Homeowner Tips | Relocating vs. Renovating

 couple renovating home

When you’ve outgrown your home or are in need of an update, you have two options: renovate or relocate.

Each require research and time, and unfortunately there is no short answer. You’ll have to look at factors like what make the most financial sense, emotional attachment to the home, and what are absolute must-haves are. To reach a conclusion, here are a few questions we think you need to answer as well as homeowner tips for helping you make the best decision for you.

What Are You Looking For?

When it comes to remodeling, a lot of homeowners don’t exactly know what they want when they decide to stick with their current home and just plan an upgrade. Most plans usually start with the homeowners knowing what they want in a general sense, like, “I want more space,” but, after a project starts, wish they could change the plan. That can lead to an increase in cost of time and materials. A few known forgotten considerations when remodeling include:

  1. The exterior of your home. If you plan on adding an additional room, this can affect the facade of your home resulting in repainting or re-siding.
  2. Plumbing. Will this renovation include adding a bathroom? If not, will it have easy access to a bathroom. Here’s an example: you decide that you’re going to remodel your unfinished basement and turn into a gameroom. You may think “It’s fine, we can just go upstairs to use the restroom.” How long do you think it’ll be before you wish you had included a bathroom?
  3. Heating and cooling. How will this remodel affect your existing system? If it doesn’t have the power to heat/cool the new addition, you’ll have to factor in a new HVAC system.
  4. The ceiling plan. People often get so wrapped up in the floor plan that they forget about the ceiling plan. Basically, you want to make sure that the ceiling doesn’t expose the renovation. So no seams or dips.

If you opt to move instead, you need to consider what you are looking for not only in your new house but also a new neighborhood. People will often look at things like schools and crime rate, but some other factors that should look into like:

  • Getting around: How accessible are things like restaurants, pharmacies, and grocery stores? If you rely on (or just like) being able to walk or take public transportation, looking at thing like Walk Score and the local transit system is imperative. Even just plugging your potential new address into Google Maps is a great way to get a feel for what is nearby.
  • What’s Happening in the Neighborhood: If you noticed that there are a lot of homes for sale in the neighborhood, or on the sale street, as the house you are looking at, there is probably a reason. It could be that that area was hit hard during a recession, while this could benefit you now by buying at a lower price, it can also mean that it will take some time before the property value goes up, meaning you will have to be comfortable staying in that house for a while.

How Much Time Do You Have?

A home renovation is a long-term commitment. Most remodels require at least three months to accomplish and the time can be extended depending on the project. One thing to consider when looking at the time commitment is, how long can you last in a construction zone? If you plan on living at home while the renovation is happening, you won’t be able to use that part of your space during the construction. It’s a tip we feel is worth noting as it can be overlooked in the initial excitement of dreaming up the outcome.

On the flip side, buying a home can take just as long, if not longer, than a remodel. If you decide to relocate, here is a laundry list of items you need to consider as you plan to make the move. 

  1. Finding a real estate agent. You want to find someone you can trust because they will be the one advocating for you during negotiations so you want to make sure you have confident that they have your best interest in mind.
  2. Applying for a mortgage. You will want to make sure that you have all of your documentation together. Also, if you have received a down-payment gift, it will need to be in your account for a minimum of 60 days.
  3. Going to open houses and showings. While one showing might not take that long, the chances of you loving the first house you visit is pretty slim.
  4. The inspection and appraisal process can take up to two weeks. Even though the inspector may only be at the house for a few hours, the appraisal report is typically lengthy and can take some time to generate.
  5. Once you get through all of that, it’s time to go through closing, which is currently averaging around 50 days before everything is finalized.

Can You Stick To A Budget?

Realistic budgeting is vital in deciding whether to update your current home or look for a new space. Depending on the types of renovations you’re thinking about doing, the age of your home and the amount of equity could help tilt your decision in a certain way.  If you will be financing your remodel, you will need figure out how much a home equity loan or line of credit will cost in comparison to a new mortgage. Should you decide to go down the new-mortgage route, there are other decisions you’ll have to weigh like should you chose a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage.

When thinking about how much of a remodel loan you need, make sure to calculate the product costs, labor costs, as well as some cushion incase a problem arises.

Will You Be Over Renovating?

Yes, there is such a thing as over renovating. This would be where your home no longer fits in with the rest of the neighborhood post-remodel. Over renovating will cause you to see less return when you decide to sell. If your neighborhood is full of one-story, starter homes adding a second story may not yield the return you were hoping for.

Whether you decide to renovate or choose to look for a new location, it is important that you have someone on your side. Contact us and let us help you make the choice that’s best for you. 


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