortgage would be


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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:22:26 PM
I wouldn't do it. After all, you've been through the last 24 years with three small children and they'll be gone within the next few years. Our home is a little over 1600 sq ft and I don't consider that small. We have three bedrooms and had two kids. We've been here since '72. At this stage in my life, I wouldn't want to clean a large house or start over with a new mortgage at this age.



Mallie
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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:22:46 PM
I don't think you should incur debt to facilitate your kids staying at home.

Or else, I'd start charging them rent to cover the cost of the new mortgage.

identicaltriplets
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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:24:27 PM

Every situation is different - but for us this has been what we've been waiting for.


Totally agree. If your situation is one in which you can do that, go for it! My parents built their 4,300 sq. ft. home in their early 60s. We just purchased our 5,200 sq. ft. home last year (hubby is 50; I'm 48). We had paid off the mortgage on our last home, put that $$ down on this one, and only have a "small" 15 year mortgage now. Fifty is young; go for it if your situation allows it!


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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:38:55 PM
I would not do a 30 year mortgage.

If you need to go bigger, I would not go all out bigger. Just what you need and what you can get by on, because as you said, you will probably have to downsize at some time.

I work as a caregiver for seniors in their own homes. While my pay is not the greatest, the cost for having me in your own home is. Most of my clients are in their late 80s, early 90s. People are living longer these days.

So, while you may "want" to move now, you really need to consider your future.

If you can, maybe look at a property with a home that has enough land, that one day, your children can take over the main home, and either add an addition for mom or day or be able to put down a small home or one of the current new mobile homes.

My mom lives with me in addition built onto our home. She has her own entrance and privacy.

Ouiser
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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:46:53 PM
I wouldn't but that is just me. I have this thing about having mortgages. This is our third house in 37 years and the 3rd one that is completely paid for. We are trying to downsize and get closer to our kids for 2 reasons. We can help them now and when we need the help - they will be close by. I told DH no matter what we end up buying - it has to be paid for with the proceeds of our current home when it is sold. At retirement I do not want a mortgage payment.


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CarrieGail
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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:48:10 PM
My sister and brother-in-law bought a larger home when their 3 sons were all out of thr house. They said it was the best decision they ever made. They now have lots of room for big family functions.

moveablefeast
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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:56:29 PM
I wouldn't - not at 50, on a 30 year loan, thinking I "might" put more money towards it, and making payments until I'm 80. I would find a way to make it work until the kids fly the nest. You've done it all these years, there's no reason to think you HAVE to move now. Then once they move out, use some of the money you might have spent on a bigger house to do some updates that make the house a delight to live in.

The most I would consider would be a lateral move to a house with a better layout that you can use better.

Just imagine not having a mortgage anymore!

But I am pretty frugal about such things and so we are staying in a small townhouse that is also a little too small for our purposes because I am way too stingy to shell out for a bigger house when we have other things on our financial agenda - saving for retirement, helping my parents, saving for college. The idea of being mortgage free in 7 years is what keeps me here, not upsizing even though we "could".

Tuva42
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Posted: 7/26/2013 2:58:36 PM
Actually, 30 year mortgages are NOT a bad idea for everyone right now, simply because the interest rates are so crazy low. You could most likely beat that interest rates with even modest investments.


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Posted: 7/26/2013 3:08:58 PM
I think I'd get a house that I could enjoy life with my grown children with. Real estate is usually a great investment. You can always downsize later.


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Posted: 7/26/2013 4:11:29 PM
I would hang in. Our house is 1900 sq feet and will be very comfortable when we're empty nesters. I would not want to take on a bigger house or incur more debt as we got older.


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Posted: 7/26/2013 4:31:58 PM
I wouldn't do it. My parents built their dream home and then my dad passed away unexpectedly a few years later. My mom was left alone in this huge house that has become a burden for her and my siblings. She really can't afford it now and the big house is expensive to heat, cool, maintain, etc. DH and I say it sucks the money and time out of my mom She now has very little income to enjoy her senior years. It all goes to the house.

Also, she was in great health when the house was built, but now it's been 10 years and she's had some issues. There are many things about the home that are not practical for her health challenges.

She has tried selling it, but there was little interest. The offers she got for it were serious low-balls.

DH and I made a pact that we will never do that. You just cannot predict the future. Maybe all your kids will move away with their families and that big house isn't used to entertain at holidays like you thought. Maybe you counted on it to sell in a crisis but the market tanks and you cannot.

I think I'd either stay or look for a comparable priced home that has a better floor plan for you to age in place and just trade house for house (no or very short term mortgage).

