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Improve or Move? How to Decide Between Renovating or Selling Your Home


Do you ever look around your house and wonder if it’s time to renovate? Or, perhaps your dissatisfaction with your current living situation has prompted you to check out real estate listings in your local market. Here are a few factors to consider when you’re deciding whether or not you should renovate your home or move to a new house.


First Thing’s First

If you realize that your home doesn’t quite fit your lifestyle anymore, it’s easy to be torn between giving it a makeover or moving somewhere new. There are pros and cons to both choices. As Angie’s List explains, you should contemplate a few things before you go too far. Begin by thinking about what you’re dreaming about changing, and then start framing your decision with particulars.


Work Out a Timeline

How long can you stand to live in your home as it is? Both renovating and selling your home can take a few months. But depending on the extent of your planned renovations, renovating can take significantly longer.


According to Sims Builders, a whole home renovation can take up to an entire year. On the other hand, selling a home generally takes a few months. In 2016, for example, some studies indicate the average house sat on the market for 83 days. It all depends on factors like location, price, and the condition.


Figure Out Your Budget

After you’ve considered your plans for the next couple of months, it’s time to think about your budget. How much would your ideal renovations cost? Can you assess your current property value? Which option would allow you to save more money in the long run? This is a good time to go over your portfolio and think realistically about long-term finances.


Consider Basic Renovations

You might come to the conclusion that you don’t need to renovate your entire home, but certain rooms could use some work. For example, basic remodeling projects like new countertops for your kitchen, updated bathroom fixtures, fresh siding, or finishing your basement can make your home feel brand new.


To complete these projects, you’ll likely need to hire contractors. It’s crucial to properly vet any contractors who might be working in your home. Make sure that they have proper licensing and necessary insurance coverage. You will also want to get references from their previous clients. Finally, ensure that you feel comfortable with them spending a significant amount of time in your home.


Beware of Over-Improving

Can your home undergo too many renovations? The answer is yes. According to RISMedia, over-improving your home can actually make it more difficult to find a buyer in the future. If your home looks too expensive for the average buyer in your neighborhood, you won’t get as many offers.


You might assume that any renovations would automatically add to your home’s value, but if you over-improve your home above the standards of your neighborhood, you may not find anyone willing to pay the price that you’re asking if you decide to move one day.


Emotional Attachment

Finally, be honest with yourself: is it time for a change of pace, or do you feel emotionally attached to your home and your locale? Do you enjoy a strong sense of community in your neighborhood, or have you always wondered if you would be happier in another city?


If you’ve envisioned yourself spending many more happy years at your address, and you know that you’ll miss seeing the same people around town, moving might not be the right choice. But if you feel that you could find a neighborhood that better suits your needs, perhaps it’s time to start contacting real estate agents.


If you’re wondering whether to renovate or move, don’t rush to make a final decision. Spend some time thinking about the benefits of staying put, the perks of packing up and moving, and the negative aspects of both scenarios. If you navigate this process carefully and invest your money wisely, you’ll end up living in your dream home—wherever that may be. 


Courtesy of Erin Reynolds,