My home, she’s a cutie. I call her a “she” because even though she’s cute, she is definitely a bitch. And really high maintenance. I know, I know, that’s called homeownership, but I’ve been fed up with this house for a really long time.
Suffice to say, after losing my beloved pet Murray, it’s become especially difficult and painful to be at the house, and I want out.
Reasons to Stay
The great news is that given the extensive renovations I performed on the house, I’ll be able to sell it at a considerable profit. I’m looking at walking away with anywhere between 25-40k. The only hitch is that given that I will have only been in the house for a year by the time I sell it, I would have to pay capital gains tax. If you stay in a home for 2 years and sell it at a profit, you do not have to pay the tax.
So, if I get my pie in the sky dreams and walk away with the full 40k, that means I will have to pay (roughly, because we’re not counting deductions etc.) 25%, 1/4 or 10,000 smackaroos. (Side bar: where did the word smackaroo come from?) Bankrate has a great article about the ins and outs of the capital gains tax for real estate here.
Reasons to Go
From almost the very beginning this house has been a drain on my emotions, mental bandwidth and, of course, my wallet. I still had close to 10k in savings when I bought the home last year, but the renovation (as most renovations do…) went over budget and decimated my savings.
My contractor…well he wasn’t great, and I’m almost positive he was taking money off of the top. Because of this, we had a falling out in the final weeks of the renovation. Much of the major work was complete, but some of the finer details were left undone. I paid him what I owed to get him out of my life, and resolved to fix the minor things myself, thinking that would be easier and it was. Although I’m tired of sinking a little bit here and there into the home every month to cover the things he failed to fix. I know I’ll get that money back when I sell, but it’s still money I’d otherwise like to prioritize.
Financial reasons aside: It was a house that I bought with my ex, and purchased thinking I could both a) get a good deal and b) we could stay there for many years since it has 3+ bedrooms and over 2000 square feet. I got a good deal, but now that I am on my own and without a dog to enjoy the benefits of the yard, I don’t need to heat/cool and keep up 2000 square feet of space and an acre of land.
How Much is Your Pain and Suffering Worth?
My circumstances have changed exponentially from when I bought the house nearly a year ago. Buy a large single family home with your ex and see how you like it.
Still, even though I’ve learned a lot and am wiser for all of my dealings with this house, I still can’t help but wish for a clean slate every day when I come home. Home really isn’t a comforting place to me. With Murray there I could kind of get over it, but it felt more like a never ending project than a refuge. I kept going last fall because, well, it was the only thing I knew how to do and I would never have been able to sell a half done house and get my money back out of it.
If someone came up off the street and gave you 10k to stay in a place you didn’t like, would you? Should I sell, take the money, and run and pay the taxes later? How much is all of my heartache worth?
P.S. More about buying your first home