Should you move or renovate? This is a question every homeowner faces at some point in their life. Perhaps you’re debating between a house or condo. Your home is outdated and you’re unsure if you’ll make your money back in renovating it.
Or perhaps you’re feeling like you’ve outgrown your house and it’s looking tired and drab. A change of living space could provide a new excitement about your home – but can you afford a new house? Do you love the neighbourhood you’re in?
There isn’t a hard and fast answer to this question because a lot depends on who you’re talking about. The goals of a young family are different than those of a couple approaching retirement. But asking these questions can help make that decision easier.
Move or Renovate: What are your goals?
This is possibly the hardest question. You need to sit down and think about what you want in life. Do you need to save for your kids’ education, are you saving for retirement or do you have plans to start your own business? These are all questions you need ask yourself. You need to determine if you can afford to move or renovate and if that cost, whatever it is, fits in with your other long-term life goals.
What do you want in your new home?
Are you looking for a more functional kitchen, updated bathrooms or does your family need a whole new space because it’s expanding? Determine what you need from your home and see if it’s more cost efficient to renovate or if it’s a smarter choice to buy a new place to save you from the stress of renovations.
Move or Renovate: Do you like where you live now?
Are you in love with your neighbourhood? Do you have an affinity to the coffee shop, local grocery, butcher shop and dry cleaner? What about the school your kids go to? Are all of your neighbours your closest friends? Imagine waking up on a new street or in a new condo building and how that would make you feel.
Do you have money to renovate?
Get a few contractors in to take a look at your home or condo to give you a sense of what you can and can’t do. Talk to your condo board to see how they handle renovations in the building, and talk to others who have been-there-done-that. Some experts say that it’s smart to have an extra 25 per cent in budget in case things go wrong or you end up catching a case of the “let’s do that too!”
Is it a smart financial decision?
A short-term investment in our homes in the form of renovations — even small ones — can pay massive dividends down the road. Some minor renovations can help make your current home or condo the #dreamhome you’ve always wanted while increasing the value, leaving you with more pocket cash when you eventually decide to sell.
Once you’re able to gather all of the critical information needed to aid in your decision, you should still weigh the pros and cons of your decision.
Advantages of Moving:
- You don’t have to live in a construction zone. If remodeling your home would require an invasive project like a bathroom or kitchen remodel, moving could save you from dealing with the mess and the stress. A major kitchen overhaul could leave you without a place to prepare food for months, after all. This can be inconvenient and costly.
- You don’t have to deal with contractors. While remodeling your home could seem ideal, dealing with contractors is rarely stress-free. There are always hiccups when you remodel or build, and not everyone wants to deal with the drama or the expense.
- You can purchase a home that’s 100% turnkey. If you can afford it.
Disadvantages of Moving:
- You may not get exactly what you want. One major reason home prices have been rising is the lack of inventory – and that means you may not have a ton of options in your desired area.
- You may have to leave an area you love. If you love your current neighborhood and can’t find something bigger in your area, leaving the area to get what you want can be a major disadvantage. You may love your new house, but what if you don’t love your new neighborhood or your child doesn’t like their new school?
- Moving is expensive.
Advantages of Renovating:
- You can plan a remodel to meet your exact specifications. Dreaming of a blue kitchen and spa-like bathroom. They can both be yours, exactly how you want them, in your home or condo.
- If you love your neighborhood, you don’t have to move. Remodeling lets you stay where you’re at, which can be a huge advantage if you love the local schools, your neighborhood, or the area in general.
- You can avoid the costs of moving and selling your home, and put that towards your custom renovation.
Disadvantages of Renovating:
- You’ll probably face some surprise expenses. This is especially true if you are taking on a large-scale project that includes tearing down walls, moving plumbing, and so forth. Remodeling budgets tend to run higher than expected.
- Remodeling can be a pain. Home improvement process can be mentally tough, especially when you’re dealing with budgets, contracts, contractors, product selections, and potential delays. Depending on how intrusive the remodel is, you might have to live in a construction zone for months or even stay with family or in a hotel during the worst of it.
Regardless of your decision in the end, it should be one that you and your spouse and family come to together. Both are exciting opportunities in your life so whichever you decide, go forward with confidence knowing you’ve weighed all of your options together.