If you’re a homeowner and feeling restless in your current living situation, you’re likely deciding whether to renovate or relocate. Now that we’re all spending more time at home, this unrest can feel even more amplified.
Whether you are looking for a change of scenery or more space, there are pros and cons to both renovating and moving – and some of the factors, such as market conditions, are out of your control.
Below, we’ll walk through some questions to ask yourself (and your family) before you decide. We also have a flowchart at the end of the article to see whether you should renovate or relocate.
1. Cost: Will it be cheaper for your family to renovate or to move?
To make your decision easier, start with cost first. A lot of factors go into the short-term and long-term expenses associated with both renovating and moving.
Moving can be a chance to make money, but remember that you’ll then have to take on a new mortgage and pay moving costs. You should also factor in your current mortgage cost, your savings, and your equity.
Renovating usually requires upfront costs that may pay off later down the road. Ask yourself how extensive the renovations will need to be in order for you to feel comfortable in your home. A home remodel costs $46,503 on average, but you can cut down these costs by focusing on certain rooms such as a bedroom or kitchen.
2. Emotional attachment: Will you and your family miss your current home?
Once you’ve figured out the costs associated with both renovating and moving, now consider the emotional implications. Are you and your family ready for a whole new chapter, or will you miss the memories and connections made at your current address?
Many of us don’t realize how strongly we connect to our homes until we move. This may be the place your daughter took her first steps or the place you last hugged your ailing parent. On the other hand, it may also be a home full of bad or sad memories that you are looking to get away from – this can be especially true after a tragic death or divorce.
If you have children, make sure to talk with them and hear their thoughts on moving before you ultimately decide. Hearing their thoughts and feelings could help you sort through your own emotional attachment to the home.
3. Current housing market: Is it a good time to sell?
We recommend bringing in an expert for this next step. Market conditions play a major role in the profitability of a house sale, so it’s important to be informed before you list your house. Is the current real estate market cooperating? How have other houses nearby that recently hit the market fared?
There are also seasonal trends to look out for. If you list your home in spring and summer it’s more likely to sell at or above your asking price. COVID-19 has also shaken up longstanding real estate trends, with some areas seeing huge demand while other cities are struggling.
4. Timing: Is this a good time for your family to move?
It’s true what they say: timing is everything. Even if it makes perfect sense for your wallet to sell your home, you may not have the bandwidth to handle the months-long, stress-inducing process. In fact, a majority of Americans agree that moving is the most stressful life event – it even beats out getting a divorce!
Moving to a new zip code can also impact life events and activities you and your family are involved in. For your kids, moving to a new school district might mean having to make new friends and join new extracurricular teams. For you and your spouse, a new address could bring a longer commute and higher mortgage rates. Plus, if you get stuck with a new bad neighbor, that can take an emotional toll.
Many times renovating comes with more upfront costs than moving does, so if your family is saving for college tuition, wedding, or another big expense, selling at the right time could mean gaining a lot of equity versus spending when you should be saving.
Still haven’t decided on whether to renovate or relocate? This flowchart from The Zebra will provide some additional insights and recommendations.
Source: TheZebra.com with this graphic.