Do You Feel Stuck in Your House?

by hookedonhouses on January 21, 2010

For Sale Signs 2

If you feel stuck in your house–not because you can’t fit through the front door, but because you want to move and can’t– raise your hand. Look around. You’re not the only one with your hand in the air.

Six years ago when we built our house, our subdivision was hopping. Houses went on the market and sold the next day close to asking price. There was a builder’s home show in our neighborhood that drove interest in houses here even higher. We thought we were making a great investment by moving here. After 5-10 years, it should be worth a lot more than we paid for it, and then we could afford to buy our dream home, right?

*Bonnnk!* Wrong answer.

Fast-forward to 2010. Now houses in our ‘hood can languish on the market for a year, two years. Some sit empty for months after foreclosure. The prices get lowered and then lowered some more until it seems like they’re giving the houses away.

purple angel house exterior

This house has been on the market since I told you about it in early 2008. It was $316,000 then and has been reduced to $259,000. Despite their efforts at staging that I showed you here, it still hasn’t sold.

I like my house. But it’s hard not to feel kind of trapped, knowing we probably couldn’t sell and move even if we wanted to. Not easily, anyway, or without losing money on the deal.

A friend of mine found a house he wanted to buy in the country, so he had a real estate agent come to his house to tell him what his house is worth. He put a lot of work into it over the last few years and it looks beautiful. The agent told him they’d ask $60,000 less than he paid for it a few years ago, “And we’ll probably have to go down from there.” His professional advice? “Stay put until the market turns around, and then maybe you can break even.” Not what a homeowner wants to hear.

Of course, the market isn’t the only reason you might feel stuck where you are. Maybe you have to stay there for financial reasons, job reasons, or family reasons. What’s your reason for not making the move you want? And how are you coping with your situation?

P.S. Feeling stuck in our house is what inspired this post last year: 10 Ways to Be Happy at Home. Your responses inspired another one: 20 More Ways to Be Happy at Home.

Want to update the house you’ve got? CalFinder has a great photo gallery of remodeled rooms if you need some inspiration!

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Christi at A Southern Life January 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

Yes, there are a lot of people in that situation. Even sadder are the people who lost jobs and couldn’t keep up the payments and went into foreclosure. The market will eventually turn around.
.-= Christi at A Southern Life´s last blog ..Southern Table =-.

black eyed susans kitchen January 21, 2010 at 10:01 am

Sometimes a situation like the questionable housing market can be a blessing in disguise. We were just about ready to sell a few years ago, when the market fell apart. We were thinking of downsizing because our youngest was in high school, middle child in college and oldest finished with college and now on her own. We did not feel that we needed the 5 bedrooms any more. Although we would have made some money on the house, it would not have been enough to buy something else and finance one more college education. In the end we have been enjoying living here, and are just going to stay put for a bit longer. It was a stress release for us to not deal with the showing of the house and putting everything away, and our son is happy with his decision to go to a local college. We are enjoying our “lemonade”
.-= black eyed susans kitchen´s last blog ..EATING IN THE KITCHEN…ROMANTIC =-.

Janet January 21, 2010 at 10:07 am

Family and work keeps us here.

My mother doesn’t drive anymore so I shop and get her where she needs to go, she lives close by.
It’s commuter friendly to LA, well it’s an okay commute for being in the suburbs.
The desert (Palm Springs), the Pacific ocean and mountain resorts are all within 45 min to an hours drive. So, like everyone in So Cal, we drive if we need a change of scenery.

Stuck? We bought 13 years ago so we still have a little equity left, but we will move one day, somewhere with less people…;)
.-= Janet´s last blog ..15-5519 =-.

Laurie @ My Domicile Style January 21, 2010 at 10:10 am

I know our traditional style house is not what we want. Of course, here in N. Dallas, traditional is king! Or, you get an older ranch, then have to make major changes to bathrooms, foundation, etc. I do love that low-slung look, but am not sure that I am ready to shell out major money to make the house fit our needs. We really want to build, but do we want to stay in the suburbs, in the Metroplex, etc. YIKES!! What I do now is simply try to add to this house, to make it the most liveable and enjoyable place for the time being.

Post for today:

Jamie January 21, 2010 at 10:10 am

The first paragraph you wrote could have been written by me. I completely feel stuck in our house. To make things worse, I am a certifiable real estate stalker. I keep finding houses that are great deals, in great neighborhoods or both. I feel lucky to have the house we have with a reasonable mortgage that can be paid in spite of the downturn of my interior design income, but still can’t wait until we can move on.
.-= Jamie´s last blog ..Random Loveliness =-.

Alicia January 21, 2010 at 10:11 am

We live in the Bay Area, and while we didn’t pay “too much” for our home, after three years it hasn’t gone up in value at all. We’re not in a terrific school district, so now we’re looking into private school (an expense we didn’t count on). We’d leave the Bay Area in a heartbeat if we didn’t grow up here and have family here. Its hard to feel stuck in an area that’s really too expensive for us, and will keep us always running to catch up. The alternative is to move our kids away from their relatives though! So, its a tough decision.

Karin Dalziel January 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

We bought another house before we sold the other one, and lo and behold- the old one didn’t sell. Right now it is rented on a short term lease- we will put it back on the market in March, and if it doesn’t sell over the summer, we will rent it long term. We did the math before we bought – house prices here are so cheap that *both* house payments make up 22% of our gross income. I’m hoping the house will sell because I’m not super keep on being a landlord, but if it doesn’t, it’s in a great rental location.

I go back and forth about whether buying another house was a good decision. Financially, it probably wasn’t the best I could make- but I am so much happier in the new house. It’s not bigger, it just fits us better.

linda@LimeintheCoconut January 21, 2010 at 10:33 am

Bought this 6 casa 6 years ago too…and Florida has tanked more than many places…or it was overinflated more.

I do sometimes wonder how long it’ll be before the market starts to move up?

We’re here for the time being….but ready to fly.
.-= linda@LimeintheCoconut´s last blog ..If I won the lottery… =-.