But that's just my opinion after seeing what my mom has been through.


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Posted: 7/26/2013 4:49:35 PM
I say you should do what you want as long as it works for your financial situation and future plans. Everybody's different.

In my situation, we have had larger homes and it's really just not my thing. We are downsizing to a home that feels like it will fit our needs from here on out. There are 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (and we are probably putting in a master bath to make 3 total), it's in the exact location we most wanted to relocate to, and the square footage, while almost half of what we're in now (1980 sf vs. 3600 sf or so) is still a pretty decent size.

I've had the experience of almost having the "empty nest" thing, and there's no way I need all of this space if it's just going to be the two of us, even with visits and family gatherings, etc. We should still have enough room for that in the new house, and there are enough projects at the new place to keep me busy for quite some time.

We also should be completely on target to have the new place paid off in 7-8 years, which fits in great with future planning. We actually are within 10K of paying cash for it from the proceeds from our current home, but we have a bunch of expensive projects we want to/need to do to it fairly quickly so we are holding back quite a bit of cash to do those.

But it sounds like your situation differs from ours. I'd give everything a lot of thought, including other options like choosing maybe a slightly larger house that suits you better for your next life stage (but not going crazy and getting the huge house), maybe one that is in a location you like better. Or looking into an addition to your current place as well. Maybe all you need is just one more room to make it completely functional for your future vision.

Good luck with whatever you decide!


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Posted: 7/26/2013 4:58:18 PM
You don't say where you live but I have been looking at homes all over the country on my realstate app and I'm shocked at how inexpensive homes are in other areas

Have you looked into what's available?
Can you purchase a home that needs a little TLC for what your will sell for?

Will your DD be working and contributing to household finances or helping in any way?

Have you considered the increased property taxes in a more expensive home?

My next door neighbor is a widow. She is alone in a huge home with a big yard. Her kids rarely visit and she has no Grandkids
She won't move due to the property taxes she would have to pay, even on a condo that cost 1/3 of what her home would sell for


The property tax increase is what keeps us from buying anything else
Even buying a home for the same price as what ours would sell for would increase our property taxes by $10,000-$20,000 per year depending in what area we move to.
That makes moving impossible for us.

Often times people don't think about the increased property tax when moving


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Posted: 7/26/2013 5:07:30 PM
If this is your dream, and you can afford it, I say do it. You can get a 10 or 15 year mortgage and the rates are great. My guess is that you will still be working in 10/15 years. You may choose something that has the space allocated differently than the house you have now. You may get something that has more accessible spaces that will work well as you get older or should have an injury. If you bought a newer home, it may be better insulated, have newer systems, appliances, roof, etc. In 10 years you don't want to look back and say that you missed out on an achievable dream.
I am close to your age and my husband and I moved 7 years ago to a much bigger house because we wanted a bigger dining room (all family gatherings are here) and a big scrapping studio for me. We also got a much bigger great room. Do we need the 5 bedrooms? No, but it is nice to have when people are in from out of town, etc.

Good luck with your decision!


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Posted: 7/26/2013 5:13:36 PM
We have 4 sets of parents due to divorce and 1/2 of them bought their dream homes after age 50. Dh's dad and his wife are buying theirs this year and they are mid 60's. Not what I would do but not my money or concern. I am big picture, love to be debt free (working on the house debt) and would focus on paying it off vs. moving up as long as I really liked my house and wanted to stay.

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Posted: 7/26/2013 5:23:14 PM
I wouldn't do it. Certainly not to accommodate a child who has graduated college and should be moving out on her own soon!!!

We moved into a larger house when my kids were 8&10 and we told them on moving day that as soon as they graduate high school, were going smaller! Two years left for my baby to graduate and I cannot wait to lower our household expenses! I love my children more than life itself but I do not plan to financially support them the rest of their lives. Unless I had money to burn, I'm not going into debt in my 50s to pay their housing (unless there are extenuating circumstances - like they are incapable of providing for themselves). I don't want to die and leave them with a mountain of debt either.

To the OP, I'd stay put. It might help the older kids to realize its time to get their own space!! If you're looking for a change of scenery, I'd stick to only what works for you and hubby. That 15 year old is on the way very soon!



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stace3
nothing to see here

PeaNut 60,064
January 2003
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Posted: 7/26/2013 5:23:40 PM
We will have our mortgage paid off in less than five years. I'm not comfortable with getting another mortgage for a primary residence. You may be though.


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Mary Kay Lady
I'm thinking . . .

