Remodel or Move? Making the Right Housing Decision
4 minute read
August 21, 2017


Have you been feeling unsatisfied in your home lately? Maybe you’ve been thinking about remodeling but worry about the hassle. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about moving but wondering if you can afford to. Here are some factors to consider in deciding whether a remodel or move is a better choice

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Remodel or Move

Location – Do you love where you live right now? Do you get along great with your neighbors? Will your kids be able to stay in the same school if you move? If you are emotionally attached to your current location, remodeling might be the right answer for you since it can be difficult to re-create or predict things like whether you will love your new neighbors or your kids’ new school. But if you don’t like your neighbors or the community, moving is likely a better solution than remodeling.

Do you love your current home? – Similarly, consider whether you are emotionally bonded to your home. Maybe it’s your childhood home, or has unique qualities that you love, like quirky architecture. If there are things you love about your current home that you won’t be able to find in another home, the scale may tip in favor remodeling rather than moving.

What are you dissatisfied with? – A major consideration when it comes to deciding whether to remodel or move is the problemsyou want to fix, and the feasibility of correcting them. If all you want is one more bathroom, a remodel may be sufficient. But suppose you want to make a change that building codes don’t permit in your neighborhood. In that case, you may need to move. It’s also worth noting that some people prefer to remodel so that they can make things exactly how they want it, rather than buy a finished product that may not be quite what they had in mind.

Different kinds of hassle – Moving is considered a stressful event, since you have to move everything from one house to another. You are also likely changing routines such as commutes and schools. However, remodeling comes with its own hassles, including the inconvenience of having work done, the length of time required, finding and supervising contractors, etc. Also, remodeling can take months, and often takes longer than the initial time estimate.

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How long do you plan to stay put if you remodel? – If you are planning to move within a few years, remodeling may not make financial sense. You will need to figure out what your return on investment would be, since many remodels do not increase the value of the house enough to cover the renovation cost. However, you may decide that the benefits you receive from the remodel are worth the expense, even if you do not recoup those expenses when you sell.

How will your home compare to other homes in the neighborhood once remodeled? – Common real estate wisdom states that you should never have the nicest house on the block. Therefore, you generally don’t want to “over-improve” your home as compared to the neighboring houses, because you will not get back the cost of the renovation and your house might actually become more difficult to sell if it stands out. If you want to make changes that would make your house the nicest in the area, you should be committed to staying in the house long-term.

Compare the cost of moving to the cost of remodeling – Money may well prove to be the deciding factor when it comes to the remodel or move debate. Keep in mind that when it comes to moving, you need to take into consideration the expenses of selling your house (such as repairs and real estate agents), as well as the additional expenses of buying a house (such as closing costs and movers). When it comes to remodeling, you should get multiple estimates of the cost, and add an extra ten percent for unforeseen but inevitable expenses. However, you will have more financial flexibility when it comes to a remodel, since you can scale the project to fit your budget or make progressive changes as you can afford them.

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Our advise is based on experience in the mortgage industry and we are dedicated to helping you achieve your goal of owning a home. We may receive compensation from partner banks when you view mortgage rates listed on our website.

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