Why I'm On My Third Forever Home

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You may think you've found a permanent place, but it can be really hard to predict your future needs.

Buying a forever home always seemed like a great idea to me. I grew up in the same house from the time that I was two until I moved out on my own. I liked that stability of always having the same home base. As such, I planned to try and stay put after I bought my own house.

Shortly after my husband and I got married, we started shopping around for the perfect place to call our own. We spent a long time looking for a home that met our requirements. Then, we got a mortgage to pay for it and settled in, assuming we'd stay there for good.

That was two homes ago.

My experience just goes to show that it can be hard to predict what you'll need in a house for the foreseeable future. It also shows why planning for a "forever" home may not be the best option for prospective buyers heading out into the real estate market.

My first two "forever" homes didn't work out for a few different reasons

Our first "forever" home was the ideal property for us with a great view and the perfect layout.

What we didn't love -- and couldn't have anticipated -- was horrible neighbors. They ran loud equipment for endless hours but complained whenever my dogs barked. We had repeated encounters with them. Finally, we decided life was too short and decided to find a new place. Thus ended our first "forever" home.

The second time around, we really wanted to get it right. So we found a house with an even better view and a more perfect layout. This time, we were sure our home would be a forever home, and we'd be happy to stay there for the long term.

Then, my son entered the world, and suddenly the layout wasn't so perfect. The small size of the secondary bedrooms, the absence of a playroom, the dangerous narrow staircase, and the lack of an eat-in kitchen became big problems. This, combined with the fact that we decided we wanted to be closer to the entertainment options in Orlando, prompted the sale of our second "forever" home.

Our third "forever," home is now being constructed. But while we're hoping that this one will be our final destination, I've learned over the first two moves that it's almost impossible to predict what will happen once you move into a house or how your life will change a few years down the line.

So, rather than focusing on a "forever" home, I think it's better to look at the fundamentals. That means thinking about whether the house meets your needs now and over the next few years. That's because it's usually a bad idea to sell unless you've owned the property for at least two to five years.

Some other things I've learned include the importance of paying attention to whether the house is likely to be one that you can resell if needed and not to justify going over budget just because you expect to stay forever. And if possible, avoid very costly personalized upgrades that would make a home harder to sell if it turns out that "forever" isn't quite as long as you thought it would be.

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