My family and I recently went through a massive move. This may have come as a surprise to longtime Instagram followers of mine who’ve heard me detail plans for a giant renovation at our previous house. We had architectural plans completed for an expanded kitchen, a new primary bedroom and bath, and a barn renovation that would’ve included an in-law suite, a pool house, gym and studio space for my office.
We were ready to pull the trigger and get our builder lined up when we found another home on Zillow that really turned our heads. It had everything (down to the home gym!) that we wanted and more, and it was ALREADY BUILT. Huzzah.
Now normally, construction would never scare me off, but this would’ve been construction in the Age of Covid Delays and Price Hikes. No one can really predict how long or how expensive a massive remodel like that will be right now. And when it came down to it, we didn’t want our daughter’s last four years at home before college to be so disrupted and transient (this project would surely have forced us to rent somewhere else for a minimum of a year). So we took the plunge and I find myself with another significant personal project (more on that in a later post!).
If you find yourself in the same boat, here are the questions you should ask yourself if you’re deciding whether to move or remodel your current home?
1. Are you prepared to spend 200% of your estimated remodel budget? That might sound totally insane but it’s the reality of what’s happening in the world of materials and labor. Contractors are still struggling to get product and pricing is still through the roof and continuing to rise.
This may not be a big deal for you if your remodel is smaller scale, say a bathroom or two, or your kitchen. But if this is a whole house remodel, consider that math.
2. Will your remodel price you out of your location when all is said and done? And if so, does that matter to you? Consider your all-in costs and add that to a future potential sale price. Is it in line with other properties in the area? Or do you see the costs as the price you pay to live there and enjoy your home for many years to come? These are two totally different outlooks–figure out which one you align with before making the decision to move or remodel your home.
3. What is your timeline for construction? I’m not talking about the actual construction timeline; I’m talking about where this project would fall into your life’s timeline. This was the real deal-breaker for us, knowing we only have a handful of years left before we’re empty nesters.
4. Will the remodel truly address the problems you need solved? This was another issue we had with our plans. While they were well designed and well thought out, we still wouldn’t have had the type of kitchen we really needed. Yes, it would have been a bit bigger, but would still be in problematic in other areas.
While there are many other things to take into consideration when deciding to move or remodel your home, to me these are the really big important ones. Be truthful with yourself about what you really envision for your home, and if a remodel won’t upgrade your life in the way you need it to, then moving might be the answer. Conversely, if you can’t imagine living somewhere else and you know that basement conversion will solve your issues, go for it!
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