For many of us, there comes a time when we face the dilemma: should I remodel my old house or should I think of buying a new one? Both options have their pros and cons, which does not make the process of solving the dilemma any easier. So the best way to make a choice is to break down each option into separate parts and thoroughly examine them. You will need to know all the positive and negative aspects of the two options regarding the costs, the timeframes, your physical and psychological resources, and the emotional background of the matter. The latter is something most people tend to overlook.
In this article, we will try to figure out the way to approach the problem of choosing between remodeling and buying a new house, giving you a guide that we hope will help you out.
The Key Factors to Consider
When it comes down to choosing between remodeling and buying a new house, the main two factors anyone should consider are money and time. Note that these two factors are more than just how much you can spend for any of the options and do you have enough time for taking care of business. In reality, the money factor is also about whether it is a good idea to change anything in your life right now — maybe your mortgage program will not allow you to buy a new home, or the market prices have gone too high over the past few years, etc.
The same goes for the time factor. It’s not only about how much time either of the options will take. It’s also about the proper timing of taking up a house renovation or moving to a new place. Is it a good time for you and your family for such significant changes? Is it a good time for any kind of money investment at all?
For the final part of this article, we will get back to these and other important questions one will have to ask themselves when considering whether they should move or remodel. But for now, let’s stick to the plan and take a look at other key factors concerning the problem. Since we have already touched upon the money and time factors, the next include your personal resources (both physical and psychological) and emotional preparedness for the venture you’re about to go through. As with the former two factors, the latter also includes several minor issues we will mention below.
Important to note
So here they are, the factors you will have to tackle when trying to decide whether you need a new house or you will only do some remodeling for your existing one:
- The money factor
- The time factor
- The resources factor
- The emotional factor
1. The money factor
We’ll start by exploring the money factor. What you should know from the get-go is that whatever you choose, you will have to invest either way. The trick here is that usually, remodeling your existing home may get quite cheaper than buying a new one. Besides, you don’t have to move anywhere, especially if you like your neighborhood, and your kids won’t have to lose friends, etc. However, the cost of house renovation will always depend on what exactly you want to do with your house.
For instance, if it’s minor renovations in several house areas, then there’s hardly any real need for a new house. A major do-over is an altogether different thing. If your house needs a complete renovation, then you will most likely need to get a loan to be able to pay your general contractor and buy all the necessary materials. Plus, you will probably need to move out of your house while it’s under reconstruction. This means additional expenses on a hotel or a rented residence.
The thing with the massive house renovation is that it is something that you will not be able to do on your own (unless you are an experienced professional). Anyway, you will need to purchase materials, tools, and other equipment and a team to help you. So there is no way to save big on a major renovation. The size of money investment may reach thousands of dollars. Whereas, when buying a new home, you will get some cash from selling your old one.
However, the money factor goes a bit deeper than that. Before making decisions, your best choice will be to do research on the real estate market to get a better understanding of the moment. Maybe you should take time and lay off your plan of buying a new house right now.
Another thing is your mortgage situation and your savings. A house renovation will require immediate expenses, whereas moving to a new house may cost you more shortly after.
And finally, when considering a house renovation, note that it may probably raise your house’s price should you decide to sell it in the future.
2. The time factor
Both remodeling and moving to a new place will take time. But at least, with remodeling, you get the approximate timeframe. Usually, a contractor will give you the information on how long the remodeling process will take. However, this timeframe is subject to change due to various situations that may come along the way.
If you decide to relocate first, you will need to sell your house. Putting your existing house on sale and looking for a buyer may take ages. The same goes for looking for a new place for your and your family to move to. At times, the process may get demotivating and even depressing.
Plus, the time factor includes a proper understanding of the moment. You will have to ask yourself a question: is it really a good time to move? Are you ready for it? Is your family ready for such radical changes? The real estate market situation at the moment will also have to be one of your basic concerns. Sometimes it is better to hold on a bit and wait for the right moment for whatever you decide to do. Especially if your choice is relocating.
3. The resources factor
This factor can easily be replaced with one simple question: Are you ready for it? You will need to assess the physical and psychological preparedness of yourself and your family members. Patience is what you’re going to need, whatever option you choose: relocating or house remodel. Both options will take time for a variety of reasons, so you will have to learn to wait.
