Not so long ago, I had a crisis. We were getting ready to expand our family and I was terrified that our current home wouldn’t be able to accommodate. I, obviously, needed a bigger house. So, we set out to look at some uncomfortably large homes with equally uncomfortable price tags. Needless to say, I was discouraged. It wasn’t until we’d looked at half a dozen homes (we were under contract on one! yikes!) that I asked myself a question: Did we actually need to move or could we achieve our goals with a minimal remodel/redesign?
At the time I didn’t realize how important asking that question would be. So, if you’re in that same boat, ask yourself: should I move or remodel? It may be time to leave it all behind but you might also have the chance to make your current space work better with a few small tweaks. And, as someone who has moved seven times in their adult life…staying put is always the easier option! Get help with your decision with these smart things to consider.
Is Your Space No Longer Working for You? Things to Consider Before You Move or Remodel
Does it work out geographically?
We hear it time and time again: location, location location! The first thing you should determine is whether or not the location of your home is right as this will have the upper hand in your decision. You can’t change location. Maybe you want to be closer to work, a school, the grandparents, etc. If this is the motivation for you, a remodel is not going to cut it and you need to do what you need to do! However, it’s important to determine the weight each of those reasons for changing location hold in your life and the happiness proximity will bring you in the long term.
Does your current square footage make sense?
Before setting out on a mission to remodel, you need to determine if your home’s square footage is realistic for your needs. It has been said that each person living in a home needs 200-400 square feet of living space. However, with the pandemic I feel like this has quite possibly doubled (#amiright). Determine what seems realistically comfortable for you and yours and go from there. If you have a family of four in a 500 square foot cottage, a little remodel is unlikely to solve your problems. So get that calculator out and do a little math to determine whether or not your home has the space it needs. Unless you’re planning on a major addition, if the math does not work in your favor it may be time for a move. If you find that you do have adequate space, the next section is where you’ll want to begin!
Are there spaces you don’t use?
You like your location, you theoretically have enough square footage but you still feel squeezed in your space. Get to the point, Madison, do I move or remodel? There’s another step! Take a quick stroll through your house right now and analyze each space. Are there any that you don’t use?
Growing up I always thought that the idea of a formal living room was pure nonsense. A room that you can’t play in? Come on! Of course, what did I do when I became an adult? I created one of those rooms that looked pretty but never got used. The living room in our house is the biggest space we have but we never used it. After the whole move or remodel crisis, I set out to change this and holy smokes did it feel like our house doubled in size. Check out the transformation! Now we use this area every single night!
If you have a space in your home that was created out of tradition but never gets used….give it the axe and redesign it with function in mind. I’m talking formal living rooms, dining rooms, you name it! Repurpose it into a space you’ll actually use. You’ll be amazed how big your house actually becomes.
Look to the outdoors!
One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make is underutilizing their outdoor space. Whether it’s a tiny patio or a large sprawling backyard, there is always opportunity to create a more live-able space outside. Look for opportunities outdoors with something as simple as a bistro set on your patio or as extravagant as a gazebo and living area in your yard. I get it, depending on where you live, these spaces might be temporary but they’re sure to give you some extra wiggle room when the seasons are sweet! Make these spaces warm and inviting and with a purpose in mind so you’re sure to use them!
What changes can your home accommodate?
Take out a pen and paper right now (do people still use these?). The notes app, tell your Alexa, whatever! Just make a list! On that list write out all of the features that your home does not have that you wish it did. Okay, now sort those from your top priority to lowest and review the list. Which of those changes can your home realistically accommodate? If you have no yard and a pool is your tip top priority, it may be time to consider moving. But if you want your bathrooms updated, there is a good chance that a remodel could do the trick. Balance your desires with what your home can realistically accommodate.
What changes can your wallet handle?
Take your same list from above and start to add an estimated dollar amount to each wish. Just a ballpark is fine but Home Advisor has some great estimates if you’re struggling. Can your wallet handle the changes you want to make? Keep in mind that purchasing a new home comes with closing costs that you will literally sink into the transaction alone. The average cost to close on a home in the U.S. is $6,087. That’s a lot of dough that could be used to make some improvements to your current crib. It’s important to weigh the cost benefits of moving versus remodeling. You won’t ever see that $6K spent on closing costs again but you’d certainly enjoy a $6k bathroom remodel!
Is the real estate market in your favor?
As a real estate agent, one of the things I’ve been hearing a lot lately is “I can get so much for my home, why wouldn’t I sell?”. I always respond to that with “Yes, but where are you going to go?”. If you’re moving from a hot market to a cold market or between states/areas with different costs of living this can work in your benefit. However, if you’re moving up the street or to an even more competitive area, it doesn’t always make sense. Be sure to understand what you’ll get for your home and what you’ll pay before deciding to move so you don’t wind up in a pickle!
Are you going to move or remodel?
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to deciding on a move. But don’t lose sight of the options you have in your current space! You might have the opportunity to remodel and make your home better fit your needs. Whatever you decide to do, good luck!