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March 2008
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Posted: 7/26/2013 5:39:45 PM

Could you convert your garage to a bedroom? I live in Texas and it's common here. Some are even converted in such a way that they can be converted back to a garage when it's time to sell.



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PeaFixture

PeaNut 118,730
December 2003
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Posted: 7/26/2013 6:17:34 PM
Do it and be comfortable. Think of grandkids coming to visit at some point in the future.

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StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 49,444
September 2002
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Posted: 7/26/2013 6:18:19 PM
The only way I would even consider it is if I was going from an upstairs downstairs home to a home all on one floor. As I age I find the stairs really difficult. Otherwise I would be looking into adding an addition or converting the garage.


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lovetodigi
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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April 2006
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Posted: 7/26/2013 6:23:02 PM
I would only do it if you could mortgage the house for just 12 to15 years and at a lower interest rate than you currently have. A lot of things can change in 30 years, including the ability to work. That could affect your ability to make your mortgage payments. With your children at the ages they are now, they may be moving out in the next few years. Then the house is not going to seem near as big and you will be glad that it is paid off in five years. You could always add a room and that would cost much less.








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StuckOnPeas

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October 2007
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Posted: 7/26/2013 7:17:50 PM
My inlaws built a bigger home in their 50's. It was not a good idea. Yes, kids are back in the house. They will leave. It's a hard time right now but you're taking on 25 years of additional debt for their convenience.

Just a fwiw, upgrading before retirement has been a huge burden and stressor on the family. Parents struggle to pay for the upkeep and the grown kids are worried about the debt and hassle of selling if something happens. I wouldnt' go bigger now.

guzismom
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 31,617
March 2002
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Posted: 7/26/2013 7:26:33 PM

I would only do it if it could be a 15 year mortgage or less.


We did not buy a bigger home but rather our "dream home" and this is what we did. Our retirement plan requires our home be paid in full so a 15 year mortgage, which we intend to pay off in 10, is part of that plan. Also, we relocated; so we either NEEDED to buy a house or plan to rent for the rest of our lives since we had sold our house to move from the east coast to the desert southwest for my husband's job.

I would not upsize to provide housing for my adult children and put my retirement plans at risk or on hold.


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KatieBPea
AncestralPea

PeaNut 30,940
February 2002
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Posted: 7/26/2013 7:32:40 PM
Not in your situation (our 1800 sq "starter home" will be our forever home), but if you can manage it financially, I would then consider your motives.

I would be more likely to go for it if it was something you and your husband want for yourselves, as opposed to being for the kids. This is coming from someone whose siblings lived at home after graduation.






SDeven
Love Letters Pea

PeaNut 65,852
January 2003
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Posted: 7/26/2013 7:34:07 PM
I'd be kicking some eaglets out o the nest.

Dh and I plan to buy a beach cottage in NC at 50. That's our dream. Our first will be paid for. The cottage will be paid for on a 10 year mortgage.

The sons have been warned...fly and be free.






LisaEDesign
PeaAddict

PeaNut 439,654
September 2009
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Posted: 7/26/2013 7:42:03 PM
I definitely wouldn't move. It seems to send a message to your kids that they have a home with you forever and you will do whatever it takes to keep a roof (a bigger roof) over their heads even when they graduate from college. It is a tough job market right now, but buying a bigger house so the they have more room doesn't encourage them to move out on their own.

You have raised or nearly raised your kids. Financially, it is time to put you and your husband's needs first.


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PeaFixture

PeaNut 46,619
August 2002
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Posted: 7/26/2013 7:48:56 PM
My mother upsized in her 60's, then realized the extreme financial burden of living on a large lot that needed upkeep, multiple bedrooms that were rarely used, etc. We LOVED her house for visits but with teenages and all their activities, we couldn't visit enough to make it worthwhile. Also, many of her friends started to have health issues and I think she realized that she might not be able to care for such a big house forever. She lost money selling it but bought a place that is an appropriate size for one person and occasional guests. It was a huge relief for her and for me!

Ashjoy
BucketHead

PeaNut 402,475
December 2008
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Posted: 7/26/2013 8:27:23 PM
I would not do it. Things can change to quickly. I would consider adding on, build your dream master suite and save money towards living the good life sooner rather then later. Your girls survived this long together, they can last a little while longer until you are sure of your decision.


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BucketHead

PeaNut 563,786
August 2012
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Posted: 7/26/2013 8:47:26 PM
No way would I do it. First, your house is ALMOST PAID OFF. Second, your kids won't be with you much longer.

Think about in the upcoming years what might happen, possible job lay off, unexpected medical bill, etc. It's just not worth it, to me.
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