Owning a home is a huge asset. But, as your family grows, your house does not grow alongside it. Perhaps you are running out of bedrooms, need an extra bath, or valuable square footage has been designated for years as a catch-all storage space, and now you need it back! When your living space no longer works for your family, it may be time to consider a change.

If you’ve been thinking about a remodel or move, and trying to decide what's the right direction to take, it’s important to evaluate both options, the pros and cons, against your lifestyle.

We’ve compiled some questions to help you decide if a remodel or move is the best way to adapt your living space to your growing family.

Are you attached to your current location? Do you need to be somewhere different?

The first thing to consider is your location. Is there a reason that moving would be greatly beneficial? For example, could you now afford to move to a more desirable school district or significantly closer to your spouse’s office? Would moving to a new location substantially improve your family’s quality of life?

On the other hand, would moving displace you from the community that you’ve built with your family? Are you attached to your neighbors, your neighborhood, your school, and the sweet tot lot down the street? If you’ve grown attached to your home and community, and all else is equal, it may be a good idea to stay.

Are you prepared to be patient with a remodel?

Remodels have the reputation of going over on both time and budget, sometimes significantly over. The best thing to do is plan to be patient, and have a plan before you start.

Even if this is just a pipe dream at the moment, you should consult with a contractor or inspector about your desires. This will confirm whether the changes you want to make are actually possible and that there are no major health hazards that may come as a surprise during a potential remodel.

The budget for a remodel is a concern as well. Identifying rough costs for what you want done brings a clearer vision of the financial obligations in renovating a home. Once you have approximations on the work, you can compare those to what a new house would cost and start to determine which is the better option for your family and your budget.

Keep in mind that unless you are planning to move somewhere temporarily, you and your family will need to be prepared to live through a renovation. Think about how this will affect your family life and your daily schedule. For example, if this seems impossible with young children, it might be a better idea to consider moving.

What is the estimated value your renovation will add to your home?

It’s important to be aware of the limits of your home value. If you already live in the most expensive home in your neighborhood, a costly remodel may put your home well above the value anyone would be willing to pay for the area. This might mean that the blood, sweat, and tears you put into your remodel may actually make it harder to sell your home in the long run.

You can have a realtor evaluate the value your home will gain after a remodel and talk you through these potential concerns.

If you move, how long are you going to stay there?

It can be difficult to predict what the future has in store. But, what is for certain is that your family is expanding and you need more space, so if anything, you can envision what the future of your household looks like. So, if you move, how long do you intend to lay roots in your new home?

Moving has lots of upfront expenses, including moving costs, the costs of taking out a mortgage, realtor fees, etc. Let’s also not forget the delicate dance of selling and buying at the same time. To put all of this into perspective It can take almost seven years to recoup these costs after you’ve moved. You want to make sure that the decision to move will last long enough to regain those costs and enable you to build equity.

What kind of renovations are possible for your home?

Depending on the configuration of your home and yard, you may be limited in how you can renovate. If you’re planning to add an addition, be aware of what that extension may do to your existing landscaping. Will this take away from valuable yard space your kids need to play? Will it put you closer to your neighbor’s property than you want to be?

In some cases, an addition may be an awkward shape or design to work, reducing the desirability of your floorplan. Ensure that the remodeling you want to do is going to add ease and convenience to your lifestyle, not just put more square footage in an area that’s not the most accessible.

If you are highly considering this option, a first step would be to have a contractor or even your realtor, if they have the expertise, help you determine if what you want is feasible and if it will improve your daily flow of living.

Can you get what you want if you move?

The housing market can be extremely competitive, and there might not be as many options out there as you would hope. You’re likely already perusing listings in your desired neighborhood(s). Track those homes that fit your profile and see how quickly they are moving and for what price. This will give you a sound idea of whether you can afford what you want, and more importantly, what you need.

You may have to compromise on your wishlist in some areas. If your only goal is to expand the size of your home, but you aren’t too picky about the style or look of the interior, it may be a good idea to start hitting some open houses to see what’s out there.

Take advantage of home equity whether you remodel or move

The great thing about owning a home is that you can leverage your equity to purchase a new home or take out a loan to remodel your home.

If you’d like to learn more about your options to leverage the equity you already have, click the button below.

Learn More About Home Equity