Janell Beals January 21, 2010 at 10:33 am

I was on the verge of feeling this way. We had wanted to move to our current neighborhood for quite some time, and finally decided the timing was right. We put our previous home on the market and got three offers, then the offer we selected fell through. After losing nearly a month pf market time it went back on the market and luckily we got another offer in the nick of time. We broke even and that was our goal. After our sale nothing else moved in the neighorhood for nearly a year. If we tried to sell now we would lose money, so would have to stay there for years longer. Nothing was wrong with that house, it was the neighborhood. No sense of community, while the hood we are in is home. So that is why I feel so fortunate!!
.-= Janell Beals´s last blog ..Making Pillows & A Giveaway Winner! =-.

Cori Heffernan January 21, 2010 at 10:33 am

I have 4 kids and you really always want more room. Our house is fine 4 bedrooms 2 1/2 baths but it was built in the 50s so it’s old without being charming (post it note yellow formica kitchen, pepto pink bathroom ect..) My husband said to me the other night “can’t you get hooked on our house?” I think I need to go paint now.

Sarah January 21, 2010 at 10:34 am

I’m a Realtor and it’s straining to have to tell clients that exact thing day after day! It’s heartbreaking really. We would love to move south from the midwest but . . . who wants my little old house in the middle of Nebraska!
.-= Sarah´s last blog ..Be Careful What You Wish for . . . . . Ideas? =-.

Jennifer January 21, 2010 at 10:44 am

I am staying put. I would love to move someday but, my house is paid in full and I love that. But also we didn’t make great financial decisions early on that we are paying for now. My new year’s resolution is to make my current house the place I would want to move to.

Kim January 21, 2010 at 10:45 am

Last January, we were *this close* to breaking ground on building our new home, which we had spent the past year planning. We only needed to make a few last tweaks to the plans and meet with the builder one last time, when the bottom fell out of our business. As disappointed as I was to give up that dream, I’m thankful that God’s timing was perfect and we hadn’t started building yet. Now I’m torn between trying to love the house we are in (a great house, but what I would give for bigger closets!), and still longing for the home we were going to build.

Sara @ Russet Street Reno January 21, 2010 at 10:52 am

We don’t really feel stuck in our home. We purchased our house way under the appraised value and have made smart improvements, so I know we would never lose money on the sale. We’ve had an appraiser tell us that even if we sold now, we could make a tidy profit. But, we are staying put because we’ve worked too hard to leave now, and with all our unused bedrooms, we should at least have a couple kids to make them worthwhile! haha

Seriously, I do feel the pain of all those hard-working people that put their heart and soul into their homes, and now are stuck because of reasons not in their control. What a horrible thing.
.-= Sara @ Russet Street Reno´s last blog ..How to install a dimmer =-.

Sandy January 21, 2010 at 10:55 am

Fortunately for whatever reason I live in a better area for re-sale value. Within the last couple months we have had three houses in our subdivision sell for excellent value – one within one week and the other two within one day. We have an excellent school system here and the yards are large (one acre give or take). I just heard another home in our subdivision is going up for sale. Many of my neighbors felt the realtor for the first three homes was low balling the homes to get a quick sale but I thought the selling prices were very good considering the housing market as a whole. The house going for sale now (with a different realtor) slightly raised their asking price so it will be interesting to see if it sells as quickly.

Teacup Lane (Sandy)
.-= Sandy´s last blog ..Flower Power! =-.

Shannon January 21, 2010 at 11:00 am

I am so glad to see you post this. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. We have a neighbor who recently listed her house 30K less then we paid for our house 2 years ago. Although we know the market is rough, and that we have lost money, it is never easy to see it first hand like that. I started looking around at a more desirable area (at least it is to me) and realized that the prices have dropped so much that we could now afford to live there. When we bought two years ago we couldn’t afford that area which is why we settled on our current location. It makes me so sick to see this.. however, I have told myself that I might as well make my house the best it can be since I will be stuck here for eternity. :-) Thanks for posting this!
.-= Shannon´s last blog ..Buttons To Butterflies.. =-.

desiree January 21, 2010 at 11:02 am

I feel like I’m here for awhile. I’ve got 2 in high school and can’t move until they finish–just can’t bring myself to disrupt that when they’re doing so well. Also, my oldest (a homebody) recently told me I can never move because he loves our home so much and any other place would never feel like home. Now over-all I’m happy he feels that way. Maybe I’ve done something right??? But sometimes I dream of a little cottage by the beach. One that stays clean!
.-= desiree´s last blog ..Get Lost in Brick Monkey =-.

Shannon January 21, 2010 at 11:04 am

Also, where can you find such a beautiful house (like the one above) for $259K?
.-= Shannon´s last blog ..Buttons To Butterflies.. =-.

Janet @ I Drink at Restaurants January 21, 2010 at 11:33 am

I married my house a few years ago. Thankfully, we have an amazing location. Still, with any changes, we have to factor whether we’ll ever see our money back against how we want to live.

Some of the compromises have been acceptable- I created a dining area in the living room that can accomodate four-six people. Anything larger requires restaurant reservations, which is limiting but not the end of the world.

Some of the compromises have been lousy- let’s just say a woodworking area and laundry room should NEVER, EVER, EVER occupy the same space.

Oh, how I long for a formal dining room and a 2-car garage!
.-= Janet @ I Drink at Restaurants´s last blog ..I’m fond of the drink. =-.

Ann January 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I don’t feel quite the same way. So much of the recent real estate bubble was a result of this idea that you buy a house, flip it in 2-3 years and keep repeating.

My parents still live in the house they bought in 1972 and raised 7 kids in. Old, rambling, poor heating and plumbing, no A/C, etc. Is it a “dream house”? No, but it was a house filled with family and food and noise and love and all 22 of us sat down together for Christmas dinner a few weeks ago and didn’t mind the squeeze or lack of perfection in any way.

My husband and I bought our first house in 1987 – a brand-new townhouse that we thought was amazing and still look back on with fondness. We tried to sell it when I was pregnant with our second child – in 1991 (a nasty recession that seems to have been completely forgotten) but gave up when it was too hard to show with a 2 y/o and a newborn. So we stayed for another 3 years – a little cramped but happy and sold it in 1994 for a little less than we had paid for it.

