Should you renovate or relocate? Make a list and check it twice

Posted by on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 at 1:35pm.

It’s a decision that home owners toss around every day.  Should they sell their existing home and find a more suitable home in a better location?  Or, love the location and simply renovate to improve their home?   Both can be a hassle and both options can be exciting and if outside circumstances aren’t forcing you to pick between the two, how do you decide?

Here are some things to consider on your list of pros and cons.  Bear in mind there is no perfect answer, only a better answer.

What do you love and hate about your current home?

Pull out a notebook and make an honest to goodness list.  Pros on one side, cons on the other.  Once you’ve exhausted your list of good and bad, start examining it.   Your cons list will no doubt make you feel bad, but try to be objective and see if each item on your list can be fixed.  If you wrote that your home is too large, that’s hard to fix.  Too old?  Well, unless you gut it or knock the house down you can’t make it completely new.  This list will prove why your home doesn’t meet your needs anymore.  But what is possible to fix and what is impossible?    Is it a great house but in the wrong location?

Then check the pro column of your list.  How many of your points speak to the fantastic location of your home?  The location of your home is very important.  Safety, proximity to work and school, friends and neighbours.  These are things that can be lost if you move and difficult to replace.

Assess the cost of a renovation or improvement project

Next, it’s time to sharpen your pencil and see if that terrible house in the right location can be brought up to standard.  If you’re not a DIY person, here’s a sketch of home much typical projects cost as estimated by Angie’s List in the U.S.:

  • Kitchen Renovations - $30,000
  • Bathroom Renovations:  $20,000
  • Addition:  $85,000
  • Deck:  $5,000 to $25,000

An important consideration when calculating renovations costs is the reason for your renovation.  Is this to improve your home so that it’s more liveable or to increase the value as an overall investment strategy so you can move upmarket to a larger home?

The return on your investment might be a consideration for you.  A real estate professional can help you decide which items in your home would present the biggest return.  For example, let’s say you know that you need do renovate both upstairs and downstairs bathroom in your home.  You also need more living space downstairs but at the same time, the single garage off the back alley is inadequate and a double-garage makes more sense.  If a limited budget means you can only do one project at a time, which should you do first?  A real estate agent that knows the neighbourhood and the types of homes that sell best in your area can assist with this.

Get a Contractor

The decision to renovate needs to include the fact that you can find, retain and trust a good contractor.  Someone who “gets” what you want, someone who understands any financial limitations you might have and the time line that you might be on.  Then, be prepared for dust and traffic in and out of your home for the next 8 months to a year.

Renovating isn’t for you

After all of this pondering and list making and number crunching, you may decide that moving is the best option.  It makes more sense financially and you can always come back to your old street to visit people.  At least you know that you gave it serious thought and consideration which will help you move you and your family on to the next adventure.

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