On average, American homeowners move every five to seven years. One immediate reason may be that Americans do not pass houses down from one generation to the next as much as they used to in the past. As they reach adulthood, children map out their own course, which includes a very personal lifestyle within walls of their own. This phenomenon is relatively new.
So what are the primary reasons we move so much?
The top reason is a sense of having outgrown one’s space. This is especially true of first-time homebuyers, whose family eventually increases in size, thereby requiring a different space configuration in order to ensure everyone’s comfort. Notice that this is a cultural perspective. Our sense of boundaries and privacy plays an important role in the decision to expand our living quarters.
The second reason, believe it or not, is simply a desire to acquire what we do not currently have. For instance, financial experts and consultants point out that, very often, when people receive an unexpected increase in income, their first reaction is to spend it on “something more”. Of course, this is not for anyone to judge. We have, after all, the liberty to do as we choose with our wealth, whatever that may be.
The third reason we sell and move is merely a change in perspective. The house is too close to the curb for young children; a family member has a health condition that makes it difficult to handle the otherwise beautifully crafted staircases; a job transfer increases travel time considerably or it is time to retire and simplify.
We tend to hold on to our homes at all costs. For this reason, moving due to undesirable circumstances in the neighborhood is last on the list. When “others” cause distress, after all, it seems logical that “they” are the common denominator and thus the one aspect of our circumstances we are most likely to try to change. If the neighbors are too loud, disrespectful or downright unsafe, moving can be far less stressful than entering into a battle.
Our view of homeownership has changed a lot. A house is not merely a means to secure shelter anymore. We select the clothes that feel right for our type of work, moods and tastes. Likewise, we adorn our homes based on internal values and preferences. A home is a statement of function and lifestyle. It is the picture-perfect book cover that holds real-life stories.