Renovate or Relocate?

As much as you may love your house at move-in, the reality is that it won’t stay perfect forever. But deciding whether to renovate or move to a new home is not always straightforward, especially because of the emotional component.

After all, it’s not easy to uproot your family from where close relationships with your neighbors and community have been forged or where family members are just a stone’s throw away.

So whether you want something more comfortable and livable or you need more space to accommodate an older parent moving in, you’ll need to determine what your long-term goals are and what your budget can support. Use the following tips to help you weigh all the factors associated with renovating and moving and, ultimately, make the best choice for you and your family.

Assess market conditions

If you’re considering a move, you’ll need to research whether home values are increasing or decreasing in both your current area and any areas you’re interested in relocating to. Knowing this information can help you decide what you can feasibly afford and whether it’s more cost-effective to renovate or sell. A real estate agent is a great resource to help you get the answers to these questions.

Consider the pros and cons

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, but your decision will ultimately come down to your specific needs, finances, and desired lifestyle.

Why renovate?

Renovating is a great option if it will allow you to reasonably accomplish your goals. Whether you want to add an extra bedroom or office to increase your home’s square footage, extend the size of your kitchen, or reconfigure the layout to create a more open floor plan, this may be the best way to get precisely what you want. Some of these projects can, of course, get a little pricey, but if you’re committed to staying in your home for the long term, it might very well be worth it for you to renovate.

Why relocate?

There are several reasons why relocation may be a better option for you. For example, perhaps you want to increase the size of your current home but are unable to because of property-line limitations. The expected return on investment (ROI) of a renovation project may also not be as great as you initially thought, or your list of desired changes may cost more than buying a new home. Or maybe you simply want a bigger house with modern amenities situated on a larger plot of land. Whatever your motivation, moving can often be a simpler and more effective way to achieve your goals.


Research the costs

Both moving and relocating can be huge expenses, so you’ll need to look into all of the costs associated with each to determine which works best for your budget.

Construction expenses

Because the price tag of a renovation hinges on the size of the project, it’s important to consider the scope of work you want to have done. For example, do you want to remodel your home fully or just do a handful of minor repairs? Once you have your vision in mind, seek recommendations from friends or family for a top-notch general contractor who can help you determine if the renovation is affordable and cost-effective and whether you want to, or can, do any of it yourself to lower costs. But even if you can save on labor, you’ll still need to account for the cost of materials and equipment, such as lumber, roofing materials, paint, concrete, insulation, or machine rentals, that you or the contractor will need to complete the renovation.

Moving expenses

On top of the cost of purchasing your new home, you’ll have to factor in the price of moving, whether you’re tackling it yourself or hiring a moving company. This expense will depend on factors like the distance of your move, the size of your home (a two-bedroom will cost a fraction of a four-to-five-bedroom home to move), the weight of your belongings, and any specialized crates needed for artwork or other fragile items. And, of course, don’t forget about travel expenses to your new location.


Factor in other expenditures 

In addition to the typical costs of renovating, there are ancillary costs that may pop up.

Permits and architectural plans

Depending on the type of renovation, you may need to hire an architect to plan the design. Also, any excavation, plumbing, electrical work, or structural alterations you want to make to your property will require you to apply and pay for the necessary permits through your local building and construction department.

Living accommodations

If your renovation is extensive, you may be displaced for some time; therefore, you’d need to find temporary housing while the work is being completed. While this situation may be unlikely, factoring it into your total costs will prevent it from becoming an unexpected expense.

There are plenty of reasons to renovate or relocate, including wanting a larger space or more modern amenities or being interested in a more prestigious neighborhood. Each option is likely to be quite expensive, so it’s essential to take the time to evaluate not only the financial aspect but also the lifestyle you desire and the social and emotional impact either decision will have on your family.