Renovate or Move: Which Option Is Right for You?

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Renovate or Move

Let’s face it: moving is incredibly stressful. If you own your home, you not only need to find a new place to live but also put your existing home on the market and work hard to sell it. As a homeowner, you might be debating between renovating or moving your existing home. But is living in a construction zone any less stressful than moving? It depends. In this article, we will examine whether you should move or renovate your existing home.

Renovate or Move: Things to Consider

Before you decide whether you want to renovate your home or move, there are a few things to consider. Let’s take a look.

Cost Considerations

Renovations can get expensive, but whether it is cheaper to sell or renovate depends on a few factors. Your current mortgage costs and the potential mortgage rates on the market can be a big factor in whether you should renovate or sell. Renovating means you will have a lot of immediate costs, so you have to have money saved up to make this work. Selling your home, on the other hand, will give you money now but can cost you more later on.

What is the current state of the real estate market?

Take some time conducting research about the current real estate market conditions in your area. Sometimes, it would be better to hold off on selling, depending on if you will be able to get the most out of the investment. What time of year is it? Homes typically sell faster in spring or summer, but you can sell a home at any time of year. Consider talking to a realtor in your area to gauge if now is the right time to sell.

What would you miss about your current house?

People get emotionally attached to their homes. When you walk around your home, what moments do you have that you will miss? The place where your child took their first steps, the wall where you marked out their growth through life, the room where you had your last family gathering with a loved one who has passed. Are you ready to leave the house that holds all of these memories and deep emotional connections? Or would it be better just to renovate the house so you can continue to hold onto those memories?

Is it the right time for your family to move?

Moving is stressful, and depending on what is going on in your life right now, it might not be the right time to move. Would your children have to change schools if you moved? Is something going on in your family’s lives that moving could be disruptive of? However, renovating also is not cheap, so can you dip into your savings right now to renovate the house? Would it make more sense to buy a new home instead and save some of that equity from the sale to make renovations to the new place?

What don’t you like about your home?

What parts of your home do you not like? What do you want to change the most? If you only have a few things you would like to change but otherwise love your home, it makes more sense to renovate it.

For example, your kitchen needs to be updated, but everything else is perfect. Then, you can simply renovate your kitchen to make it into your dream kitchen. However, if you do not have enough bedrooms for your entire family or are tired of only having a single bathroom, it is probably time to move. Adding onto your existing home is possible, but it is expensive, and it can be hard to do if you do not have a big enough plot of land. You might be able to get creative to come up with a little more space, but if you are just running out of room in your home for everything and everyone, moving is probably the better option.

Compare Costs of Remodeling with New Home Prices

Once you have a good idea of what the real estate market in your area is looking like, you can start comparing the costs of the renovations you want to make to the costs of buying a new home.

This is what you can anticipate paying when you remodel your home:

  • Bathroom: $9,000–$20,000
  • Kitchen: $10,000–$50,000
  • Finishing Attic or Basement:  $12,300 to $33,300
  • Garage: $3,000–$15,000
  • Adding a room: $25,000
  • Updating insulation: $2,000
  • Roofing: $8,000

Depending on the projects you plan to complete, it might be more expensive to renovate than buy, but it depends on your overall budget for home renovations and how big your remodeling plans may be.

Is Moving Right for You?

Most people do not like moving. You have to hunt for a new place, sell your current one, pack up your entire life, and move to somewhere new. It can be a long and arduous process that is usually extremely stressful for everyone involved to move. However, if you have completely outgrown your current home, are ready for something new, or see a good opportunity to sell, it can be worthwhile to move to a new home. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of moving.

Pros of Moving

  • Start Over

Moving into a new home is a great way to start over. You can find a new place that meets your current needs, where you can enjoy being somewhere new and more comfortable. A new home is a blank slate that you can paint and design to create something that is new and beautiful. What features do you wish your current home has? You can look for a new place that has those features.

