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Ann Architect, Renovation Design GroupAnnie Architect, Renovation Design Group

Renovation Solutions is weekly column on architectural home design by Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, Principal Architects of Renovation Design Group, a Utah architectural firm focusing on home renovation design.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Home Remodeling Costs, Options vs. Move: Architect can help

By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon

We see it all the time. Homeowners come to us needing more space for a growing family or desiring home features that their current home just doesn't have. The tough question they face is: Should I move to a new home or remodel the one I have?

The Bates family considered moving from their duplex home, above. After falling in love with the new home design and considering the remodeling costs to be worth it, they decided on remodeling their home instead.

Two examples of homeowners in this dilemma were the Barretts of the Avenues and the Bates family of the Harvard-Yale area. Both couples needed larger homes for their growing families, yet both also loved their current location, neighborhood, schools and so forth.

As we did with the Barretts and Bates family, Architects can help any homeowner in this situation make an educated, wise decision. Architects can help you determine the pros and cons of an addition verses a second story; general remodeling costs; where and how you can remodel your home so that it will conform to city zoning requirements; what your house will look like if you choose to remodel; and how to set the parameters of your project so you can control the cost of remodeling before construction begins.

We recommend that homeowners faced with the moving or remodeling question also consult with real estate agents. Real estate agents can help determine the value of your current home and the value cap for the area in which your home is located, show you what is available to buy in the marketplace you're interested in, and estimate the cost of another home with your wish list of features.

It is also important to remember and compare the "hidden" remodeling costs as well as the hidden moving costs. Remodeling costs beyond the basic construction cost include architectural design fees and structural engineering fees, demolition costs, permit fees, possibly needing to replace old wiring or plumbing, and the cost of additional furniture and window coverings for the new space.

The Bateses remodeled home. (See more photos of this home remodel)

The hidden expenses of moving include Realtor commissions for the sale of your home and purchase of your home, mortgage fees and closing costs, and the hiring of movers and rental of a moving van.

Next, compare the inconveniences of both options. Home Remodeling can be messy, noisy and force you to live without a certain part of your house during the remodeling process. Moving means the hassle of packing and unpacking, changing your mailing address with the post office, voter registration, credit card companies, driver's license bureau, friends and family, and so forth; and changing all your utilities.

Finally, weigh the emotional costs. Are you willing to give up your current location, neighbors, schools and local congregation in order to move? Or would you rather deal with the inconvenience of remodeling?

In the end, we helped the Barretts determine that moving costs would be less than the remodeling cost to finish their basement and add on to their home to get the space they needed. They moved to a larger home just seven blocks from their original home. On the other hand, we helped the Bates family see the potential that existed in their current home, so they decided to remodel. Because both couples wisely considered all the options mentioned above, and both families are very happy with their decision. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

© 2005 Renovation Design Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Renovation Design Group.

If you are considering a remodel project, please Request a Free Consultation with Ann or Annie.

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