We then bought our current house – 4 bedrooms, attached 2 car garage, central air, nice kitchen, 2 1/2 baths and less than a mile from where we already lived. We had been approved for about $30,000 more in a mortgage but did not buy above our heads and have never regretted it. I have spent lots of time painting, arranging furniture, making it our home. Is it perfect? No – the laundry room is way too small and awkward, I would love a separate formal dining room (LR/DR is one big room), a basement might be nice, etc. It is our home though and I could never feel “trapped” with my husband and kids.

I’ve always felt that it is more important to have a “home” than a “house”, no matter how perfect it may be.

Jackie W. January 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm

We’ve lived in 5 states & I’m thankful we never had to spend over 150,000 for a home.

My favorite color of car is a paid for car.

My favorite home is a paid off home.

Our home will be paid off in 2013.

We are in the process of remodeling.

Jenny January 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I love our house! We actually got a pretty good deal on it 5 years ago. It’s not huge and I would love to redo the kitchen and baths someday and maybe add a sunroom, but it’s perfect for our family of 3.

I do know that there are several houses that have been on the market for a long time around here.
.-= Jenny´s last blog ..stART: Care Bears Special Delivery =-.

Pat January 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm

We’ve been in our home for 3O years. I have never stopped looking for another home! My home is lacking many things…second bathroom, 1st floor laundry, a large lot, but at this point, unless heaven above dropped an enormous amount of money in my bank account I will stay put. If I’ve learned anything, its to be more content and thankful for what I do have. I’m very close in distance to my children and grandchildren which is even more important then a 1st floor laundry. Besides….there is so much “stuff” in this place after living her so long, I couldn’t stand the thought of going through it to move it!
.-= Pat´s last blog ..TODAY’S QUESTION =-.

Puna January 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Thank God we don’t have to move right now.

Jan January 21, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I’m truly HAPPY to be stuck where I am! Really!

In April, 2005, I moved to Michigan (which has taken a terrible economic “hit”) from Wisconsin. In June, 2005, Tom and I married…and we lived in his 30-something year-old house. After 5 months there, Tom, after much prayer, decided it would be best for us to have our OWN place…and that we should sell his house. When we put it up for SALE, there were 7 other homes in our little subdivision for sale also. Our sold in 2 months. Not of the others did…til long after we moved away.

We spent our money wisely…and had a Manufactured Home built for us and delivered to a pretty lot in a Home “Park”. We added an attached 2 1/2 car garage and several other things…and made many pre-construction changes to the floor plan. We sold EVERYTHING from Tom’s old house…and started out FRESH here when we moved in on March 5, 2006.

Between our lot rent and our brand-new 1700 square foot home mortgage…our monthly payments were less than what they were in Tom’s old house! Nicer, better laid-out house…bigger, too!! And paying LESS!!!

Many people thought we were CRAZY for buying a Manufactured home (including Tom’s sons and daughters – 1 of them was so far in debt, filed bankruptcy and let their home go to foreclosure)…but I think we were EXTREMELY SMART!! Tom is retirement age, but continues to work, cause he likes to!! But, the day will come that he’ll want to retire, I’m sure. AND…with making extra payments…and being frugal…our house is entirely PAID OFF…and we’ve only lived here 4 years!!!

Now…our lot rent is still less than JUST THE TAXES on Tom’s old house…which would have needed alot of minor and a few MAJOR repairs…plus it would have needed some MAJOR remodeling, too!!

This house is solidly built…and built well. It has a huge Master Bedroom, with en Suite Bathroom…and a large walk-in closet. It has the Kitchen of my Dreams…a separate Dining Room and Pantry, with laundry area. There is a large Guest Bathroom, a bedroom we converted into a Den…and a Bedroom with French Doors from the GIGANTIC LIVING ROOM…into our custom-designed office, with 2 built-in Desks – 1 for computer, with cabinets below and above…and the other with desktop and 6 drawers. We also have 2 book cases and a large closet.

I couldn’t be happier anywhere else……………………………………

well…unless it was our VERY OWN BED & BREAKFAST INN!!!!! LOL!!
.-= Jan´s last blog ..Join Me for This Home Tour in Lexington, Kentucky… =-.

the BLAH BLAH BLAHger January 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Dang, where do you live? I could sell my one bedroom condo and buy that sucker and live happily forever!!! : ) But then again, I’m stuck in my condo… Ha!
.-= the BLAH BLAH BLAHger´s last blog ..This Storm Ruined My Outdoor Curtains! =-.

MissCaron January 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I’m so GLAD to see all the positive responses out there. Tales of desperation are everywhere but it’s nice to know that some are making the best. My condo is now worth HALF of what I paid. I bought 4 years ago thinking that I’d have a better job, or a husband, or could flip it, etc. Typical uninformed buyer betrayed by Countrywide in a scam of an ARM loan based on an income I never had that someone entered in the system which when the adjustment came around and they realized I didn’t make what was entered my interest rate grew to something I cannot afford. I don’t want to go into foreclosure and if I short sale I don’t think any bank will approve since it’s such a difference between what is owed, however, I have no other options on my limited budget (WITH a roommate). I’ve just prayed and prayed and nothing is happening. So I’m asking y’all to pray for me. That something happens right away to make this better because I can’t take much more.
.-= MissCaron´s last blog ..yet again =-.

Jennevieve January 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I have to agree with Ann. I decided to move from Seattle to Tacoma and bought a pretty cheap house 6 years ago. Now we work on it a lot and it has transformed into a quirky artist house in a blue-collar neighborhood where people scratch their heads when they see us digging out the lawn for plants or focusing on composting or painting the front door fuchsia. My dad’s wife is a real estate agent and keeps pushing us to move up to a more “desirable” zip code in Tacoma but I really like a modest house that is comfortable and friendly and the wood floors are beat up and who cares?