  • Find Characteristics You Want without Renovating

Do you wish your home was in a better school district, had a bigger yard, or was in a better neighborhood? You cannot get these things by remodeling your home; you can only get them by moving. If you want any of these things, moving is probably your best bet. You can spend time looking for a neighborhood with better schools, that feels safer, or has a spacious yard that is perfect for your kids or pets to play in.

Cons of Moving

  • Moving Costs

Moving is expensive. You need packing materials, possibly hire movers, make home repairs to your new or old home, and cover home inspection costs. It is not cheap to move.

  • Trouble Finding a New Home

Depending on the current market in your area, it might be difficult for you to find your dream home. You might end up having to spend a lot of time looking for the right house or end up having to compromise and get a house that you are not completely in love with. It can also be hard if you are aiming to move into a specific school district, for example, to find a new home that meets your needs and budget.

  • Moving is Stressful

Moving is a highly stressful process, even if everything goes smoothly. Consider if you should take on this extra stress right now, especially if you are on the fence about moving. Do you have too much stress going on right now with work or family? Can you juggle moving with everything else right now? If you cannot add on the amount of stress that moving will create to your plate right now, renovating may be a better idea.

Is Renovating Right for You?

If you do not want to move or feel like it is not the best thing for you right now, renovating can be a good choice instead. Now, we will look at the pros and cons of renovating your home to see if that is the right choice for you.

Pros of Renovating

  • Improve Your Property Value

If you want to improve your property value, home renovations are one of the easiest ways to make that happen. When you do eventually sell your home, you may be able to get more for it because of these improvements, and many of them offer an excellent return on investment. While renovations do have more costs upfront, they can be worthwhile because they can improve your property value and quality of life in your home.

  • Customize Your Home

If you love your home but just have a few things that you think could be improved upon, renovating may be the perfect choice for you. You can keep the home you love but change those few things that bug you to make your home perfect.

  • Avoid the Stress of Moving

Moving is extremely stressful, and by renovating instead of moving, you do not have to deal with the stress that comes with having to move.

Cons of Renovating

  • Delays and Hidden Costs

Unless you are a DIYer who is planning on doing all of your home renovations yourself, you will be working with a contractor for your renovations. This means there might be some construction delays that you cannot plan for. You might need to get permits or run into issues with building codes or damage to the building that can cause delays in your renovations.

Whether you are working with a contractor or not, there can also be unexpected costs that come up during the process.

For example, you might need more of a product than you initially thought you did, so you have to purchase more of it. Another example is a contractor might find some damage to the structure of your home and will need additional funds to repair it before they complete the job.

  • Potential Risks of Losing Your Investment

Not all home renovation projects are created equally. If you are renovating specifically because you want to get a good return on your investment, there are some projects that you should steer clear of.

For example, getting a new garage door, installing faux stone wainscoting, or some minor kitchen upgrades can get you an excellent return on your investment.

However, a complete kitchen or bathroom remodel can end up having a lower return on your investment if you plan to sell your home in the next few years.

  • You’ll Be Living in a Construction Zone

Home renovations will take time to complete, and while you are making them, your home is going to be a construction zone. Depending on the work you are getting done, you might have to stay in a hotel for a few days while the construction happens.

You may have to eat takeout because you do not have a kitchen, share a bathroom, have multiple people sleeping in one bedroom, and even possibly board your pets. This can be expensive and draining on your mental health, so it is important to keep in mind when debating if renovating is the right choice for you, especially if the renovations take longer than the contractor plans, which is often the case with construction.

You might only plan on making arrangements for a few days, but that ends up turning into a couple of weeks because of construction delays. Make sure you factor things like this into your renovation budget before you get started.

Final Thoughts

Both moving and renovating come with things that can benefit you and your home greatly, but they can also have some unexpected stresses and can take longer than planned. It is important that you weigh the pros and cons we have listed in this article before deciding if renovating or moving is the right choice for you and your family.