No matter how much you love your home, there may come a time when the design of your space no longer fits your needs. A once cozy kitchen now feels too small, or that charming bathroom with original detailing now feels weathered. When a home’s quirks start to feel like problems, it may be time to move on. But what if you love your neighborhood, or your yard—is it better to stay and remodel?
For some homeowners, the question of whether to remodel their home or move to a new one requires an answer that isn’t always simple. Homes are a big investment and moving can be a large, detailed undertaking. Weighing the pros and cons of remodeling or renovating versus moving may help make the decision easier. Here are some things to consider.
If your current home had an open-concept kitchen, would you stay?
Remodeling Your Current Home
Remodeling gives you the opportunity to flex your design chops and customize your home to personal specifications—you can make minor changes or major upgrades. You'll get the benefits of crafting a home that you've tailored to your personal tastes as well as your family's need. That wallpaper you love may be too bold for a potential buyer, but it will brighten your day each time you enter your powder room. Converting your mud room into a "dirty" kitchen may not raise your resale value, but it might help to bring more zen into your cooking routine. Remodeling will allow you to add in elements of universal design which you may appreciate as the needs of your family change (like removing a tub and adding a barrier-free shower with an interior bench). If you love your neighborhood and don’t want to leave, remodeling could be a viable solution for keeping you in your desired location. Remodeling will also allow you to make changes at your own pace, so you can add the basement guest bathroom and wait a bit before combining your family room and kitchen into that open-concept dream. Going at your own speed instead of remodeling all at one time can be kinder to your wallet, as well.
While the benefits of remodeling are numerous, so are the potential disadvantages. Unless you move to temporary housing, you’ll be living in a construction zone. You'll need to weigh the effect this will have on you and your family. Will you be sharing a guest bath while your master is renovated? What's your plan for preparing meals while the kitchen is being remodeled? Keep in mind, if you are a DIYer with a full-time job and are planning to do the work yourself, the pace of the renovation may be slower than hiring a professional. Hiring a project manager to oversee any contractors or workmen will make the process easier, but it’s still your job to regularly connect with the PM to ensure schedule and budget goals are being met. Do you have time for the extra responsibility?
Moving to a new home offers a fresh start.
Moving to a New Home
The lure of moving is the chance to upgrade to a new space that’s already plush, no major work needed. Even an older (but new to you) renovated home could be the solution for all the issues in your previous abode. Moving allows a fresh start figuratively and literally—it’s an opportunity to leave your old interior (even furniture!) behind and start from scratch with new design ideas. If your current space needs more than just a few rooms remodeled, a new home may be cheaper than overhauling your existing one. Moving isn’t just about the home—relocating offers the chance to get into a neighborhood more conducive to your needs and lifestyle. To make your search easier, check out our guide on how to decode a real estate listing.
In this debate, buying a house isn’t all rainbows. Unless you work with an architect to customize the design and build of your home, a new home with builder specs may not satisfy everything on your wish list. With mortgage rates fluctuating, starting a new mortgage may not be a sound financial move, especially if you are close to completing the one on your present home. Beyond the financial, the process of finding a new home can take months—in that time, you might have gotten a healthy start at renovating or remodeling your existing home.
Ask yourself questions like: Are we getting what we need out of our home and can it grow with us? Are we living in the neighborhood we most desire? Can either our home or neighborhood be improved if we move? Most importantly, can we afford it? Whether you stay put and remodel your current home or purchase a new place to live, both decisions require a deep dive into thinking about one’s finances and family needs. For inspiration while you consider your next step, check out these before and after examples of how others have chosen to remodel the kitchens and baths in their homes.