Remodeling can come in various shapes, sizes and levels of complexity. It may be as simple as painting a room or as complex as adding a second story onto your home. Statistics show that the average person moves once every six years, so why go to the time, effort, expense, and, sometimes, aggravation of a home remodel? Families consider remodeling for a variety of reasons.
The list is as long and as varied as there are homeowners but in each case they had to decide if remodeling versus moving to another home was the right answer for them. When considering whether to remodel or move, there are several factors you will want to think about. With your family, consider these questions.
1. If we moved, what additional costs would there be over and above the cost of the new home itself? According to the American Homeowner Foundation, selling your home and moving typically costs about 8-10% of the value of your current home. Much of this cost goes to moving expenses, closing costs and a real estate broker. So any comparison to the cost of a remodel would need to take this into account.
2. How important is your current location to you and your family? It is not very likely you will find a new home in your same neighborhood and school district. Moving to another neighborhood could change the schools your children attend as well as impact your daily commute. If staying where you are is important to you, then remodeling may be the answer.
3. How much room is there on your current lot? If you need to add a room, you will need to take into consideration what space there is on your land and if there are any setbacks or easements that could limit your usage. If you were thinking of adding a second story, you will need to check for any height restrictions in your area.
4. Do you have any time constraints? If your decision to either remodel or move is driven by, say a new addition to the family, you will need to determine if the remodel or a move are most likely to meet your timetable.
5. How long do you plan to stay in your home and if you remodel and what will it do to the value of your home? The general rule of thumb is that any remodeling project that brings your home's value up to the neighbor's is a worthy investment. Real estate experts recommend that a remodeling investment not over-improve (raise the value of your home) more than 10-15% above the median sales price in your neighborhood. If you over-improve, you will have to hope that when you sell your home, you can find a buyer who likes what you have done, loves the location and is willing to pay your price.
6. Will it cost more to remodel than find a house that has the features we are looking for? To answer this one, you will need to do some homework. Take some time to do some preliminary design work and talk with a contractor about estimated costs. Then, talk with your real estate professional about comparable homes in the areas in which you and your family want to live. If the cost of one choice is significantly more than the other, then you will need to determine if cost is the most important factor for you and your family. If the costs are roughly comparable then some of the other factors we've talked about here can help you determine what is right for you.
7. Can you to stay in your home during the remodel? If not, where will you and your family live and for how long? Ask your contractor what he/she recommends. In some cases, you can live in the home throughout the remodel but may be limited in using portions of the house such as the kitchen, a bathroom or a bedroom. In other instances you and your family will have to move out. If you can stay in your home, you will need to take into consideration whether your lifestyle will accommodate the chaos and confusion created by a remodel. As an example, if there is a new baby in the house, can your coexist with the noise that is normal to any building project?
Once you have answered these questions, you and your family can make an informed decision on what is the best way to create your dream home.