1. You've run out of room.
Starter homes often provide adequate space for singles or couples, but a growing family may find itself in tight quarters and tripping over toys. If you've got more kids than rooms, frequent visitors, or relatives looking to reside on-premises, it's probably time to make a move. Happily, with new homes today averaging 2,687 square feet (nearly 1,000 square feet larger than in 1973) and the average amount of living space per person having doubled in the last half-century, there's plenty of room to grow.
2. You'd prefer to downsize.
On the flip side, perhaps you need less space as your children grow and move out, or you've determined that a larger home can be a challenge to maintain. You certainly wouldn't be alone. A recent survey by real estate site Trulia notes that with home prices and maintenance costs increasing, more homeowners say they'd rather have a smaller home on the second run. If maintaining a large mortgage and upkeep on a more sizable property isn't preferred, or you're looking to stretch retirement funds further, a change of venue (perhaps even to a more moderately priced city) may be in order.
3. Your commute is getting longer.
As your career expands, scoring a promotion or new job may mean more time on the road — time that translates to added expense and fewer moments to unwind with friends and loved ones. With most of us traveling 25.4 minutes to get to work, per the U.S. Census Bureau, a growing commute can also be a sign that it's time to reduce transit times, wear and tear on your vehicle, and personal strain. With gas prices rising by double digits and making a significant dent in paychecks, it's important to know precisely how much your time is worth. If the amount you're spending on transportation (both in terms of effort and financial expenditures) doesn't add up, relocating to a more conveniently located home is advisable.
4. Expenses are adding up.
Experts recommend setting aside 1-3% of your home's purchase price every year in a savings account for home maintenance and repairs — e.g., at least $2,000-$4,000 on a $200,000-$400,000 home. If you're regularly exceeding these costs, and/or dealing with household hiccups such as leaky faucets, faulty appliances, and cold drafts, it's time to reconsider where you reside. Purchasing a newer or more well-maintained home may come with added expenses up-front but may save you big on the back end.