Moving vs. Remodeling is an age old question that is very much alive today, now that the economy has somewhat bounced back and homeowners are spending more of their discretionary income on their homes.
Rather than agonize over whether to move or improve, we recommend gathering as much information as possible, considering all of your options, and making an educated decision that puts you and your family in the best possible position.
Moving or remodeling is a life decision, and most people can gain more clarity when they understand the reasons behind their desire for change. Are you considering moving because…
You want to live in a more desirable neighborhood?
You want to shorten your commute?
You want better access to a downtown area?
You want a larger or smaller yard?
Your at-home family is growing or shrinking?
You want to be closer (or further) from family?
You want a better interior layout or floor plan?
Your home is old and just needs too much work?
Your answers to questions like this will be a great starting point. You might find out that, based on your answers, remodeling is really not an option for you. Or you may surprise yourself and have a realization that you can transform your existing home to make it what you really want.
Ask a local real estate agent to give you a basic market analysis so you can get an idea of what your home is worth, what it might be worth after a remodel, and what homes in the area are selling for. Or if you don’t know a real estate agent to ask, you can do your own research on sites like Realtor, Zillow, and Trulia.
There are so many variables in making a decision like this that you want to assume as little as possible. The more information you can gather, the better.
We like to say that there are two categories of costs involved in remodeling or moving –Obvious Costs and Hidden Costs.
The obvious costs may include:
Cost of remodeling – contractors, architects, materials, etc.
Cost of purchasing a house
To help homeowners evaluate costs of various remodeling projects, we have compiled a comprehensive Estimated Remodeling Project Investment Costs Guide. However, there are many additional costs to either moving or improving that are often overlooked by homeowners, but they’re very real:
If you’re selling your house and moving, hidden costs may include:
Making small repairs to your existing home so it shows nice
Staging your home
Real estate commissions
Improvements to the home you are buying
Possible increase (or decrease) in mortgage interest rate
Possible increase (or decrease) in property taxes
If you’re remodeling, hidden costs may include:
Possibly staying in a hotel while work is being done
Eating at restaurants or take-out meals
Change orders for the remodeling project
This is where your trusted professionals, such as remodeling contractors and real estate agents, can really help. These may be seemingly insignificant “hidden” costs, but they can definitely add up and influence your decision-making process.