Renovate or Sell?

by Rachel Laurendeau on June 15, 2012

To renovate or relocate? That is a question that most homeowners have to face at one time or another. For many people, this is a difficult decision to make, particularly considering the current property market. Whether your family is growing, growing up or you just feel you need more space, you will need to decide whether you want to stay in your current home and tackle a potentially daunting home improvement or uproot your family to a bigger/more suitable home.

Logistics – The first and most important question to ask is “can it be done?” Where can you find more space in your home to accommodate your growing needs? Do you have a basement or attic that can be finished? Is it structurally possible for you to build up vertically and add another story? Or, is your property large enough that you can you consider a main floor addition to your home? Talk to an architect or general contractor about the possible ways to expand your home; they may have suggestions that you haven’t thought of yet. If a renovation isn’t logistically possible, your decision will be made for you.

Location – is this a neighborhood that you want to stay in long term? If you have children, are there parks and good schools nearby? Is it convenient to get to work, shopping and other activities that you take part in? If you answered yes, then you may want to look more closely at the reno potential of your home.

Finances – talk to a real estate agent about the potential increase in value of your home if you decide to add-on or renovate. Some projects add substantial value to your home while others don’t. Also, you don’t want to upgrade your home so much that you price it out of the market by making it worth more than what houses in your neighborhood sell for. On the flip-side, if you decide to relocate, consider all the extra costs of moving to a larger house: real-estate commission, legal fees, land-transfer taxes, moving costs, etc.

You will also want to speak to an investment advisor or your financial institution to find out exactly how much money you would have available to you in either scenario.

By thinking through the options logically, you will be able to decide whether it is in your best interest to build an addition to your current home or to buy a larger house and relocate. Once that decision is made, you’ll be able to move forward and enjoy living in your new and improved home.

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