Moving to a new home is a big decision, and you may be unsure if you really need to move. Should you buy a new home, or remodel your current home? Is your current home enough? Or will you regret not moving? There are many factors that play into this decision, and considering each one can help you decide, and feel confident in your decision.
Should I Buy a New Home or Remodel?
When deciding whether to buy a new home or remodel, the most important factor to consider is what you’re really looking for and what needs you want your new or improved home to fill. Some of these are fairly simple to answer, and others require more deliberation. Most likely, a number of different needs will influence your decision. To help you decide, ask yourself what your top priority is, and why this is so important.
If you are considering moving because you’re looking for better schools, new neighbors, more security, or a different lifestyle, you need a new location. Some homeowners, especially growing families, aren’t sure if or how they can afford the neighborhood that they want. The following are some solutions, depending on what you're looking for.
- Better Schools: Often, the neighborhoods with the best schools are also the most difficult to buy a home in. School of Choice rules in Michigan, and many other states as well, allow parents to send their children to schools outside their district. This means you can buy a new home in an adjacent neighborhood and still send your kids to the best schools without a long drive.
- Secure Neighborhood: A secure neighborhood does not neccesarily mean a gated community. To find a family-friendly neighborhood, look for the following; streets with low speed limits, parks with play structures, libraries, churches, public pools, community centers, schools, and sports fields.
- Different Lifestyle: If you're looking for a quieter, family-oriented community, look again near schools and parks. If you want an more active lifestyle with sporting events, arts, and culture, look near larger cities or universities. For the best of both worlds, look in suburbs that are just outside the city.
- Growing Value: High-value neighborhoods can be difficult to get into. Some buyers look for fixer-uppers in upscale neighborhoods to get in at a good price, though this means you'll have a sale and a remodel on your hands. Looking at real estate data can also reveal up-and-coming communities where you can get a home at a great price that will increase in value over time.
If you’re debating buying a new home or remodeling for space, it’s helpful to know what you want that space for. Are you looking for extra bedrooms as your family grows? Do you want usable space for an office or home gym? Do you want a larger yard for your children to play? In some cases, it is possible to rearrange your current space to meet your needs. Here are some common space requirements homeowners face, and the best ways to solve them.
- Another bedroom: If your family is growing and you’re looking for more bedrooms, you can solve this several ways. Are the bedrooms large enough to turn one into two? This is a relatively affordable remodeling option. Could you finish the basement or attic to create a usable space? This can raise your home value.
- Two or more bedrooms: If you’ve outgrown your space and you often find yourself cramped, it may be time to move. Some homeowners consider a home addition, but keep the time and costs in mind. Also, ask yourself if these additions would value your home significantly higher than the rest of the neighborhood, as this can make it more challenging to find a buyer.
- Larger Kitchen: If the kitchen in your existing home is enclosed by a wall that is not load-bearing, you might remove it to create more kitchen space. If this is not the case, the expense to expand your kitchen probably won’t make financial sense, and it’s a good reason to move up to a larger space.
- Additional Bathroom: Remodeling an older bathroom is a feasible home improvement project, but adding another bathroom can quickly become expensive. If your current bathroom arrangement is hindering your schedule noticeably or creating challenges, it’s time to move up.
Are you tired of your 1960’s kitchen or 1970’s bathroom? Maybe you’re looking for more closet space, or a tub instead of a walk-in shower. There are any number of features you might prefer to change about your current home. The best way to decide whether to buy a new home or remodel in this case is to study the costs and extent of the project. Here are a few common cases:
- Update One Room: If your kitchen or bathroom has a dated appearance or features, this is a good chance to remodel and build some equity. Before you do, make sure that you’re ready to live in the home and enjoy your new updates for several more years. A big remodeling project will boost the value of your home, but you won’t recoup 100% of the remodeling investment.
- Home is Outdated: If the entire home is outdated beyond a few quirky decor choices, you’re unlikely to recover the costs of such a large remodeling project. If the collection of wood paneling, bathroom carpeting, tile countertops, and shag carpeting are driving your modern sensibilities crazy, consider moving rather than tackling all these updates.
- Updating lighting or plumbing: If you can’t run too many appliances together or your basement is perpetually damp, it indicates larger electrical or plumbing problems throughout the house, and remodeling is unlikely to help. Redoing the lighting or plumbing in the home is expensive, and doesn’t present good ROI.
- High heating or cooling costs: If your heating or cooling costs seem very high, you may be able to solve this with fairly low-cost home improvements. Replacing or installing new attic insulation, energy-efficient windows, or updating to an energy-efficient heating or cooling system can all increase your home value.
Deciding to leave your current home is a big decision, and sometimes you don’t have to. But if the location, the space, or the features just aren’t right for you anymore, you can use the equity you already have in your home to move up.
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