It’s funny because some of our friends still live in Seattle and the prices are still high there and they are all chasing bigger and bigger houses and geez, would 600 more square feet (and $1500 more a month in mortgage) really make me happier? I am so so pleased that we kept the cheaper house with a mortgage costing less than the apartment I paid for in Seattle 7 years ago! We can afford vacations and dinners out and little upgrades and still put something in savings. I think in the last 8 years people went crazy trying to buy more than they could afford than what they really needed. Hopefully there will a silver lining in this recession and people will realize buying things you can’t afford is not what life is about!
.-= Jennevieve´s last blog ..If You’re Feeling Sad and Lonely….. =-.

Liz@VioletPosy January 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I’d so love to move, but with both of us being contractors no one will give us a mortgage at the moment. So we have to wait until we have permanent jobs again – which is so frustrating as we can afford it but can’t move.

Carrie Isaac January 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

It’s no fun for real estate agents, either! We live in Colorado Springs and my husband’s a Realtor here. It’s hard for an agent to have to tell a homeowner that they can’t sell their house for anything buy a loss. It’s hard to communicate to a homeowner who doesn’t realize what’s really happened in the real estate market that their home is worth less than they owe without making them feel bad about the investment they made.

We are happy in our home – in fact, very GRATEFUL that we have a roof over our heads even if it’s not perfect. There are so many people going through foreclosures or having to do short sales that I am thankful for what we have.

Jacki January 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm

When we moved to another city last year, I sold my house at a loss, thinking we would be able to buy another home in this down market. Due to our own personal economic “downturn”, I’m stuck in an apartment, wishing I were stuck in my old house.
.-= Jacki´s last blog ..Garage Sale Treasure and Tagged =-.

Why S? January 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm

After 7 years of fixing the fixer, I am finally happy with our home. I also feel confident that, unless something catastrophically disastrous happens, we would not lose money on the sale of our home thanks to 7 years of sweat equity. I also credit the fact that we live in a high density area of century old houses. It will be tough for supply to outstrip demand. That seems to be the biggest problem with new developments.

However, I also know that I will never be able to move to another house in the city because all property values will rise proportionately. Fortunately, our area continues to be the next trendy thing so I should be content here for a while. If we wanted to move out of the city, we’ll be quite comfortable. We could easily transition from our tiny bungalow into the massive home shown above. But unlike one of the previous commenters I have no desire to leave Los Angeles, not now, probably not ever.
.-= Why S?´s last blog ..Turns Out, We Live in a Mansion =-.

Charlene January 21, 2010 at 1:29 pm

We feel blessed and a little stuck…my hubby and I were both with different companies with good jobs, he was laid off last January, me in March. Thanks to Dave Ramsey’s show, we were well prepared for this unexpected bump in the road. For that I praise God! My husband started a good job in July…3 1/2 hours away in a different state. His mom lives nearby so he stays there, which is a help to her as a widow in a large home, and he comes home on his days off…some weeks he only has one or no days off so there have been some times we’ve had to go 2 weeks without seeing him. My son & I go visit up there some times too so we’re making it work. We’d be up there already, but we have a home here to sell. We haven’t listed it yet though. We wanted to make sure the new job is something we should move for – so far it is – it is a scary prospect to sell our home which has met our needs well enough and is so affordable and comfortable – to move to an area where we are not sure we can find something as nice and affordable. In other words, we’re moving slowly at moving…and won’t sell this place until we get the right offer. Thankfully our situation is manageable, a lot of people are in much worse situations, so I feel very blessed. I’m doubly blessed in that I’m staying home and getting to be a full time mom to our little boy, soon enough he’ll be in school and this time will pass so fast, and I am relishing every day during this transition time.

The blessings of this situation keep multipling: my sister, who is single & has owned her home in Orlando for 19 years, was laid off from her job of 28 years at Disney, last May. A very scary time for her but she was strong and full of faith and I’m so proud of her for holding it together through such uncertainty. She just accepted an offer for a fabulous job, just 25 miles from where we will be moving! We will live near each other & we could not be more excited about having our family close to her and she can be an “active aunt” to her only nephew. It truly has fallen into place so perfectly. Her home would sell for enough to break even we think, but she has decided to hang on to it and rent it if she can, for the time being, to see what happens over the next year or so. It is hard to let go completely of something that has been your shelter & base for so long, for the unknown. I just hope we can sell our home for a reasonable price this year (we’re listing it in March) and find something comparable up there. Excitement, blessings overflowing, and a little trepidation too, so for now, stuck is ok!
.-= Charlene´s last blog ..Christmas 2009 =-.

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage January 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Sadly, this is the case all over the country. I don’t feel stuck in mine, because I will live the rest of my life on that little piece of land where I grew up. But, I can see where others are feeling that slump.

BTW – I haven’t stopped by in a while and I LOVE your new bloggy look. It’s beautiful!
.-= Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage´s last blog ..Transformation Thursday: ticket to Paris =-.

Maya @ Completely Coastal January 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm

My husband and I are actually planning on selling our home this coming Spring! We bought it as a fixer upper and did all the work. And I cannot find a comparable in the area!!! Nothing has sold in the last year that is similar. Nothing has sold at all actually…, so we might end up staying if we’re not getting the amount we want, a very reasonable amount, may I add. So we’ll see.
.-= Maya @ Completely Coastal´s last blog ..A Few Famous Ships -From Magellan’s Victoria to Cousteau’s Calypso =-.

m January 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm

It seems that Cali, FL, NV & AZ have been the hardest hit with foreclosures; Cali was (and still is WAY overpriced!) FL, AZ & NV were home to so many “second homes” so, people just let them go like it was nothing. There are tracts in Cali that are entirely deserted, save for one home…there are others where someone bought at the top of the market for say $650, who can’t even refi since they are WAY upside down, and have someone’s buying the REO across the street for $200…bummer.
Oh, the stories I could tell. But one little phrase of advice, while you are waiting for your property value to increase…fyi, appraisals are STRICTLY regulated now, you will never get the value you think you should…Get your credit in order!!!! Your FICO must be WELL into the 700′s to even qualify. DON’T close accounts!!!! You don’t have to use an credit card just because you have it! But keep those accounts open! Closed accounts hurt your FICO. If you get one of those FREE credit reports, be sure it shows your FICOs from ALL THREE bureaus…they can vary, and you may be way off base if you’re only seeing one score!
It’s already improving, so be patient. (well, maybe not in Michigan…but that will never improve until your governor decides that she actually wants to bring jobs to your state instead of tax them out…much like our pathetic governator! ;)
Hang in!

m ^..^
.-= m´s last blog ..The Porcelain Princess… =-.

