Is it Time to Renovate or Should You Just Throw in the Towel?

Maybe the time has come when the dream home you bought and loved isn’t so dreamy any more. Your tastes have changed, your family has gotten bigger — or smaller — or maybe it was a starter home and you’re ready to start thinking about an upgrade. If that’s true, you’ve likely been wondering if you can remake the dream in the house you’re in or if it’s time to go shopping. The decision is a daunting one, but a few simple questions will help make it whole lot easier.

First of all, what is your budget?

Renovations cost money, there’s just no way around that. If you are in need of additional space, a different layout, or a new outdoor setting, you’re going to have to spend some money to make that happen. While some changes can be made with minimal cost, changes that require demolition, reconstructing, re-flooring, or switching out appliances are going to cost a lot up front.

If you have a very small budget and some drastic changes, you’re likely better off looking for a new home that better suits your needs. However, if you love your location and have the money to invest, renovating is worth considering. One determining factor might be the equity you have in your home now, since for most homeowners that is the most advantageous source of funds for even minor renovations.

Now, what’s really wrong?

You’re unhappy for a reason. Maybe you’ve outgrown your current home. Or those dated kitchen appliances may be dragging you down. Whatever the cause, it’s resulted in you not being happy with your current home.

Make a list of the things you’d like to change about your current space if money wasn’t a factor. Then prioritize this list and narrow it down to the things that are minor dislikes and those that are actually making you unhappy. You may be surprised at how easy it is to forget about the bathroom tile when you have a new dual sink with plenty of hideaway storage. Or how happy you’ll be just by turning your dividing wall in the kitchen into a half wall looking into the dining room. Don’t always assume that extreme changes are going to be the ones that make you happy with your space.

Is it one area or the whole house?

Understanding whether the problem is just a matter of a room or two, or whether it’s an issue with the neighborhood or property as a whole is a big step to determining whether a move or renovation is ideal. If you are set on a pool but have virtually no yard, then a move is the obvious choice. However, if you live on a piece of land that you can’t imagine leaving, then you should focus your efforts on what you can fix inside the space.

Can you do it in stages?

Renovation can be a stressful ordeal. It’s good to know what your options are in terms of timelines and phases. If everything can be done over the course of a few weeks, then maybe that’s a good time to plan a vacation (or invite the kids/friends into town to help). If it’s going to take place over several months, you’ll want to outline your needs and how to make it work without your stress level going through the roof.

Is it worth it?

And the last, and maybe most important question, is all the work worth it? If you are seriously considering the pros and cons of renovating versus moving, then you’ve already asked yourself this question and the answer is probably yes. But be sure to take into consideration both your mental health and wellbeing, and well as the financial responsibility of any renovations. Be sure that the money you are putting into the home is money you can get back if you decide to sell down the road.


We’re here if you need to close on your dream home fast (we are, after all, the “home of the 8 Day Close”) and we can help you get the right mortgage for you even when your credit isn’t great. Call your local office, or fill out our easy on-line form, to get one of our licensed loan officers working on the right financing to get you into the home of your dreams!

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