At some point in our lives, we come to that inevitable crossroads: Do I renovate my home or relocate? Sometimes the choice is easy; other times it can be a real quandary. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision.
1. Do you like your neighborhood? If you have school-age children, are you happy with the school system? These are two key factors to take into consideration on both ends of your potential move – the area where you now live and the area you’re interested in moving to.
2. Should you invest in upgrading your home before moving? You should - if the upgrades don’t exceed the real estate value of your home. However, if the cost to upgrade pushes your investment beyond your home’s current value – or even beyond the value of homes in your neighborhood - you may be better off selling the house “as is” and moving to a home that already fits your criteria.
3. What upgrades to your current home should you consider before moving? The two most important areas inside the house that carry the most weight in the real estate market are bathrooms and kitchens. Those are the rooms where upgrades have “payback” value. In fact, it’s estimated that homeowners who renovated their kitchens got back about 92% of their investment. The exterior is also important: new roofs have a high return rate of approximately 80% on the homeowner’s investment.
Hint: If you’re renovating with an eye toward selling, it’s best to use neutral colors so potential buyers won’t be turned off by vivid or unusual color schemes they may not like. This is especially true when it comes to carpeting, countertops, and tiling, which are major investments that can kill a sale if they’re too extreme. Similarly, prospective buyers may not be able to envision their furnishings in a room that’s painted in extreme colors.
4. Do you know where you’ll be moving and what type of home you will best suit your future needs? This is especially important as we enter new stages of life, when living in a home with stairs may not be the best choice for our future years. Likewise, area conveniences are another important consideration.
5. What can you do during a real estate slump if homes aren’t selling well? Unless there are extreme reasons forcing you to move, the best thing is to hunker down and ride out the storm. If you have a two-story house and stairs are an issue, consider adding a master bedroom suite to the main floor. This can be an added incentive when you do sell the house, because young couples with children who have live-in help like the idea of having a master bedroom suite on the ground floor for themselves and a second master bedroom upstairs for the nanny, who can sleep closer to the children.
Once you take all these factors into consideration, you may find yourself better prepared to make that final decision.