Relocate or Remodel

An excerpt from and article appearing in Remodeling Today

The economic conditions of the past few years have thrown a monkey-wrench into plans and dreams for so many homeowners.  Unfortunately many of us have had to adjust our goals and re-plan our futures.

With the real estate market in an unknown state, people are really nervous about selling their houses to buy newer, bigger homes. Many of us are making due with what they have and are “waiting out” the economy. However, many more of us are doing remodeling projects to upgrade our current homes until things get better.

If you have not already done so, it may be time to re-focus and possibly re-plan.  Fortunately, there are options that may actually be better than our original plans.

For those who need more space and thought the answer was to sell and buy a larger home, perhaps the solution to the space crunch is an addition or extension.  This solution also works well for accommodating merging families. Just as there are many considerations in the decision to relocate or remodel, there are many factors to consider in choosing to remodel your home in order to accommodate grown children or aging parents.

Perhaps the biggest issue in opting for extended family living is that of privacy.  With the proper remodel, good communication and firm agreements, this option can have many significant financial advantages.  Although the costs of running a larger household will be more than those of a single family unit, the costs will be less than those of two separate households.

Perhaps you want to downsize or prepare for a scaled back lifestyle or retirement of sorts.  In that case you may want to prepare your home for the next phase of your life.  Just because you may be retiring from your business activities certainly doesn’t mean you will be retiring from life.  This may be the perfect time to make those changes in your home to suit your new life-style.  This could include setting up a home office, hobby rooms or even private guest quarters for visiting family and friends.  Although guests won’t demand it, they will really appreciate a bedroom suite. If you are retiring and want to remain in your house, be sure to look into the many remodeling options for “aging in place.”

As you contemplate the advantages and disadvantages of moving vs. remodeling, there are definite location factors to consider.  These factors will depend on a number of things including your age and the age of your children, proximity to activities that you and your family enjoy, and the neighborhood itself.  If you have children in school, you may want to avoid disrupting them.  This is a strong incentive for remodeling instead of moving.  There may be other advantages to staying in your current home.  These could range from the actual block you live on, the tranquility or busyness of the area, the proximity to transportation or even your immediate neighbors. We tend to notice those things that we don’t like, but it is equally important to not overlook the advantages to staying where we are.  In making a decision, it is usually best to write down all the pluses and minuses to your current location and have your family do the same. You may find that there are significant advantages to staying in your current home.  In that case, remodeling will be a better choice for you and your family.

Assuming you decide to remodel instead of moving, keep in mind that a well-done renovation will add value to your home, so when the time does come to sell, your home will be worth significantly more.

If a careful analysis of your living situation indicates that it is time to sell, I urge you to find a home stager to assist in the process.  A good home stager will give you an honest assessment of your home, coordinate any needed repairs, assist with the re-arrangement of furniture and will help in the decoration of your home for a fast sale at the best possible price.

Whether you choose to remodel or to relocate it is vitally important that you choose to work with professionals who will help you optimize your future living arrangements.

Editor’s Note:

Lorraine Hart is the president of Ideal Consulting Services, a consulting firm with offices in NY, Texas and Florida.  Lorraine is a past president of the NYC, Long Island Chapter of NARI.