Deidra January 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm

It would be nice to downsize now that our kids are gone. But we’ve put our house on the market three times. No takers. Its value keeps going down and so I’ve decided this is the house I’m gonna be livin’ in ’til things change. And the more I live here, the more I like it…
.-= Deidra´s last blog ..On A Budget::Date Night And…A Giveaway! =-.

Kris January 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I feel stuck only because I would prefer to move to a different state. I grew up about 5 min from where I live in St. Louis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great city, but I wanted to move somewhere warmer. I dislike cold weather…a lot. haha!

However, knowing my husband will never move away from his parents, we searched and searched till we found a house that fit our dreams in our current city. We put our first house on the market 4 years after we had it built, it sold after 1 year. That was 2 years ago this past November. So it sold right when the market was going from bad to worse. We didn’t get as much as we hoped we would, but we still turned a profit. We were lucky and were able to move in with my Mom while we searched for a new house. It took us 6 months, but we found one. It had everything we wanted: a 2 car garage, 3 bedrooms, 1st flour laundry, a library (ok..a living room but we converted it to a library which was a must have for me), and a big kitchen. The extra bonus was that it came with an in-ground pool, something I wanted but the husband didn’t. So it wasn’t on our must-have list. The house needed major renovations. We are currently on the last room, the master bathroom. A month or two before we closed on our house, a house down the street closed.. Same model…but had been updated. They paid $80,000 more than we did. We couldn’t have afforded this house if the market hadn’t been down. of course, the fact that our house had never been updated in the 20 years since it was built and had been empty for 1 year did help.

I don’t anticipate us moving again until our future kids are grown and have moved away and it’s time for us to downgrade. We bought this house knowing we planned to start a family and wanted the space. At 2400 sq, it’s large enough for us. It has a ton of storage space too. bonus! It’s in one of the top public school districts too. We got extremely lucky that we were able to be a buyer in this “buyers” market. A couple of houses have sold in our subdivision recently, for more than we paid for ours. So we know that when we are ready to downsize, as long as the market is decent we’ll be ok.
.-= Kris´s last blog ..Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce =-.

Sharon January 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm

As stated by many others on this blog, numerous people/couples find themselves embedded into their new financial reality. We have resided in our home for 10 years and have embellished it significantly during that time period. Unfortunately (and as many other have learned), we could not recapture what we have actually put into it over this time span.
It is very depressing when individuals purchase for the investment and find it gone like all the other investments since our NEAR FINANCIAL COLLASPE. It will take years (10 to 15) for most people to regroup. If you are young … that’s great … if you are middle aged …. There’s still opportunity …. if you are really mature (in your 60′s) … you’re dead in the water. Actually, what can you do about it …. you just have to get used to your New Reality. Sad … isn’t it????

seanymph January 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Im one of the lucky ones. How lucky depends on who you ask. Three yrs ago my house was worth 635k…..I recently sold it, very fast too but for 415. I lost 1/3 of the value. Thank God its still a tiny bit more than I paid for it but it sure doesnt make up for the money I put into it….so I still lost. But I was lucky to put it on the market as is and actually had a buyer before it ever went to listing. Lenders tho are getting really hard on all this and we both had to jump thru hoops doing repairs that nobody wanted done execept the lender. They just wanted in fast and I wanted out. It did happen but not without a lot of effort from everyone involved.

On the other side I found a house fast too. One I had been looking at online awhile. Because I did that I knew the particulars about this place,,,,being on the market a few months and the people already moved out so the house was empty. I bargained hard and got a fantastic house. From what I gather talking to people around here we got a really great deal. Im glad. At least I feel what I lost on one, I made up a bit on the other.
.-= seanymph´s last blog ..Its not dinner till the alarm goes off…. =-.

sheri January 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

uggghhh. yes. but what to do. what to do. we are ‘merging’ (getting remarried -both of us have kids and BOTH of us work from home) – my 1800 sq ft home is not big enough for all of that. We are constantly moving stuff crap from one room to another and there is no place to shut a door (it’s a florida contemporary = no doors, just lots of arches.) we have decided to put it on the market this month again. did last year – and i couldn’t make myself accept the price the realtor wanted to put it at – but now i’ve accepted that whatever loss i take in my equity i hope to make back up in the purchase. wish us luck, we’re gonna need it.
.-= sheri´s last blog ..A picture. And what’s rambling around in my head about it. =-.

Struggler January 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

This is a crummy situation to be in, I’m so sorry.
I love our house (despite it’s many imperfections) and would only move under dire circumstances. However, having bought it about 2 years ago, it’s definitely worth less than we paid. The silver lining is I just managed to negotiate a significant reduction in our property tax bill. Is that a possibility where you live?
.-= Struggler´s last blog ..Conquer Your Clippings! =-.

Blakely January 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I didn’t choose my house it came with my husband. So somedays I really wish I would have gotten a say in where we live, but he had it and it was easy just to move in with him. It is a starter house with a great neighbor on one side and as of last week a foreclosure on the other. When you drive in to our neighborhood all you see are for sale signs. I’m so afraid we will start seeing more foreclosures.

My husband and I both struggle with the idea of moving. Both sets of our parents have lived in there respective houses for over 20 years. My parents have looked at open houses on Sunday afternoon as long as I can remeber. My husband doesn’t remeber his parents ever talking about moving. Both set of parents neighborhood is getting older and some of the new neighbors are not the best.

So to answer your question do I feel stuck in my house, I guess my honest answer would be yes. But I really hate the idea of moving. I did that way to much in college, and now I have way more stuff.
.-= Blakely´s last blog ..Pearl Quest =-.

