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The top reasons why people sell and move

By Cameron Smits

Australian owners sell and move, on average, every five to seven years. Why do homeowners move? People who have lived in the same home for the past 30 years may have a hard time understanding this. They are shocked that people move so often, but I know one thing for certain: Their day to sell and move will come as well.

Here are the top reasons why people sell and move:

  • 1) Property is too small. First-time home buyers often outgrow their “first” homes. Increased family size is the main reason homeowners say they need a larger home.
  • 2) Upgrade. The grass is greener on the other side. People often want what they don’t have and long for a bigger, more expensive and grander, upscale home. It’s the Australian way.
  • 3) Fix purchase errorOwners might believe they made a mistake when purchasing their present home and want to rectify that mistake. Maybe they thought they could get by without a backyard but yearn to garden, or the dining room in the centre of the house annoys them.
  • 4) Job transfer. Relocation makes it necessary for many to pull up roots and move. If the commuting distance exceeds an hour, most people would prefer not to spend two hours travelling every day.
  • 5) Personal Relationships. Moving in with a partner or getting married can mean one of the parties will need to sell, especially if both owned homes prior to the commitment. On the other hand, break-ups cause owners to sell as well for three basic reasons:
  1. One party may need to buy out the other and not have the cash available.
  2. The home may not be affordable to sustain on one person’s income.
  3. The home holds bad memories, making a fresh start desirable.
  • 6) Neighbourhood changes. The neighbourhood might have changed for the worse, economically, socially or physically. For example, maybe something was constructed nearby. Maybe the next-door neighbours receive visitors who arrive regularly at 2 AM and cause a noise disturbance.
  • 7) Empty nest. The kids have grown up and moved out. The owners want a smaller home. The older you get, the harder it is to keep a big house clean and the garden maintained. Downsizing a home is very popular among retirees.
  • 8) See family more often. Some people want to be closer to their family as they age and will move to be near relatives. Parents want to be near children. Grandparents, near their children and grandchildren.
  • 9) See family less often. To put more distance between the homeowners and relatives. Some might move out of state to keep a distance from the family. Dysfunctional and fractured families have been known to blossom being separated.
  • 10) Retirement. Active-adult communities are attracting many buyers over the age of 55. These planned communities have golf courses, clubhouses, workout facilities, weekend social gatherings, back-yard barbecue parties and more, all designed for people over 55.
  • 11) Health problems. Physical issues such as knee or back problems make it difficult for an aging population to climb stairs in a two-story home, so a one-story home may be more practical. A trade-off solution for many elderly people who don’t require round-the-clock care is to buy an apartment or unit or move into assisted living housing.
  • 12) Deferred maintenance. Some people don’t want to put on a new roof, replace the stumping or heating & cooling, so it’s easier to buy a newer home. When you figure the life of most home systems is about 15 years, it could make sense to get out before everything goes haywire.
  • 13) Home improvement perfection. A small amount of people enjoy fixing up and selling, spending time, money and effort on renovating, and once the work is completed, these people become restless because there is nothing left to do. Some of you may call these people obsessed, but for some, it’s a way to maintain balance while mastering a hobby.
  • 14) Cash in equity. Some homeowners can’t stand the fact their home is worth all that money because that money is not in their pocket. These people would prefer to stare at their bank balance than stare at four walls with empty pockets. They. Just. Want. The. Money.
  • 15) Lifestyle change. Others are simply tired of owning a home and would prefer to travel, pursue a hobby or be less responsible. So, for these people, home ownership loses priority and turns into the ticket for chasing their dreams.
  • 16) Death in the Family. In times of slower real estate markets, I’ve had as much as half of my business made up of probate or trust sales. It is very common for homeowners to transfer a property into a trust, for example, to avoid probate proceedings. This allows the successor trustee to sell the property without court approval.
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