If your current home no longer feels adequate, it may be time to make some changes. Perhaps your family is growing or you’ve shifted to work from home. Maybe the home feels too small or is outdated. Is it time to shop for a new house, or should you put money into making upgrades? The question to renovate or relocate is common.
Let’s look at some ways to decide which option is better for you and your family.
How to Decide: Renovate or Relocate?
1. Look at Costs
Whether you choose to remodel or move, there are costs involved with both.
A renovation can be expensive. Assess the costs of permits, plans, materials, labor, and financing costs. You should also plan for additional expenses like renting temporary housing and storage for your belongings or dining out if you’re renovating the kitchen.
Moving to a new house has associated costs. You’re going to pay agent commissions, order a home inspection, pay for moving expenses, and you’ll be responsible for making repairs to your property. Plus, a new home may come with a higher monthly payment, homeowners insurance, down payment, and closing costs.
2. Get Information About the Real Estate Market
Before you decide to renovate or relocate, it’s necessary to know how much you can expect to get from selling your current home.
A real estate agent can provide an expert opinion on the value of your home. He or she will recommend any repairs that should be made before listing the property for sale. Selling a home that needs a lot of work may take longer and bring you a lower profit.
Look at properties in the neighborhood you would like to move to. If the area is popular with buyers, property there will cost you more. The equity you get from the sale of your current home may not be enough to comfortably move to a more expensive area.
3. Attachment to Your Current Neighborhood
You and your family have roots in your current neighborhood. If you have children, they have friends and schoolmates there. Do you want to move them to a different school? Look into the school system in the area you would like to live and see if the new school is appealing. Another consideration is whether you have close friends and family members in the neighborhood. Talk with your household about how moving might affect those relationships.
Your current neighborhood might be close to your favorite restaurants, shops, and parks. Will you have to commute further to work if you move out of the neighborhood? How far away will your doctor and dentist be?
4. What’s Your Timeline to Renovate or Relocate?
Neither process, renovating or relocating, is fast. When making a decision, look at what your ideal timeline might be.
When selling your home, allow for the time it will take to make repairs, stage the home, put it on the market, get an offer, and close. Depending on the condition of the home and the asking price, this could happen quickly or it might take months. Once you have a closing date, you can anticipate with some certainty the day you have to move.
With renovations, flexibility is the key. If you are planning DIY upgrades, you’ll be working with your own schedule. A professional contractor may estimate six weeks for a project. However, a delay in the arrival of materials or a spell of endless rain could extend the renovation timeline. The time it takes to make upgrades to your home will also depend on the number of improvements you want to make. If you’re unhappy with the kitchen, a complete renovation may take a couple of months. However, if you add updates to the primary bedroom, build a backyard deck, and finish the basement, you’re looking at several months of living in a construction zone.
5. What Problems are You Hoping to Solve?
Renovating your home can solve some problems, but not all of them. While a renovation can add square footage, it can be expensive to add on to an existing home. In some cases, it may not be possible due to lot restrictions or HOA requirements. If you’re hoping for a dream kitchen, this goal might be completely achievable in your current home.
These factors will help you decide whether you should renovate or relocate. No one answer is right for everyone. The decision is personal. Take the time to discuss options with your family when deciding which is best.