Another thing that is extremely important is the ability to accept radical changes in your life. If you’re moving to the opposite part of your town or moving to another city, this means changing everything you and your family grew accustomed to. This is especially difficult for most kids and teenagers. Your children will have to leave their friends behind and go to a new school. Your whole family will have to get used to new surroundings, new neighbors, new commute routes, etc. While for some, this may seem an inspiring experience, still, most Americans don’t fancy the idea of moving. Mostly for the reasons mentioned.
Compared to buying a new house, renovation seems quite easier in terms of personal resources. You get to stay in your current house and your well-known neighborhood.
There is virtually no stress in a renovation. At least, not as much as you would get moving to a new residence.
4. The emotional factor
Finally, there comes the emotional factor. Something you may not consider too important, but you will be wrong by thinking so. If you have lived for quite a long time in one house, you get emotionally attached to the place. Tons of memories will tie you to these rooms. Many people find it extremely hard to leave their existing homes for this exact reason – they have too many memories and feelings for them. If that’s your case and you cherish memories and how much your existing house means to you and your family emotionally, your best option is to stay and make the best out of the place if it’s impossible.
On the other hand, if you’re not the sensitive type and consider relocating as the beginning of a brand new phase in your life and you’re looking forward to seeing new places and meeting new people, go for it. Of course, if you have thought about all the previously mentioned factors.
Remodel VS Relocate: the Pros & Cons
In this part of our article, we will break the remodel-vs-relocate dilemma into the pros and cons of each option.
The pros of house remodel:
- It’s cheaper than buying a new house – you get to save a lot more money if you choose to stay put and do some investment in improving something that you already have;
- Remodeling lets you design the home of your dreams– if you choose to start a house renovation process, you get to decide what exactly your house will look like when the job is done. You will be able to give the place your personal touch according to your own taste;
- It will make your home more expensive– when completed, remodeling will increase the market value of your home. So should you decide to put it on sale sometime after, you will be able to name a higher price.
The cons of house remodel:
- It may take time, effort, and major expenses– if you decide to make a complete house renovation, you will have to invest big time. Plus, such a project will take much time and you will need to move out of your house for the whole period of the renovation process;
- Pretty often, house remodeling is one big headache – you will have to take care of numerous things including choosing and contacting a general contractor and always controlling the ongoing process. Major remodeling will also mean certain financial issues – taking loans, calculating the budget, and trying to stay within its limits;
- Your house is going to be a mess – during a remodeling process, your house will be filled with construction debris, dust, etc;
- You may face hidden expenses and delays – these are not rare for home renovations. As the process goes, some hidden costs may occur along the way, so you will most likely go beyond your budget. Delays also happen quite often for various reasons.
- You’re up for a new phase in your life– sometimes there is nothing better than moving to a brand new place and starting your life all over again. If you decide to relocate, you get new career opportunities, you will meet new people, etc;
- You don’t have to turn your house into a construction site –if you buy a new home, most likely you won’t have to start any major renovations there. Maybe you will want to repaint walls in a room or two, change a couple of faucets or a showerhead, and that’s it. Nothing like the nightmare of major remodeling in your existing house;
- Real estate is a great investment opportunity– when selling your old house, you may get some extra money without extra taxes. Plus, buying a new residential property is always a good investment idea.
The cons of relocating:
- Moving can get pretty stressful – for some, relocating is a stressful experience. Especially if you have kids who will have to attend a new school and make new friends;
- Mind moving costs – another thing about relocating is moving costs. Prepare to fork out;
- You may not find what you’re looking for – when looking for the best residence for yourself, you have to prepare to settle for less than what you dream about.
Some Important Questions to Ask Yourself
Before we move to the conclusion, here are some important questions that will get you to understand what exactly you want to do – remodel your current house or move to a new place:
- Will staying put do you any good?
- Do you have enough money for relocating?
- Will remodeling take changing structural elements of your house (that would significantly raise the overall budget of the project)?
- Will you gain anything by renovating your current house?
- If you move to a new place, how will it affect your mortgage?
- Will relocating have a negative effect on property taxes?
At the end of the day, moving to a new place or staying put and improving a current residence is a strictly personal decision. The solution to this dilemma lies in answering several practical questions, assessing your financial possibilities, your preparedness for hardships that may come along the way, and your emotional state. A proper understanding of the moment is also important. You don’t want to venture into such a difficult thing as moving if it’s not good for your family at the moment, or if a real estate situation is far from what you would hope for. The same goes for the renovation plans – you must always assess the situation and your possibilities.
Either way, each case is different. For some, buying a new home and moving to a new place is a better option. Some would choose to improve their existing residence. The main thing here is being happy with your choice whatever it is.