How much is moving worth?

By Stew

I have mentioned once or twice that we would like to find a place to rent that comes with lower rent than our current location.

Late last week, Mrs. Stew found a rental that had just come open on Craigslist and called to find out more details. A few days later, we drove over to see the place. It was not terrible, some things we liked, some things we did not like. Let me lay out the pros and cons to see what you think:

Good things about our current place:

More space: The finished square footage between our current duplex and the possible new location is about the same, however, our current place has an unfinished basement that is suitable for the kids to play and even sleep. This is a big advantage.

Garage: We do not park in the garage because it is difficult to open the car doors in it, but it is a great place to store camping equipment, the kids bikes, the grill, etc.

Appliances: The rental comes with a washer and dryer.

Neighbors: We really could not ask for a better set of neighbors on all sides. They look out for our children and we have pleasant conversations. There has been almost no friction in over two years of living here.

Bad things about our current place:

Rent: It is too high.

Fence: The yard is quite large, but there is no fence around it. Our six and seven-year olds are fine, but the three year old really cannot be outside without a parent. It is just too easy to wander off.

Carpeting: The carpets in our current place were not replaced when we moved in. They are badly stained and we still catch whiffs of cat odor from time to time, especially when the house is closed up for a day or two.

Good things about the new place:

Rent: We could save around $200 a month, plus there are opportunities to further reduce the rent if I help with snow shoveling or other odd jobs. This is really a lot of money each month.

Cleanliness:  The new place has brand new carpeting and has a fresh coat of paint.

Location: There is a park across the street and an elementary school about a block away.

Bad things about the new place:

Timing: Can we really pull a move together during my busiest time of year and before September 1st?!

Garage: There is no garage, only open, off-street parking. No place for my scooter and no place for the kids bikes, etc.

Neighbors: I think we would get along with the new neighbors would be fine, but the neighborhood is not quite as nice . . .

Space: The new place simply has less space. The number of rooms is about the same, but without our current large, unfinished basement (that we like alot), there simply will not be the same amount of room. We will have to rid ourselves of a lot of stuff or rent a storage space. The yard is also much, much smaller, although there is a fence.

Appliances: We will need to purchase a new washer and dryer. I think we should be able to get a decent pair on Craigslist for under $500.

I guess it really gets down to the value of $200 a month. Is it worth leaving our good neighbors, our big yard and our garage? What do you think?

Article by Stew

Photo by tachyondecay


16 Responses (including trackbacks) to “How much is moving worth?”

  1. Christina Says:

    We just made a move 2 weeks ago from our too-small, cigarette-smoke infested apartment to a larger, cleaner house with a yard. Unfortunately, it cost $200 MORE (and doesn’t include heat & hot water as our last apartment did) but we are so much happier here. From what it sounds like to me, you aren’t miserable at your current place. Have you prayed about it? I would say wait it out, I am sure something else will come up in your price range that doesn’t have so many cons. (From experience: not having storage space such as a garage, basement, etc. ends up being a huge issue when you have a family!)

  2. Brian Says:

    It sounds like a portion of the $200 saved might go towards a storage unit rental. With that considered the $200 might be closer to $100. If I was only saving $100 per month to downgrade in all aspects I think I would just remain in my current residence.

  3. Christina Says:

    I also have to say – having good neighbors is a BIG plus. We bought a home in a neighborhood that wasn’t so great. We had a few good neighbors but the rest were awful. Remember too that not only will you have to purchase a washer/dryer, but the costs of moving must be factored in. You will be spending more up-front for a place you aren’t 100% happy with.

  4. Liane Says:

    It sounds as though you really enjoy the amount of space that you have now. And, having three children, you really need that extra space – downstairs and outside – especially when they begin having friends over to play or having sleep-overs. I don’t think that the $200 is really worth the aggravation of having on-street parking, a smaller yard, and less space. But I’m with Christina – pray about it!

  5. Sheila Says:

    I don’t think the pros of the new place make it worth it yet. I would keep looking at this point.

  6. Stew Says:

    hmmmm . . . good thoughts. I still have not made up my mind, we are going to look at the place again this evening and make our final decision . . .

  7. kim Says:

    $200 per month isn’t that much considering that you are looking at purchasing appliances and possibly a storage unit. Is there anything you can do to increase your income by that much per month and remain in your current place? My kids get squirrely in the winter and I’m thankful for our basement. I place a high value on parental sanity.

  8. Brian Says:

    Call the utility companies for the new place and get minimum and maximum usage for the past year or two and compare to your current usage. $200 isn’t much of a difference in price and if the new place is less energy efficient that $200 can be eaten up very fast with increased utility costs.

  9. Janelle Says:

    What about the utlities? You have to consider that. If they are about the same, I would stay. $200 isn’t much to bring in and stay in your happy home. A temporary fence would be an option for your youngest, if its really a big inconvenience to not have one in your current location. You can negotiate new carpeting with your landlord as well. If you were talking $500 a month, I’d say move. But this isn’t sounding like a great deal, especially when you love your neighbors and the area you are in.

  10. Carly Says:

    STAY !! The new place is a whole lotta hassle for just $200 savings. And who wants to leave a 3-yr-old outside unattended anyway? Sounds like your biggest, biggest CON for your current place is the CARPETING. For the cost of moving and at least $500 toward washer/dryer, just replace the worst of carpeting yourself!

    You know you’re answering your own question in the last line of your Article, don’t you ?!

  11. dramon Says:

    you might consider renting a rug doctor for the carpeting, I have had good luck with it and oxiclean. Also, consider in the cost of moving ( renting a truck, feeding friends) etc. The act of moving is generally really not free ( espcially if you have three kids worth of stuff

  12. Gina Says:

    And I’m w/Christina and stay put/keep looking – old place has storage space, good neighbors, “play/sleep” basement area. If you are shoveling snow you will need an inside area for the kids to play in for the winter (remember Mrs Stew’s daily sanity is important).

    Can you ask the current landlord to offset your rent by doing the same things you mention (“snow shoveling or other odd jobs”)? Would they let you paint the old place or put in new carpet/hardwood floors – for a discount in rent, even if it is for just a month or 2?

  13. Jane Sanders Says:

    Thanks for the interesting breakdown. I always try to make comparisons like this when picking a new place to live, but in the end I think it often comes down to gut feeling. You’d also need to factor in what % of your rent is $200 and if there might be other expenses that come along with the new place. As great as saving that money would be, I always find it psychologically hard to downgrade my living arrangements.

  14. Wendy Says:

    I think that it’ll cost you much more than the $200 you’ll save in a smaller house. I know it’s important that Mrs. Stew save money on recreational things withthekids,but withthe lack of storage/ basement, I’m sure she’ll spend a but in keeping sane in the winter. I agree- see if the current landlord will give you an aloowance for a new carpet… I think you DID answer your won question at the end, but pray about it.

  15. kseahag Says:

    I know this is a finance blog however money isn’t everything. I have two grown kids but I always loved watching them play in our large big backyard, able to build forts and have a game of Manhunt. Plus we had room to have a garden (helps with the food bill). We were fortunate to have good neighbors as well. A big house is nice to move around in and have a place to put your things (storage). I’d stay where you’re at, $200 is a small price to pay for happiness EVERY day.

  16. David Tomlin Says:

    It all depends on a lot of factors. What do you truly give up when you move? Will you be satisfied with your decision 6 months in retrospect?

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