Amanda @ Serenity Now January 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Yes, sometimes I do. We live in a 1970s Colonial…built in a time when having good closet space and extra storage wasn’t really an option. We have large enough bedrooms, but the closets are just teeny and 2 full baths are nice, but only one is upstairs with the bedrooms. I’d kill for a basement and a garage. :)

You must have written the 10/20 Ways to be Happy series before I found your blog…I’m off to read some more. :)
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..Thrifty Thursday: It’s Chic to Be Cheap {28} =-.

melissa January 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm

YES YES YES – We say every day that we feel trapped. We bought at the worst possible time – think of being right at the tip top of the roller coaster – that’s when we bought. Our house has dropped in value $20k after only 5 years :(. We want DESPERATELY to move closer to work, friends, and church. The hardest question I ask myself is: when WILL the market come back? How long will we have to stick it out?! The brightest lining in our situation is we will walk away wiser and will really pick the perfect next house – knowing we will want to stay there for 10+ years.

Richella at Imparting Grace January 21, 2010 at 4:02 pm

There are so many people around here who really are stuck–at least for now. This is a timely post.

And thank you for linking to some of your previous posts–I haven’t been in the blogging world long enough to have followed you for long enough to have read everything, so I love getting pointed to some of your oldies but goodies.
.-= Richella at Imparting Grace´s last blog ..It’s not easy seein’ green =-.

Vicki January 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm

I guess I sort of feel stuck. Not because of the economy but because my husband and I have decided to be a one income family for the time being. He is a stay-at-home-dad and has been for the last 7 years. It has worked out well for us since we bought our house 11 years ago- before the real craziness. Our current house is pretty small (we live in California). So someday I would like a bigger house with a bigger back yard. For now, I focus on the great things about our house… it is in a great community with great schools, we have wonderful neighbors AND with a small home we are forced to get rid of clutter faster PLUS I always know what my kids are doing. =)

Thank you for an interesting post! It made me think and be even more grateful for what I have.
.-= Vicki´s last blog ..How would you "order" your life? =-.

Mel January 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Yup. We got screwed selling our house when my husband got a new job out of state and we had to move. We ended up having to accept about $35,000 less than our asking price and we took it mostly because we were carrying two mortgages and didn’t want to take a risk of having it sit and sit for months. We still made money from it since we owned it 11 years but would have been nice to get closer to our asking price. And in our new neighborhood some of these new homes have been sitting here almost a year and the empty lots are still available. Hopefully we’ll be able to stay here awhile because I don’t want to go through losing money on this house!
.-= Mel´s last blog ..Menu Monday but on Wednesday =-.

RLG January 21, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Great post. I don’t feel stuck as much as I feel committed. Committed to great schools for the kids and giving them stability. I grew up a Navy brat, so one house and the same schools feels like giving my kids something I thought I was always missing. It’s tough. I miss city living. Walking everywhere. Now I have a minivan! LOL

I agree with some of other posts that this economy is killing sellers. I hope it’s much different when we go to sell 15 years from now. The people we bought this house from raised their family here and then sold with major profit. Now they live in Seattle. Lucky ducks. xoxo
.-= RLG´s last blog ..Pretty Kitchen =-.

Suzie Button January 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Oh, this is sad, but true everywhere! I told my husband I feel that we should have moved like 8, 10 years ago. We’ve been in our home now for about 16 years. Our wants and needs are different now that the kids are mostly grown and not living at home, and I’d like to have a different home for what I’m looking for in a house, but this is the reality that you’ve shared here today! The way I’ve tried to improve my mood about this is to start painting, first! A new color on the wall does change a room the most, plus we’ve replaced flooring, going from carpet in the bedroom to laminate flooring. I’m looking to improve rooms economically, not wanting to be too cheap, but in the middle and considering the possibility of the markets recovering and my house being able to sell for what I’d hope to receive. Suzie
.-= Suzie Button´s last blog ..Valentine Touches =-.

Annie@A View on Design January 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm

just got here so can’t say I do, just yet!
.-= Annie@A View on Design´s last blog ..Potts Point mini palatial palace… =-.

Diane at InMyOwnStyle January 21, 2010 at 7:19 pm

hi Julia-

I live in suburban Philadelphia and the houses in my neighborhood have been sitting for over a year. My husband lost his job last April and has been in transition since. We love our house, but if he isn’t re-employed soon, it may be hard to keep. One child is out of college and the other is a sophmore that has an apartment and a job in her college town. She doesn’t plan on living here much longer. I am ready to go to a smaller place, but am afraid we will be stuck until the market gets better. I hope you can sell your house soon, so you can move on. It is no fun living in “limbo”.
.-= Diane at InMyOwnStyle´s last blog ..How-to Make a Signature Table =-.

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints January 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Obviously this touched a nerve with many…YES we are trapped. We bought our house about 6 years ago at the height of the market and then it crashed. Two houses down a house has been sitting empty for about 2 years…they are asking $200,ooo less what we paid for ours:o So needless to say we are majorly upside down. It’s hard because we might have to move in the future with honey’s work and it will ruin our credit. There is no way to avoid a shortsale. Major bummer!!!
.-= Becky @ Farmgirl Paints´s last blog ..Heart Lessons =-.

Shawn Elmore | Asylum January 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm

A lot of my friends that are upside down are being creative with finding a way to shortsale and remain in the house. Might be time to contact friends that need an investmant…

susan said so January 21, 2010 at 9:02 pm

We decided in August ’09 to sell our house in Louisville, KY and move to a house w/ a bit of land in southern Indiana (just across the river.) We spent 2 months prepping our modest little bungalow, and put it on the market in October. We’re going to close on it next Friday, and are under contract to close on our happily-ever-after home + 7 acres next month; we’re going to rent back from our buyers until the we close on the Indiana house.

None of this came without a price, though – we’ve sold our house at a loss of $24k, which we put down when we bought it 4 years ago. All our equity, gone. Still, we know we’re fortunate…if we hadn’t had that equity, we couldn’t have sold at all.

