There may come a time when you throw up your arms, look around, and say "This house feels too small." Maybe your children have outgrown their beds; you just purchased a huge dog; you had that next child that you hadn't planned on; you've started to entertain more; you decided that you need more room for that pool that you didn't think you wanted; or now you are working remotely from home and need that office space. Whatever your reasons may be, you now need more room. Do you begin a major home project and break ground on your current home, or do you break your budget on a new one? This can be an extremely difficult, not to mention an extremely emotional decision. On one hand, you absolutely love your neighborhood and all the memories that you have created in your present home, but on the other hand, you love space. How can you possibly choose?
This decision depends on your neighborhood, your budget and the housing market . Here's how to tell whether you should start over in a new place, or give your home a makeover. I would suggest beginning this process by first making a list of all the pro's for wanting to stay; and all of the con's for why your home will no longer work for you. Maybe your "move" column outweighs your "stay" column. That would be the easy way to get your answer. Unfortunately, it's not always that easy. If you are still struggling with finding an answer, then you may want to read on to see some helpful tips to assist you in making your decision.
MOVE : Does your proposed idea meet zoning requirements? You have drawn up plans for expanding out your home but your city may not be in agreement. Your plans may not be in line with their city ordinances. You will need to gather all of your documents including your property survey along with detailed drawings just to apply for the permit alone. If your city says NO, well then it may be time to begin house hunting.
IMPROVE : If your home is unique ! If your current home already comes with lots of special features that you require, such as an open floor plan kitchen/family room, built-in-library with solid mahogany, luxurious master bedroom suite with a spa-like en suite bath, outdoor patio bar, etc., then you may want to add on instead of buying. The more unique your needs and requirements are, the more difficult it may be to find another home with all of the extra bells and whistles that you would like. If you have the space and you love your neighborhood, it might make sense to look into getting permits and exploring this option.
MOVE: If it's a seller's market ! There are benefits of being in a seller's market as a homeowner. You may be able to take advantage if your home has dramatically increased in value during your stay. It may be more beneficial to sell your home and buy a bigger and more updated home than to expand. Always check with your local real estate agent before making this decision. Ask for a market evaluation to be done on your home and have your realtor share other homes available on the market with you so that you can educate yourselves as to what is available. This will give you an idea of what's out there for the amount of money that you want to spend to see if you will be happy with something else. Or even if you don't see exactly what you want, but it's in the neighborhood that you prefer and has the property that you like; for the the right price, there may be room financially to do some tweaking if you can get it for low enough.
IMPROVE : If you love your location ! Just because your home may be in a seller's market doesn't mean that you should always sell. If you love your location and your home market is skyrocketing, remodeling your home may be the only way to stay in your neighborhood. Think about it ... if your home has increased in price, most likely every other house in your area has increased as well. If you want to upgrade, even if you profit over $100,000 for your home, you have to assume that the next house will cost you over that as well. Adding more space may be the least expensive way to get more space without sacrificing your location.
MOVE : If renovating will be too much of a hassle ! You may be tight in your three-bedroom cape-cod, and you would like five bedrooms, a new playroom and an office. That's a lot of work ! You need to figure out the cost for all of these renovations along with the time frame that it will take. Do you need to move out for the renovations? Do you need to pack up all of your belongings and put it all in storage? That means a lot of days packing, the movers, storage, days off from work and re-routing your whole family, including your pets. WOW ! That's a lot of work and a lot of time. Do you have the time to take off for all of this; and the added expense for the move, boarding your family at a hotel keeping in mind that the hotel needs to allow pets for who knows how long? Sometimes the contractors give you a time frame and then there are always the unforeseen glitches in timing and expense. Renovating is always an unknown. You never are really guaranteed of the time frame, or of the final price . With moving, you always know your time frame for closing and you know your end dollar for the purchase price. The only extra dollars are for any minor changes that you may want to make such as painting, carpeting, landscaping, etc..
Whichever way you decide to go, just make sure that you do all your homework to save lots of valuable time and money!