Renovate vs Buy a Newer Home
Deciding whether to buy a newer home or stay put and invest in renovations is one of the hardest choices to make.
There are a number of questions to ask yourself that will help make the choice a little clearer.
Being realistic about your budget is key when deciding if you should renovate or buy a newer home. Renovation costs can surpass the initial budget, thanks to unforeseen issues such as rotten floor joists or not-to-code electrical. These problems have to be fixed, but may go above the original amount you set aside for a new bathroom and pot lighting. If your budget is fixed, looking for a new property within that exact range may be the safest way to go.
Time Keeps On Slipping
If you’re leaning toward renovations, another factor to consider is time. Remodeling a home can take a lot of it; a full kitchen redo can take three to six months to complete. If adding another bedroom is what your family needs to stay put, you can be looking at a month or two for that project. Living in a renovation zone can be inconvenient and unsettling, especially when you have small children. The daily upheaval needs to be considered before launching into a full-scale reno.
Buying a Newer Home
Think about why you need to change (or renovate!) your home. Is the space just too small for a growing family, even with a bedroom addition? Is the location loud or is the street really busy (in a bad way)? If there are factors beyond your control contributing to this desire to move, listen to them and start looking at listings.
Room Of One’s Own
One of the most common reasons people start thinking about moving into a newer home is the need for more bedrooms. Whether there’s another kid on the way or the in-laws are moving in, more square footage is a popular reason to move. Often, a smart designer can rejig a floorplan to find underused space and create another fully functioning room. It may be less disruptive than a move, but if you can’t find a spot to spread out, it’s time to start packing.
Before deciding to renovate or buy a newer home, look at both options as an investment and figure out which path pays out. Ideally, you want the eventual sale price of an updated home to at least cover the cost of those structural changes. Some renos can recover their costs while others barely hit the halfway mark. Make sure your design ideas equal dollars. If you buy a newer home, calculate whether you’ll stay at the property long enough to make the moving costs (and stresses) worthwhile. On average, it takes about five to seven years to earn back the upfront costs of moving and setting up a new home.
Before you decide to sell or renovate your current home, think about why you're making the change and what makes sense for you – now, and in the future. By working through this list of considerations, you should have enough info to let yourself and your family know — will you stay or will you go?