Watching for signs of recovery,

.-= susan said so´s last blog ..make a second better =-.

rachel January 21, 2010 at 9:02 pm

we took a risk & bought a foreclosure last may… our old home has been on the market since june 1 2009! we’ve dropped the price $35,000 already, and we’re just going to let it sit until the spring & keep dropping some more. so we don’t feel stuck IN our old house… just stuck WITH it! we lovingly refer to it as ‘our summer home.’ : )
happy thursday!

rue January 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Oh lord Julia… this subject makes me cringe. I’m going to be honest here and say that we paid 249,900 for the house we just sold for 229,000. We lost 20k plus another 20k or more that we put into it for a total of 40k down the toilet. We were selling to buy that farmhouse if you remember, but it ended up being a necessity because of Rich’s job transfer. We wanted to move anyway though because the ‘hood was starting to look more like a ghetto with all the weirdos moving in and the foreclosure signs with the furniture sitting on the curb. Pretty stuff LOL

My two cents… if it’s not too bad, stay and wait it out, but if it is that bad get out quick, because I don’t think those neighborhoods will ever recover. Besides who wants to live across the street from an obese man with his shirt off singing country songs off key all day while his daughter sunbaths out on the front lawn? Yep, it really happened.

.-= rue´s last blog ..More than you wanted to know =-.

rue January 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Oh and not to mention we had it on the market for over a year and I gained 40lbs while we waited… nice.
.-= rue´s last blog ..More than you wanted to know =-.

Bethany January 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm

We bought our house just before the market took a nose dive. We got a great deal due to a relocation company that bought the house from the original owner sitting on it for too long. Upgrades we’ve done, including a room addition, we’ll never get back but, all things considered, we’re just grateful to be able to keep a roof over our heads.
.-= Bethany´s last blog ..Out for the count =-.

Mike January 21, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Jamie and I definitely feel stuck. Not because we had hoped to “move up” but rather because now that school is finished for me, we’d like to think about relocating to somewhere less expensive, and we can’t even consider it until we’re sure we can break even on this house.

Benita January 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm

A “friend” of mine tried to sell her house numerous times with no luck because she had all of the rooms painted gaudy colors & decorated very eccentric, so she offered to rent it to us and take it off the market while we lived there, so I painted every single room a nice tan color, cleaned it up spic & span and gave it a nice shabby chic look, then come to find out she had it listed on the internet behind my back ! People started calling to see the house and she sold it right away ~ the real estate lady said it was all because of my painting and the way I had it decorated !! So needless to say, I had to find a quick place to move to, and her and I are no longer friends !!

Ann January 21, 2010 at 10:25 pm

We fortunately got out of a big mortgage before the market dropped. We moved across country and have a small mortgage now. We are also upside down on our house roughly $25,000, but the monthly payment is fairly small. I don’t feel stuck, because I moved here on purpose. I am fairly confident we could sell the house if we had to minus our down payment.

I would take less just to get out of it, IF I had to, and IF I had the money to get out of it. I would drop the price, offer to pay closing costs, include the appliances, and I don’t think I would do anything more than paint every room a neutral color, remove some furniture, nick nacks and personal items, and clean clean clean.

Kelly January 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I find myself longing for the home I have in my head frequently! A home in our neighborhood recently went into foreclosure for $100,000 less than what we paid for ours 5 years ago. At first, I feel frustrated that it brings the value of mine down…then I feel thankful to not be in the same position as that family. Our children are getting married and our family is growing and we just have faith that when the grandkids start coming and we need the space, we’ll be able to get out from underneath this one and move on to the next. I liked Black Eyed Susan’s comment…”we’re enjoying our lemonade”! Thanks for the positive encouragement!
Zida Fashion Accessories

anna see January 21, 2010 at 10:42 pm

i feel stuck about certain aspects of my home– lack of garage, lack of privacy from neighbors– but i am just so grateful not to be upside down on our mortgage when so many people are so i’ll keep my mouth shut.
.-= anna see´s last blog ..Let’s Hear it FROM the Girl! =-.

Lesley @ TheDesignFile January 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Fortunately, we really aren’t trapped. I bought cheap when I was younger and my husband and I decided to keep the cheap little house even after we were married. We thought about moving at some point but decided to refinance to a 15 year mortgage instead. It’s been fabulous. We’ve paid our mortgage way down in no time.

It’s been a little bit of a sacrifice. We don’t have much space and we wish we had a better kitchen. But…we feel really secure. It’s great.

I feel so terrible for those of you who are upside down in a mortgage. What a terrible feeling to be stuck!
.-= Lesley @ TheDesignFile´s last blog ..Pretty in pink — even in your living room =-.

Erin January 21, 2010 at 11:55 pm

it will bounce back…give it another year. you might benefit by hiring an interior designer or organizer to help maximize your space & not feel as cramped.

wow…the interior photos of your neighbor’s house make me want to barf!! the exterior seems nice, though, it’s a shame it’s not sold. if they would allow a home stager to store some of their (ummm…unique) accessories and further rearrange, they might have a better chance.
.-= Erin´s last blog ..My Nemesis =-.

E. George January 22, 2010 at 12:53 am

Hi Julia I have lived in house for 23 years it was our first home my daughter was 7 years old I did nothing to it just tried to pay it off and then I had my son 19years younger than my daughter I got the silver handshake from my job of 17 years staying home made the walls cave in on me so decided to do a little paint here and change a window that I hated with glass bricks lots of black and white pictures of places I would have liked to have seen that made me happy and lots of roses and flowers in the garden now this made it much better to live with cause we can’t afford another house EVER well (unless we win the lottery). Houses in Sydney are beyond reach at this moment in time even rent is impossible so its better to do the best with what you’ve got – whatever gets you through the day.Regards Esther from very expensive Sydney…

Nita January 22, 2010 at 3:18 am

As I sit here watching my back hill wash away in the pouring rain, yes, I want to sell. But my house is $200K worth less than 2 years ago. Life in California.

