AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 A house, after all, is a home, not a green game piece on a Monopoly board. Homes come in neighborhoods, and you want those with the features and amenities that appeal to you. Just being near a family member or dear friend can rightfully outweigh financial considerations. And all the riches you think you’ll make by selling can dissipate after costs, from last-minute sprucing up and repairs to real estate commissions and seller closing costs to the costs of moving and buying and setting up in a new place. In today’s frenzied real estate market, few seem to care. Eager buyers, convinced the house they buy will keep appreciating, are bidding up prices and entering into risky interest-only loans. Homeowners are unloading their homes for the money or taking out home-equity loans to finance a lavish lifestyle. “Consumption is getting out of control,” said Mari Adam, a certified financial planner in Boca Raton, Fla. “The trend of people buying things they can’t afford is accelerating. I am seeing a lot of higher-income people very stretched in terms of budget,” having to choose between paying down debt and saving for retirement. “The whole thought process we are seeing is reminiscent of 1999,” Adam said, referring to the year investors were throwing their life savings at overvalued technology stocks. Today’s “can’t lose” investment is real estate, with speculators treating houses as tradable commodities rather than places to live. Count us out of this speculation game, just as we didn’t fall for the tech-stock mania. We will sell our home and move only if we think we’ll be at least as happy in a new place. “It makes sense if there are other compelling reasons, such as wanting a smaller place,” Adam said (as we may want in a couple of years). “If there are good reasons to move, then you should certainly investigate it” and take advantage of the appreciation in your home, Adam said. For example, two of Adam’s clients recently moved from Broward County to less expensive homes that are close to relatives, one in Orlando and the other in Alabama. But moving just for the money “is never really a good idea,” Adam said. “People making those decisions solely on the financial criteria are going to be disappointed,” and may always wonder whether they would have done better selling at another time, or simply staying put. How about selling and renting, waiting for the “bubble” to burst before buying back? “You’ll be trying to ‘time the market,’ and timing the market is very difficult” in real estate or stocks, Adam said. “Sometimes we do know that something is overvalued and where the trend is going (home prices are bound to cool off), but our timing can be way off.” “To buy back in the same market, you could be sitting in a rental house for five years waiting for the ‘bubble’ to burst,” she continued. “The market will have to crash an awful lot for you to be able to buy back” and make any meaningful profit after all the costs of renting and moving twice. Another problem in Florida and states with similar laws is property taxes. Property assessments for owners of homestead property in Florida can go up only a maximum 3 percent a year regardless of actual price appreciation (exclusive of additions or improvements). But the assessment of a house you buy will be based on the current market value. You may “trade down” buy a less expensive house than the one you sell and still see your property taxes go up. “In many cases, people’s property taxes have doubled,” Adam said. Because of taxes, “some people are finding they cannot afford the place they just bought.” Humberto Cruz offers personal finance advice each Thursday and answers readers’ questions each Saturday. Write him at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Like so many others, the beachside house my wife, Georgina, and I bought in Vero Beach, Fla., five years ago has nearly doubled in value. And like so many other homeowners concerned about a “housing bubble,” we’ve thought about selling. We’ve monitored home prices, consulted with real estate agents and visited houses for sale in Vero and cities near Orlando, another area we like. Today, after a year of number crunching and soul-searching, our take on the wisdom of cashing out is a resounding “it depends.” Although we would be considered prime candidates for a move semiretired with no children at home and able to do our writing wherever we can set up a computer we’ll have to find the right home in the right place at the right price before we will consider moving. And we haven’t yet.