Remodel or Move?

Remodel or Move?Many time, a real estate agent is asked to give tips to home sellers.  After living in a home for a while, owners face the question: should I remodel or move out?  The answer is: it depends.

Ask yourself include what you are trying to achieve, how much budget you have, and how long you anticipate living in the finished results. Sometimes, it can be less expensive to move into a property that’s a better fit from the start than to noodle around with what you’ve got.

In either case, a well-designed home can function different ways for different families – or for the same family as its family changes over time. Empty-nesters tend to want more entertainment space inside and out. Families with children entering the teen years might sacrifice lawn for more living areas inside.  It’s your life and your choice.

  • A little updating could smooth these transitions and fix whatever it is that has been bothering you.  The simplest fix is rearranging the furniture, freshening the paint job, and adding new accessories.  A staging professional can provide suggestions for this type of re-do.
  • If you plan a larger project, a real estate agent can advise you about which improvements are a good bet in the marketplace. Updating kitchens and baths usually provide the best return on money spent.
  • Working within your existing roofline and footprint is usually easier than adding space. If you do expand, make sure the square footage is proportionate. This means that the shared living spaces support the number of bedrooms and visa versa. Keep an eye on the bottom line. You don’t want to exceed what the market will bear when it’s time to sell.
  • When estimating costs, be sure to include the expense of demolition, as well as the cost of eating meals out.  You might even have to live elsewhere during construction.  Budget for landscape repairs as well, because plants can get trampled.
  • Think your plan through carefully, and then stick to it.  It is soooo easy to get carried away during renovation.  Remember that change orders are costly.
  • Always, always file the proper permits for your remodeling.  There is a line on the Seller’s Disclosure form asking if any work was done without permit.
  • Try to anticipate future access or upgrades to wiring and plumbing before you close up the walls. Take a picture during and after construction to record where the new lines can be found.
  • And when your remodeling job is finished, call your insurance agent and upgrade your policy.  You really want that new addition or kitchen insured.

Your home is an investment you want to grow with time. But unlike owning stocks and bonds, you actually live in your home. It’s hard to put a number on how you value your home, street and neighbors. Don’t discount the pleasure of living in it!

Roger Martin