Move or Remodel?
This is a tough question that many people face. The need for more or less space due to changing family size is often a motivating factor. The need or simple desire for updates to a home also drives us.
Homeowners who love their location, neighbors and neighborhood lean more toward remodeling because they have almost everything they want and they are sure that updated master bath or expanded kitchen will do the trick.
However, if you have an extensive list of needs and wants not currently met in your current home or some fundamental needs are not being met – like safety, affordability and access to quality schools – a move may make more sense.
Ask yourself some basic questions:
- What is the pre-renovation value of your home? Ask your REALTOR® for an updated "comparative market analysis," or CMA, of your home. A CMA looks at variables for recently sold homes in your immediate area like the asking price, the selling price, and length of time on the market. REALTORS® generally agree if planned renovations will bring your house up to current values in the neighborhood, they are safe bets. If you exceed by too much, you won’t be able to recoup your renovation investment in any future sale.
- Are you happy with the neighborhood fundamentals? Meaning, are the basics good enough to stay for a while? Are you unhappy with the schools, safety and affordability?
- Are any life changes expected? No one has a crystal ball, but is your job stable or might you need to relocate within the next few years? Is our family size changing? Keep in mind that you won’t likely recoup 100 percent of your remodeling investment if you sell immediately after the work is done. Renovations make the most sense when your personal and financial life are stable.
- Will the project(s) increase your home's square footage? Renovations that add space, such as an added bathroom or an extra bedroom generally add more value to your home.
- Can the improvements be easily noticed during a 20 minute walkthrough? REALTORS® agree first impressions matter. Potential home buyers usually care more about the fancy amenities of the kitchen than the energy efficiency of new replacement windows or furnace. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the less noticeable changes, but be realistic about what might get noticed in any future sale.
- How much will a move cost? Consider everything from REALTOR® and movers fees to changes in property taxes, new furniture, to changes in utility costs.
Rest assured, you are not alone. Meeting with your REALTOR® and multiple contractors to address these questions and talking with friends and family who have lived through a similar decision will help you sort out what makes sense for today and tomorrow.