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Stay or Go? How to Decide Whether to Remodel or to Move Homes
It was our first-ever home purchase; it was the house we brought both of our babies home to, and it was the house we worked tirelessly to fix up.
But, when we woke up after eight years of home ownership, with two fast-growing young kids, we realized that our precious property didn’t exactly suit our lifestyle anymore.
We suddenly had an impossibly difficult decision to make: Should we try to remodel our home to suit our needs, or should we move?
There are dozens of reasons you might outgrow your home and want to leave — but there are likely dozens of reasons keeping you interested in your current property.
Stay or Go? How to Decide Whether to Remodel or to Move
To help you grapple with the tough decision ahead — and to help you save as much money as possible in this transition — take advantage of the following considerations:
Moving is hard even when you are certain that a move is necessary. You have to pack up everything in your home — which always takes way more time, energy and money than you expect — and you have to get it to your new property — which also takes more time, energy and money than you expect.
Thus, most people try to avoid moving as much as they can.
However, there are a few good reasons you might want to move if your current home no longer fits:
You Have Special Requirements That Make Remodeling Extensive
It’s easy enough to turn a spacious three-bedroom home into a four-bedroom home, but if your requirements are more specific than that, you might need to look for another property.
For instance, if stairs are no longer an acceptable feature of your home, you shouldn’t try to remodel your two-story home into a ranch-style — you should just move.
Similarly, if you want your home to have a split floorplan but it doesn’t, the renovations would simply be too extensive to make them worthwhile.
Before you make your decision, you should make a list of all mandatory changes you would need to make to your home to see if they would be overly disruptive and excessively costly.
You might contact a contractor in your area to get quotes on certain complex projects.
A budget and a remodeling schedule will keep you on track financially and ensure you have all your home requires ASAP.
You Have the Financial Resources
Not everyone can afford to move houses. Before you consider this option, you should use online tools like Zillow or Redfin to find homes in your ideal area with the features you desire.
This will give you an idea of the cost of your prospective property, such as down payment, mortgage payments and other home-buying expenses.
You should also calculate the costs associated with moving, which might include fixing up your current house. We contacted Baltimore moving companies for quotes to ensure that we could afford professional services to make the move easier.
If you come up with an overall cost that is within your budget, you might as well make moving a go.
As difficult as moving is, remodeling can be even worse. In fact, if renovations are significant enough, you might have to move out for a period of time anyway.
Unless you have extensive DIY and handy skills, you will have to pay contractors to do most of the work, which can be a bank-account-draining endeavor. Still, there are a few good reasons to stay put and update, to include:
You Are Emotionally Devoted to Your Current Home
Most people become emotionally attached to properties they own, but you might have particularly close feelings to your home.
For instance, if you inherited and moved into your childhood home, you might be tempted to hold onto that property for sentimental reasons.
While you shouldn’t allow your emotions to rule your life, you also shouldn’t carelessly dispose of something that means a great deal.
You Appreciate Your Community/Location
The nature of real estate is location; you can’t move properties without leaving where you were and establishing yourself someplace else.
Thus, if you highly value your current location or your existing community, you might think twice about packing up and relocating.
Unless you can find a home with all your requirements at the right price point in your current neighborhood, you will need to remodel your home to continue enjoying the area in which you live.
You’ll Earn Back Your Remodeling Costs
It’s possible to over-improve a property. To generate the value of your home, real estate agents and appraisers look at similar homes in your neighborhood, called “comparable properties” or “comps.”
While some homes are worth more than others thanks to valuable amenities, it’s uncommon for a home in a neighborhood to be worth significantly more than its comps, even if it is jam-packed with expensive upgrades.
Thus, you should consider what changes you want to make to your property. You should be careful to avoid putting more money into your house than you will get back, which means you might want to talk to a trustworthy real estate agent. If your remodeling efforts are relatively minor — but will give you the features you need — then you can commit to staying put.
Ultimately, my family decided to move — but yours might choose the opposite. The decision is a complex one that takes time, calculation and consideration. Weigh your options carefully, and you’ll make the right choice for your family — and you should save a whole heap of cash, too.
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