Should You Renovate or Move? How to Know When It’s Time to Let Go

renovate or move

As a homeowner, you invest a lot in your house. Not just financially, but also in terms of time, energy, and emotion.

You spend years making adjustments, additions, and memories.

But as your family grows and changes, you can get to a point where your home simply no longer meets your needs, even if you’re in love with where you live. When this happens, you have two options: renovate or move.

This can be one of the most difficult decisions you make in your life, depending on how much you’ve put into your home. That’s why it’s important to look at the situation from every angle, taking your time to ensure you’re making the right choice.

To help you through this process, we’ve compiled a list of the best questions to ask yourself to determine what’s best for you and your family.

Are You In the Right Location?

The best question to ask yourself first is how you feel about the location of your current home. Because all the renovations in the world can’t change the surrounding area.

Think about everything that comes with your location. Do you enjoy your neighbors? Are you in a good school district? How far is the commute to and from your job?

Your location also includes your lot. Do you have a yard that your family can comfortably spend time in? Are the houses a little closer than you would like?

While an unfriendly neighbor or a small yard shouldn’t be the sole reason you leave a home you love, it should certainly be a factor in your decision. Your lot size likely cannot be changed, and if your renovations include an addition, it’s only going to feel smaller.

The cost of living in your neighborhood should also be a consideration. If you find that you’re making huge sacrifices in other areas of your life in order to afford your home, it might be time to downsize or move to a more affordable area.

Does Your Home Have Structural Issues?

Before you start purchasing items for a remodel, you need to get organized and take a serious look at what your home needs.

If your home is unsafe in its current state, building a beautiful master suite addition isn’t a good idea. Not to mention, the addition won’t be worth the cost in the long run.

For example, if you have asbestos, uneven floors, or cracking walls or ceilings, these issues need to be taken care of before you get into the cosmetic changes.

Some renovation projects can be done without a contractor if you’re handy, but anything that requires a license or permit should be left to the professionals.

Do You Require More Room?

Feeling cramped in your home doesn’t automatically mean it’s time to move. First, survey your home and be honest with yourself about why you feel you don’t have enough space.

If your home is cluttered or overstuffed with furniture, spending a weekend deep cleaning and donating unused items can do wonders for both your home and your health.

Maybe your home isn’t cluttered, but the way your furniture is laid out isn’t the most efficient. In that case, consider bringing in an interior designer to help you determine if there’s a way to reconfigure your home that will create space.

You never know, you may be able to create an entirely new room without spending money on an addition!

Speaking of additions, if your lot permits it, adding a room onto your home is always an option. However, it’s important to remember that building an addition is both costly and disruptive to your everyday life.

But if you have room in your budget and don’t mind a bit of noise for a month or two, go for it!

What Does Your Budget Look Like?

Depending on your situation, it may be more cost-effective to make adjustments to your current home than to move. However, this isn’t always the case.

Your first step is to make a list of the changes you’d have to make to your home to create the space you need. Then, do some research to find the average costs of these renovations.

A kitchen remodel, for example, ranges from $22,500 to $66,200. The price will vary based on the size of the space and the depth of the remodel.

If your home needs a major overhaul or addition, you could be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, this may be worth it if you love everything about your home except for certain parts of the interior.

Alternatively, if you’re leaning toward a remodel being too much hassle, you need to be realistic about the current market. Home prices all over the country are rising, the median cost of a house being over $200,000 in the United States in 2019.

Before you make a decision, it’s wise to consult a realtor in your area. They will be able to tell you the capped value in your neighborhood, helping you decide if your projected renovation costs will be worth it.

Will You Be Able to Recoup Costs?

Even if you’re positive you want to renovate and have no intention of moving, you should always keep a worst-case scenario in the back of your mind. If an emergency arises that forces you to move, you want to be sure that you’re not spending more remodeling than you could ever get back.

As mentioned above, there is a maximum amount your home will sell for based on your area. In addition, every renovation has an ROI (return on investment) value. Some renovations will pay for themselves by increasing the value of your home, while others, no matter how much you love them, never will.

On the other hand, moving isn’t cheap. You need to ask yourself how long you’ll be in your new home and if there are any changes you’ll want to make to it. Will you be in the home long enough to recoup the costs of moving, updating, and your new mortgage?

If you envision your new house as your forever home, this may not be a problem for you. But remember, you probably don’t want to leave a house that requires renovations to move to a new house that requires just as much work.

Can You Handle Lengthy Renovations?

The idea of renovating your home is an exciting one. And while the end results may bring your dream home to life, the road to get there won’t be easy.

A major home renovation is a serious commitment that will take weeks, if not months, to complete. In fact, a bathroom remodel alone can take up to three months from start to finish, and kitchen remodels often require even more time.

Because rooms like the kitchen and bathroom are essential pieces of your home, it can be extremely difficult to live in a home undergoing renovations. Some renovations might even require that you leave the home completely until they’re complete.

This is where bringing in a contractor can be helpful. A contractor will be able to give you a rough estimate of your renovation costs, as well as how disruptive they will be and whether or not staying in the home is recommended.

If the renovations will necessitate you to leave the house for a few months, you need to be sure you either have money in your budget for a rental home or a friend or family member that can take you in until your home is complete.

Deciding Whether to Renovate or Move Takes Time

When it comes time to decide whether to renovate or move, the best thing you can do is take your time.

This is your home, your family’s safe space, and the place in which you will create memories for years to come. It’s better to be overly cautious than to make a rash decision.

Make a list of everything that will impact your decision and be sure it’s exhaustive. Include everything you want and need from your home and the surrounding area, and don’t be afraid to seek out professional advice.

A realtor, contractor, or interior designer are all good options when you need help with your decision. Many contractors will even give free estimates, so determining how much you can expect to spend on your renovation won’t cost a dime.

If your children are old enough, include them in the decision making process! Although the final decision should come down to you, including the entire family can make the process easier and give you points of view you may not have considered.

Looking for more tips on creating or finding your dream home? Check out our blog!


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