Should You Move or Remodel Your Home?
To buy a new home and move in or to remodel and stay for the long haul? That is the question.
This is one of the trickiest decisions to make because there is no right answer for everyone – and there may not even be a clear answer for you! You’ll have to trust your gut, but this is a lot easier when you are armed with the right knowledge to make an informed decision.
Note: sometimes there is, in fact, a clear option, such as learning you are expecting triplets and currently live in a 2-bedroom home!
Ultimately, the decision to move to a new home or remodel your current one can be broken down into three core parts:
- Which choice makes sense financially?
- With a remodel, can your current home support the changing needs of your life for the next 3, 5, or 10+ years?
- What do you really want from your home?
We will touch on each of this points to give you a head start in the decision-making process, but we encourage you to dig deeper by consulting with your financial advisor, a realtor, and a contractor (you can reach us here) to help you crunch the numbers. Don’t forget to factor in your family’s needs and feelings on the subject as well.
Okay, let’s dive in.
Does it make sense financially to move or remodel your home?
As the housing crisis of 2008 gets further away, some experts have come to believe that while buying a home can often be a smart decision, it is not always (in fact rarely) a good investment. This isn’t a finance blog, so we won’t go into the details, but suffice to say that if you think about a new home as a purchase, rather than an investment, it can often help put this important decision into perspective.
After the moving costs, new home expenses, and the projected cost of living in the new home are factored in, ask yourself simply: can you really afford it? Be brutally realistic – this is not the time to let emotion drive your decision (more on that below).
Remember, a new home’s price tag is much lower than what you’ll end up spending over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Of course, if you do the math and know you are financially prepared for a move as well as emotionally ready to do so, then it may be right for you and your family.
However, if moving is a financial stretch, or you think your quality of life will not be the same in another area, then you should examine the feasibility of a home remodel. Examine your life plan (see next section) and make sure the planned remodel fits your projected needs for the next decade or longer. Factor in job security, additional children, the needs of teenagers, and your own lifestyle goals.
Consult a contractor. If a remodel can meet your near- and mid-term living needs, you should get an estimate and speak with a financial advisor. The upfront cost of a remodel might be more than the initial costs of moving, but be aware that a newer, bigger home, will probably cost more overall.
Of course, you might also be able to tap into your home equity to help pay for the remodel, which would give you a “new” home, and keep you in a neighborhood you are fond of. The best of both worlds, perhaps!
Again, this is not financial advice – it is intended to help you think about the many aspects involved in a decision like this.
Could a remodel of your current home meet your changing needs?
If a remodel is a viable option, it’s time to dig deeper. Do you or will you need more space or do you need more rooms? Look at your life, and where you see it going in 3, 5, and 10+ years. Do you plan to have kids? Do you already have kids and plan to have more? Is it possible an elderly parent may need to move in with you? Before the prospect of more people in the house drives you toward buying a new one, think about what you can do to make your current home more accommodating.
A spacious 2- or 3-bedroom home can often be converted into a 3- or 4-bedroom home with other divisions such as turning part of a basement into a playroom. The name of the game here is efficiency. Many homeowners find after careful consideration that they just need more rooms for different uses, rather than more space.
This efficiency can also be applied to other rooms, such as combining the kitchen and dining room or dividing your living room into two smaller rooms for additional utility.
Of course, if you are in a home with modest room size, or expecting additions to the family that simply require more space than you have, then an addition might be the right choice. Whether it is adding another section to your home, or building a second floor above a single story portion of your home, adding more space to your existing home can potentially save a lot of money when compared to buying a new home with a larger square footage.
Finally, are you looking for a new space, rather than just more space or more efficient space? If a change of scenery is what you are after, and it makes sense financially, then ask yourself if a remodel will really give you that feeling of newness that you are seeking.
What do you really want from your home?
It may sound like a tired cliché, but once you’ve addressed the financial considerations for both options, and made a blueprint of your life for the next decade or more, it’s time to ask the final question: is your current home in your heart?
Do you and/or your kids have inseparable friends in the neighborhood? Do you have more positive than negative memories in your current home? How do you feel about your location, the surrounding area, and the local government? And does the new home and location offer the potential of a newer, better standard of living, or is it only more affordable?
If you find that you are truly undecided, keep in mind that about 70% of homeowners in your position end up staying put and remodeling their home to fit their changing needs. This might be a strong case to stay if the decision isn’t clear or weighted heavily in one direction or another.
Finally, remember that a major remodel can make it more difficult to move soon after, but the option is still there. If you sell the home and move to a new one, there is (almost) no going back.
In conclusion, to make the most informed decision possible, you need to address the financial, lifestyle, and emotional questions about whether to move or remodel your home.
At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services, including home remodeling, to the Tristate area. So, if you are looking for a safety-compliant, fully insured, highly reputable company for your next home improvement job, we are it!
For more information about how we can make your home remodeling project a success, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.