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Is It Time to Sell My House?

What was once a fantastic family house is now a money suck. What should I do?

Should we sell our house?

At first it seemed like a ridiculous notion: we live in a great neighborhood, near good public schools and with beautiful Lime Ridge hiking trails a mere block away.

We have a big yard, a swimming pool and a remodeled kitchen.

We have a wonderful in-law unit that my 83-year-old mom uses during her monthly, weeklong visits. We have fantastic neighbors and a swim club within walking distance.

The problem is what we don’t have: as many kids around the house as we used to have. We also don’t have the desire to keep pumping money into a large place when we’d rather be doing something else.

It’s a common downsizing issue, but for my husband and I we didn’t think we’d be dealing with it quite so soon. Our daughter just left for college last fall, and her two little brothers are still in middle and high school.

But our home has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a living room that no on ever uses, a dining room that we dust off once a month or so, and big mortgage and utility payments.

It’s becoming a lodestone, and we are considering what would have been unthinkable just two years ago: selling and moving to something smaller.

But is it the right time? Will we get a decent price for it? We didn't buy at the height of the market, but neither did we buy in the valley, either. Do we want to rent our next place, or buy? My husband is starting his own business, and we may end up having to leave the Bay Area. Should we wait until we know for sure? Or should we get out now and start saving? And what about tax implications? And will selling our house and renting hurt my daughter’s—and by 2012, my son’s—college financial aid awards?

These are just some of the questions that keep me up at night. But I may be able to get some answers.

Each week, Concord Patch will feature “House Hunt,” a look at homes for sale in the area. We will also offer a quick Q&A with local real estate writer Julie Clairmont.

I’m sure I’m not the only one with questions about local real estate—whether you’re buying, selling or just looking.

And you know what they say in the biz: It’s all about location, and Concord Patch is the spot you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Jim Harroun February 03, 2011 at 08:45 PM
You don't say in your article, but what I'd like to hear about is "Should I walk away from my "underwater" house?" I'd like to know what the legal and financial ramifications are if you stop making mortgage payments but keep up on all your other bills.
Peggy Spear February 03, 2011 at 09:35 PM
Great question Jim. I'll see if Julie has any thoughts. Maybe she can address it in her column next week.

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