I stay here because my girls and grandkids are here; otherwise, I’d move back to Indiana or Florida or Texas to get away from high taxes and the grip of the spendthrift legislature.

Suzann from The Olive Cottage January 22, 2010 at 7:09 am

If I could, I would leave this house in a second. I never wanted to move here, but we did it because of my husband (commute) and my kids (school). I hate my house and the town, but in this area where no house was on the market more than a week, some houses sit for months or years and sell for entirely too little money.
So, I’m stuck. With icky neighbors, an icky house, and in a town I want to be away from.
.-= Suzann from The Olive Cottage´s last blog ..Day Dreaming… =-.

Beverly from Montreal January 22, 2010 at 8:07 am

I don’t know whether or not it is due to stricter regulations here in Canada but we have not been hit nearly as hard in the housing market as our American neighbors.
We bought our small suburban bungalow in 1974, brought up two daughters and are now living a great life as retirees in the same home. Our lifestyle is simple, our needs are met and if we had to sell our home tomorrow we would no doubt make a substantial profit. I hope the situation in the U.S. will improve as quickly as possible and that folks can, at the very least, break even when selling their homes.

Mom in High Heels January 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

Well, we live in military housing, so we don’t have this problem. We did try to sell our house in the States for quite a while before we got out from under it. The one good thing about buying a house in a military town is that there is a high turn over and someone always looking for a house. Still, our house was on the market for 8 months before we decided to rent it out. After 13 months our tenants got orders to move and we put it back on the market. This time it was on for 5 months (and $15K less than we originally listed it at) before it sold. We made a whopping $2500 off the deal, but we got out from under the house payments for a house we weren’t living in.
I feel really bad for all those who can’t sell their houses right now due to the economy. I’ll be really interested in seeing how much the purple angel house sells for. :)
.-= Mom in High Heels´s last blog ..Dear So and So =-.

Molly January 22, 2010 at 9:41 am

I feel stuck. Our house has been on the market for 90 days with no offers and not very many showings. We aren’t even going to make a profit if it sells. We’ll be bringing money to the table. Not what I pictured 3 years ago when we were making some nice changes to the house! It’s a tiny two bedroom and we already have one son. We are expecting another so we really need to move.

Thinking about “making due” with very little room makes me upset. I want a bigger house with more room and I just don’t think it’s going to happen. It’s quite upsetting!
.-= Molly´s last blog ..24 Weeks Pregnant =-.

Morning T January 22, 2010 at 9:58 am

Great and very timely post Julia! My hubby is a financial guy and saw this nasty thing coming a few years ago. We sold our home in the burbs and have been renting a wonderful home in a very coveted neighborhood in Houston for the past couple of years~ riding out the storm I guess.
Happy Friday and weekend to you. Please stop by for my fun little giveaway. :-)
.-= Morning T´s last blog ..{The One Hundred} and a Morning T giveaway! =-.

Room without a view January 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I’ve loved your blog here for a few months now, and this is my first post. This topic is a sore spot with me. I live in the general Chicago area and hate it here. I hate the insane taxes, the fact that the area lacks anything resembling a natural beautiful landscape (to me metal and glass pile crammed in an urban setting are not beautiful, the pollution, the taxes, the population density, the taxes, the corruption and the flat landscape with no character or beauty. I’m miserable in this state and put up with it because of family that have illnesses and probably won’t be around very much longer. Of course, my mother assumes that I hate it here because I haven’t lived anywhere else. My family doesn’t get why I would possibly want to move to Montana, Colorado, or someplace where I can walk out the door and have a beautiful mountain view, fairer taxes, and breathable air. Someday we will move out of here, but that’s a long long way off.

Val January 22, 2010 at 7:11 pm

I lived happily in Massachusetts with my husband and kids in my dream home that we owned for 8 months and life threw us a curve ball ,and my husband got a promotion and we had to move to California. I can’t even begin to express my concern..To leave the home that I loved for an uncertain life in California? Well we moved at the time the market was going south but we had no choice but to buy. We bought a Beautiful home in a great neighborhood at the time the house was going for 969,000 and we got it for 914,000. I was thinking wow what a deal. NOT. Less than one year later our home is now worth 800,000. And the value seems to go down weekly. My fear is that we will never be able to move again.

Kristin @ Domestic Ease January 23, 2010 at 1:05 am

Completely feeling the same way!!! We, too, built our house six years ago, and although our neighborhood is very nice and safe, it hasn’t weathered the financial climate as well as we thought. We have decided to sit tight for now, change a few things (floors, etc.), and savor our time while we’re here.

I LOVE your site and have been quite a fan for many months now….thanks so much for quenching my thirst for “all things home!!”

Many blessings!
.-= Kristin @ Domestic Ease´s last blog ..Before & After =-.

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish January 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Absolutely. We had to move because we lost our jobs and got jobs somewhere else. Our house is on the market now for $20k less than what we paid for it … and it will probably sell for another $5-$10k under that! We are stuck waiting to be able to buy in our new city until it sells. Drives me crazy! We have been on the market for almost a year but in a rural area like where we used to live that is par for the course in this market. The only homes that are selling right now are the foreclosures. It is really frustrating!
.-= Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish´s last blog ..The Monster at the end of this Post … =-.

Home January 28, 2010 at 2:27 am

I do. And thank you so much for showing this one. Gave me a lot of ideas. Thanks!

Kristina Johnson October 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Yes. We feel stuck, we feel cheated, we feel depressed. We feel stuck because we purchased our first home at near the top of the bubble, and have lived here about 7 years. According to local home values, we are currently about $45k underwater in our mortgage. We don’t have one of those crazy mortgages either, 30 year fixed, and we put near 20% down. We feel cheated because there is abuse going on in the system, people are abusing the foreclosure and short sale system, we almost feel forced to follow suit. We feel depressed because we never planned on staying here; for more than 7 years and now three kids later, we have different needs from this house that it cannot give. We love our charming, old farmhouse and it gave us what we were needing when we bought it and for most of the 7 years we’ve owed it, but now its time to move on and let someone else enjoy.

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